Canada Wood Today | The Canada Wood Group

MLIT Recognizes European Lumber Designation for the PFC Building Code

Hidehiko Fumoto

By Hidehiko Fumoto

Deputy Director and Manager Technical Services, Canada Wood Japan

May 2, 2012

On February 6th 2012, structural lumber from Europe was recognized by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT): 16 years after Canadian structural lumber was recognized.  MLIT designated the standard strengths of lumber graded by CEN, Norsk Treteknisk Institutt (NTI) and SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden. The PFC building code in Japan (MLIT Notifications 1540 and 1541) requires dimension lumber be graded to Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS) or its standard strengths (design stresses) be designated by the MLIT minister.  By this designation, European structural lumber has now the similar legal position in Japan to NLGA-graded lumber.  The significance of this designation is the size factors that are issued in a different way from those in the past.  The factors are expressed as a function of lumber sizes so that the strengths can be calibrated in accordance with the sizes.  For example, size factor for bending is given as: Sizefactor = (89/h) 0.4 where h is the height (depth, or width) of the cross sectional size of lumber when it is usededgewise.  This seems the solution for the variety of size systems from one nation to another in Europe.  The 2×4 building code already permits lumber sizes that are different from North American dimension sizes. MLIT recognition of European structural lumber does set the potential for increased European competition for SPF producers.