Archive for the ‘Compliance Testing’ Category

Assessment of Structural Plywood to Australian Standards

As of June 2015 Breitinger Consulting has expanded its NATA Accreditation to include Plywood 4-Point Bending Tests and Plywood Panel Shear Tests according to AS/NZS2269.1 Clauses 7.1, 7.2, and 7.4.
Ply 4pt BendingPly Panel ShearPlywood Manufacturers or Plywood Exporters to Australia looking to have their products structurally assessed to Australian Standards should call Breitinger Consulting.

Testing Authorities which were formerly available to assess the performance of structural plywood have either had their NATA Accreditation suspended, or have decided to focus on testing related to research projects.

The testing charges for these 2 new test methods are included in the Fee Schedule in this web page.

Breitinger Consulting is also looking to expand its suite of NATA-Accredited Test Methods to include AS/NZS2098.2 Bond Quality of Plywood (Chisel Test).

Posted by on September 18th, 2015 No Comments

AS/NZS1748.2:2010 Initial Qualification Testing Program

All non-contact timber stress-grading systems are required to demonstrate that they meet or exceed the initial qualification requirements given in AS/NZS1748 Part 2 Clause 6. There is a note at the end of Clause 6.1 which details when this initial qualification can be shared by a number of Mills.

NOTE:     Where a number of mills use the same grading method to produce the same stress grades and have the same wood resource, it is possible to pool the data and share the qualification. A pooled qualification only applies to mills that can demonstrate that they meet the parameters used in the original qualification. For each mill, the qualification is subject to the conditions of Clause 6.

(Extract from AS/NZS1748.2 Clause 6.1)

This article interprets the Australian Standard’s testing requirements, and lists the amount of testing required to progress through this qualification process. The qualification process is set out in two phases. Phase 1, Determination of characteristic design properties and strength indicator properties, and Phase 2, Determination of co-efficient of Determination, R2.

Phase 1:                 Determination of characteristic design properties and strength indicator properties.

This phase of the initial qualification testing demonstrates the ability of the grading system to produce structurally graded timber that meets or exceeds the characteristic design properties for the nominated grade/s.

i/              Select the most commonly produced section size with a face width of 140mm or less. A sample of each grade, for which qualification is required, shall be drawn as follows:

a/             Each grade available in the size with the greatest annual production shall be sampled.

b/             Any grade, for which qualification is required and is not available in the size selected in Item a/ but can be produced in another size, shall be sampled.

Therefore for that size selected, test buycbdproducts least 50 boards for each of the following properties;

1/             Bending Strength/Bending Stiffness,

2/             Single Span Beam Shear Strength,

3/             Tension parallel to Grain Strength

4/             Compression parallel to Grain Strength.

Therefore a minimum sample of 150 boards is required for every grade produced in that selected size range.

ii/             Where structural timber product/s with a face width greater than 140 mm is produced, a sample of each grade, for which qualification is required, shall be drawn as follows:

a/             Each grade available in the size with the greatest annual production shall be sampled.

b/             Any grade, for which qualification is required and is not available in the size selected in Item (a) but can be produced in another size, shall be sampled.

Therefore for those sizes selected, test at least 50 boards for each of the following properties, as given in i/ above.

Therefore a minimum sample of 150 boards is required for every grade produced in that selected size range.

Due to the convenience of obtaining both a bending strength value and a bending stiffness value from a single 4-point bending test, it is advised that a higher sample of 100 boards be taken to obtain greater confidence in the bending test results. Following this recommendation will require a sample of 200 boards per size/grade to be supplied.

Phase 2:                 Determination of co-efficient of Determination, R2

This phase of the initial qualification testing defines the relationship between the grading parameters and the indicator properties. The correlations between the grading parameters and the design properties are later used to adjust the grading system to optimally produce structural timber products that meet or exceed the characteristic design properties for the structural grade.

The same sizes identified for sampling in Phase I (either 1 or 2 sizes) shall be sampled in the Phase II testing. Each sample shall be a representative run of mill, ROM, sample (sampled ROM boards should only be excluded if they do not meet the utility requirements of structurally graded timber).

At least 200 ROM boards are to be selected at random from a normal production run for each size selected. Each sampled board shall have all possible grade parameters stored in computer files, isolated or in combination, and recorded in such detail that the grading parameters associated with any possible tested length can be retrieved and used in the analysis.

It is recommended that 300 boards per size sampled be supplied, because the grade-defining defect may be located close to the end of the board, and therefore not allowing the grade-determining point to be located at the centre of a 4-point bending test specimen. All boards from which the low-grade point can be positioned correctly will be tested and used in the analysis to define the co-efficient of determination for the grading parameter/s.

I hope this article has made clear the testing requirements for Non-Contact Grading Systems seeking to demonstrate compliance to the Initial Qualification requirements in AS/NZS1748 Part 2 Clause 6.

Please contact_me to provide a quotation and an estimation of time required to complete, in part, or in total, the AS/NZS1748 Part 2 Initial Qualification testing program. The Initial Qualification testing Program is an expensive exercise, and care should be taken to ensure that the sampling of test boards is done correctly. Breitinger Consulting can assist in the development of sampling procedures compliant to the requirements of AS/NZS1748 Part 2.


Posted by on June 4th, 2011 No Comments

How should structural timber be tested for compliance?

What types of structural tests should be performed to evaluate my structural product/s?

There are 10 design properties that are assigned to a timber stress grade: Bending Strength, f’b; Bending Stiffness, MOE; Tension Strength, f’t; Compression Strength, f’c; Beam Shear, f’s; Modulus of Rigidity, G; Bearing Strength perpendicular to the Grain, f’p; Bearing Strength parallel to the Grain, f’l; Joint Shear Strength, f’sj; Tension perpendicular to the Grain, f’tp.


Posted by on July 1st, 2008 No Comments


What do I need to consider when collecting production samples for a structural compliance testing program?

The primary goal of sampling structural timber boards is to gain a representative sample of the general production, and correctly reflects the variability of timber quality for a specific grade/size combination.

  • Production Matrix
    List all structural grade/size combinations produced. Next to each grade/size combination note the percentage of the total structural product output for grade/size combination. This is done to make sure that the higher volume grade/size combinations are given preferential selection as test batches.
  • Number of Test Batches
    It is important to cover the extremes of structural sections produced, because structural product performance can be interpolated between sizes tested. Therefore select a commonly produced small section size, a commonly produced large section size, and either 1 or 2 section sizes in-between those two extremes.
  • Test Replications
    Strength properties are based on the lower 5% strength values. Accurate and confident estimations of lower percentile strength values can only be achieved by larger test populations. The recommended minimum number of test replications to determine strength properties is 30 boards, although 100 test replications significantly reduces the sampling error factors applied when determining characteristic strength properties.
  • Sample Stick Length
    The length of the sampled structural boards should be the longest marketed lengths sold for that grade/size combination. For four-point bending tests the minimum structural test length is 20 times the wide face of the board. Any extra board length above 20 times the board’s wide face allows the bending test specimen to be randomly positioned within the board length, as per AS/NZS4063 structural test methodology.
  • Sampling Period/Sampling Rate
    The sample of any one grade/size combination should come from a reasonable number of production runs, enough to truly reflect the general wood quality processed by your mill for that grade/size combination. Sampling periods could be shortened if logs from different resource allotments are mixed prior to being processed. If mixed species are processed allow sufficient time to ensure that the all species in the mix are proportionately sampled.
    A reasonable sampling period could be between 2 to 3 months. The sampling rate per production shift is determined by first establishing the sampling period, and then the number of production shifts of the grade/size combination occurring over the sampling period.
  • On-going Sampling Period/Sampling Rate
    a/ Mills should have already completed an initial evaluation of its structural production before proceeding to the on-going monitoring of structural properties, refer to the points above.
    b/ Mills already having completed an initial evaluation of their structural products can proceed directly to the next step of their compliance testing program, annual on-going monitoring of structural properties. This consists of sampling and testing the most common grade/size combination, and possibly one other grade size combination. For more frequent feedback the boards sampled for the annual monitoring of structural properties could be externally tested in 6 monthly intervals.


Posted by on June 27th, 2008 No Comments

Do my structural timber products require compliance testing?

The simple answer to this question is YES. The onus is now on you, the timber Processor/Manufacturer/Importer, to ensure that the structural timber products you have branded/marked with a stress-grade is in compliance with the structural timber properties applicable to that designated stress-grade, and also ensure that such compliance is capable of being verified. The only manner in which this can be achieved is to have a structural performance test database generated from a suitable compliance testing program.

Mechanically Stress-Graded Timber
Clause 5 of AS/NZS1748 “Timber-Mechanically stress-graded for structural purposes” clearly states that timber branded/marked as mechanically stress-graded timber must be initially evaluated, and also have its properties continuously monitored.
Appendices A1 and A3 (both informative) of that Australian Standard refer to AS/NZS4490 and AS/NZS4063, and provide guidance on issues related to;

  • Definition of resource through a parent population
  • Checking structural properties (in-grade testing)
  • Linkage between reference population and its structural properties
  • Sampling requirements for on-going monitoring
  • On-going monitoring of structural properties

Visually Stress-Graded Timber
The Softwood (AS2858) and Hardwood (AS2082) Visual Grading Standards have now placed the linkages between visual-grades and stress-grades into the informative Appendices. The “Identification of Grade” Clause in both of these visual-grading Standards now make it the Manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure that timber branded/marked with a stress-grade is in compliance with the structural properties applicable to the designated stress-grade, and also ensure that such compliance is capable of being verified. AS2082 Appendix A (Informative) even states;

Validation of the link between structural grade defined by this Standard and stress grade, using in-grade testing in accordance with AS/NZS 4063, is recommended'”
“Any stress grades evaluated through in-grade testing of full sized structural material in accordance with AS/NZS4063 should be taken to supersede all of the information presented in this Appendix.”

The compliance of the New Zealand softwood processing industry’s structural products have been put into doubt, and as a result the industry has been regulated to sampling their production of structural timber products, at the rate of 1 in a 1000 structural boards, to ensure grade compliance. The ACCC in Australia has directed the timber industry itself to find its own solutions, and to self-regulate their quality assurance programs.

One response from the Australian Timber Industry was to draft an Industry Best Practice document, “Guidelines for Verification of Structural Timber Properties”. This project was managed by Australian Plantation Products & Paper (A3P), and the main author being Geoff Boughton, TimberEd Services, who invited the timber processors to provide feedback at each stage of the drafting process. This Guidelines document has been written in Standard-eze, and is due for release in July 2008. The impact of this document will be assessed by most timber processors/importers and other stakeholders over approximately a 12 month period, then it will most likely be quickly adopted and republished as an Australian Standard.

Contact_me to discuss the benefits of setting up an appropriate sampling and testing program for your company’s structural timber products, and the costs involved for this service.


Posted by on June 23rd, 2008 No Comments


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