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Author Topic: New Law in Tennessee:Native timber/lumber  (Read 10657 times)

Offline TnAndy

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New Law in Tennessee:Native timber/lumber
« on: June 03, 2016, 08:17:09 PM »
After 2 years of working with my legislator (Mathew Hill), there is now a new law in Tennessee regarding the use of lumber cut from native timber.

Signed into law by the governor 05/20/2016, effective 05/23/2016.

This law allows any commercial sawmill operator to certify (requirements below) lumber sawed from Tennessee timber for use in residential construction in lieu of a grade stamp, and building code officials must accept this.

The second thing it does is allow anyone to use lumber sawed off their own place for use on their own place to certify themselves that the lumber can be used in lieu of graded stamped lumber. So if you have a small sawmill like I do, or if you have a portable one come to your place and saw your logs, you can now use that to build a house (just like was the case for hundreds of years), and not have to meet building code stamped lumber requirement.

This law is similar to laws in some other States regarding native timber/lumber.

A small amount of freedom has been returned to the people.

By Bailey
Hill M
AN ACTto amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 5; Title 6; Title 43, Chapter 28, Part 3 and Title 68, Chapter 120, relative to native species lumber.
Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 43, Chapter 28, Part 3,is amended by adding the following as a new, appropriately designated section:
(a) This sectionshall be known and may be cited as the “Tennessee Native Species Lumber Act.”
As used in this section:
(1) “Agricultural building” means any structure used primarily for agricultural purposes or for forest product production;
(2) “Commercial sawmill” means any type of sawmill that produces lumber for sale;
(3) “End user” means any person who purchases native lumber from a commercial sawmill for the purpose of residential construction;
(4) “Grader” means the owner of a commercial sawmill, or the owner’s designated employee, who has visually inspected each piece of lumber; and
(5) “Native timber” means any hardwood or softwood species growingwithin the borders of this state.
(c) (1) The operator of any commercial sawmill may, when requested by the end user of the native lumber, certify in writing to the purchaser that the quality and safe working stresses of the lumber are equal to or better than No. 2 grade, in accordance with the conditions set forth in the American Softwood Standard PS 20–70 of the United States department of commerce, as amended; provided, that the minimum grade of lumber use din load-bearing wall members shall be stud grade.
(2) The certification provided pursuant to subdivision (c)(1) shall includeA) The name of the wood species; (B) The quantity of wood certified;(C) The location where the wood is to be used;
(D) Whether or not the wood is seasoned; (E) The name of the commercial sawmill where the wood was cut; (F) The name of the grader; and(G) The date on which the wood was cut at the commercial sawmill and graded.
(A) Upon the request of the local building official, the end user shall provide written certification of the quality and safe working stresses of the native lumber provided by the commercial sawmill operator pursuant to subdivision (c)(1),as part of the building permit application.
(B) The certification provided pursuant to subdivision (c)(3)(A) shall be accepted by code officials in lieu of any grade stamp requirements.
(d) Any person who uses the native timber harvested from and used entirely on the person’s own property shall, if required, certify that the lumber meets the requirements of any building codes
(e) No certification of native lumber shall be required in the construction of an agricultural building.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it.

Offline HaroldCR - AKA Fla.-Deadheader

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Re: New Law in Tennessee:Native timber/lumber
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2016, 09:07:09 AM »
 This is a great step forward. However, maybe some better definitions should be considered, to prevent someone from buying a mill or having trees sawn, and not knowing what the grade specs really are.

 Insurance companies may fight this, because there is no grade inspections in load bearing framing. Having certification is good, however, who is it that gives the certification testing exams ?

 Maybe I have not clearly stated MY concerns, but, small problems down the road could lead to devastating consequences for the sawmill industry, especially small operators. I have had head butting experience with the Southern Yellow Pine Grading association. I could NOT take the grading course, because my sawmill was not pegged to the ground and run as a commercial enterprise. This is supported by BIG Corps, like Weyerhauser, etc. to prevent competition. They have Insurance companies behind them.

 The certification stays with the SAWMILL, NOT the grader. I asked what if the grader leaves his employ at the sawmill, who does the grading, and WAS TOLD, that is up to the discretion of the sawmill owner(s). ??????

 Down here, in the jungles of Costa Rica, no such grading exists, as far as I know. Horrible wiring jobs and single wall separating of apartments, all being wood, is a far worse scenario.

 Still, congratulations for taking the steps and effort to bring using local timber/lumber produced by small ops , out into the open. I admire your patience with govt.

Offline TnAndy

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Re: New Law in Tennessee:Native timber/lumber
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2016, 09:46:17 AM »

A fight by the TN Dept of Insurance was what took this into the second legislative year to pass.  We went thru a bunch of back and forth on certification...trying to get the University of Tennessee to offer a grading course (they declined).

I actually thought the last pre-vote revision was simply a law to allow homesteaders to process and use their own timber on their own land without interference from code inspectors (which was what I was really after) and that commercial sawyers had been dropped altogether from the language, so I was surprised at what finally came out of the legislature.

As I understand the bill, NO certification training is required of commercial sawyers.   This actually follows language of native timber laws in several other States.....that the sawyer is intelligent enough to know what a decent piece of lumber is, or isn't....and MAY certify it if he chooses to do so.

You're right, of course, the BIG players in lumber don't want this competition....but as a matter of practicality, I doubt it will be more than a tiny speck of the total business. 

For one thing, if I were a commercial sawyer, and you brought me logs and asked for this certification, I'll tell you to go fly a kite....I'm not taking on the liability of backing anything I don't have to !  I'll saw it, there it is, do what you want from there.

So mostly, this is going to affect small, private mill owners, like me, that want to use the timber on their land to build something on their land....and have enough pride & sense to build sound structure and simply don't want to put up with increasing code "authorities" that will accept a stamp on a piece of twisted, knotty, crappy big box lumber, but can't accept a beautiful, clear, strong piece of hardwood because it does not have an industry stamp.

Small mills are so cheap now if you have a fair amount of timber on your land, it seems a shame about the only thing you could do with it was sell standing or logs, or turn it into firewood. 

This gives a very few people that will actually use the law the means to use their own natural resources instead of having to take after tax (both income and sales) money and buy what is often an inferior product imported from the West Coast or Canada.

We got the part thrown in about agricultural buildings because even though NOW no building codes apply to ag buildings in Tennessee, I can sure forsee the day  when they will have to comply, and this was partly to head this off.

Offline furu

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Re: New Law in Tennessee:Native timber/lumber
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2016, 01:44:05 PM »
Good job on being dogged enough that you saw this through.
Integrity is not just doing the right thing.
Integrity is not just doing the right thing when no one is looking.
Integrity is doing the right thing when no one else will ever even know.

Offline HaroldCR - AKA Fla.-Deadheader

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Re: New Law in Tennessee:Native timber/lumber
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2016, 02:28:07 PM »

 Excellent update. Thanks for providing that.

 Where's the 2 thumbs up smiley, Kirk ??

Offline Kirk Allen

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Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching!

Offline Stevem

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Re: New Law in Tennessee:Native timber/lumber
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2016, 10:07:03 AM »
Thanks for the info.  I'm trying to get something similar for Oregon.  I copied and sent it to my State Rep who has promised to bring such a law up in the next legislative session in Oregon. 
Because you can doesn't mean you should!

Offline Ox

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Re: New Law in Tennessee:Native timber/lumber
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2017, 11:30:19 AM »
As liberalized as the lefties try to make NY, this has always been a part of our northern Appalachian culture.  It's weird, because I consider states south of the Mason Dixon to be free, and yet at least a few of them don't have the freedom of native timber/rough cut lumber to be used on their own land.  It ain't right.  I get why these laws exist, because let's face it.  There are some mighty dull folks out there, all over, that would run 2x2s for a porch and then try to set a hot tub on it.  Just sayin'.  But let's not punish the capable folks because of the dumb folks.  Similar to gun laws...
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