Where would we be without wood? In 2015 alone, we humans consumed a whopping 310 million cubic metres of softwood lumber and 130 million cubic metres of hardwood lumber, totalling USD 129 billion. And the hunger for wood is increasing, with wooden buildings as high as 18 storeys starting to pop up. With the diversity of types of wood and the fact that not every country produces every type of wood, the global trade of timber is a huge and necessary business. But not all wood – nor import policy – is alike, making cross-border trade somewhat of a challenge. A range of ISO standards aim to help.
Lumber, or sawn timber, is often the material of choice for construction because of its diversity of properties, and, if sustainably managed, is environmentally friendly. But international trade of lumber has its difficulties due to a lack of classification systems that are universal to all. And so the ISO technical committee on timber structures (ISO/TC 165), drawing on the input of experts from over 60 countries, for the most part in timber-producing and -consuming regions, developed a suite of International Standards that help reduce these barriers to trade by producing standardized frameworks and ways of working that can be used by everyone.
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