17-1030 v3.0/The Living House/PEFC and FSC

QUESTION

The Living House is a residential housing project in Auckland, New Zealand. To reduce its carbon footprint the design for the house calls for a timber roof, mid floor and basement roof structure (as opposed to concrete). Originally we tried to source salvaged timber beams from Australia to use as the structural beams for all of these areas but these timbers only come with Australian test certification for structural properties which (for whatever reason) New Zealand refuses to accept as compliant with NZ Building Code. We were therefore unable to use these beams, much to our dismay. NZ salvaged beams also suffer from the same problem in that they hold no structural test certifications and therefore can't be used to carry structural loads.  

We then investigated the use of LVL beams but unfortunately all LVL beams that are either manufactured or imported into New Zealand use an adhesive that is on the Red List. Therefore LVL beams are not an option. 

This only left us with the option of Glulam beams, which luckily for us are compliant with the Red List. Our structural engineer has therefore specified HYNEBEAMs 17C for use as these are the only glulam beams that can deal with the span and the load of our green roof. We confirmed that these beams were made from FSC and everything was looking good. Until we received a deposit invoice for our order which stated PEFC/FSC. We immediately investigated and have determined that the pine used to manufacture the HYNEBEAMs 17 is sourced from HQP Plantations which hold both FSC and PEFC certification. However the solid timber mill and the glulam plant that processes and makes the glulam beams only appear to hold PEFC certification, while the NZ importer of these beams is again FSC certified. Therefore the chain of custody appears to be broken for FSC at the mill and Glulam Plant. 

We have explored with HYNE the reasons why they do not continue the FSC chain of custody (as they do with PEFC) and they have advised that " they have chosen not to go down the path of adding FSC Certification to both our solid Timber mills and the Glulam plant as the view is that Chain of Custody and our obligations under the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 are more than adequately covered by AFS/PEFC".

Since we had already investigated all other timber beam options for the roof of the Living House we would like to apply for an exemption to allow the 17C HYNEBEAMs to be used on The Living house as the options available to the project are extremely limited, in fact the glulam beams were already the last resort. We are satisfied that the plantation where the pine comes from is FSC certified with the FSC chain of custody only being broken at the mill and plant with these facilities holding PEFC certification. The HYNEBEAMs do hold continous PEFC chains of custody. Whilst we recognise that this is not ideal (and we will advocate to HYNE to extend their FSC certification to obtain a continuous chain of custody) we are hopeful that in this limited instance the use of this particular timber product will be acceptable. 

ANSWER

Since the project was led to believe the beams were FSC certified and only too late discovered the COC link was broken, the HYNEBEAMs 17C can be used. Please document per the new exception 12-E9 FSC Last Link in COC.
Note that PEFC is not considered equal to FSC due to the broad variability of stringency around the globe.

Post ID 6767

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