Steps builders and contractors
can take now to protect themselves
Brief Background on the Brazilian Plywood Dispute
Over the past five years, U.S. builders and contractors have increasingly utilized plywood from multiple mills in Brazil, building materials that were certified as PS 1 by building products rating firms, the most notable being PFS-TECO.
This plywood generally has been available at a discount compared to products from U.S. mills, possibly due to the faster growth of southern yellow pine in Brazil which allows mills in that country to harvest the trees sooner. Some in the industry suggest, though, that this accelerated growing time results in a less dense wood product.
The American Plywood Association (APA) tested Brazilian plywood products certified as PS 1 by PFS-TECO in 2017 and 2018 and found they did not meet PS 1 standards related to bending stiffness. APA subsequently issued a Product Advisory in 2018 laying out the results of their testing.
On May 23, 2022, a U.S. District Court issued an injunction ordering PFS-TECO to revoke the PS 1 certificates and grade stamps it had issued to plywood mills in Brazil and refrain from issuing any new ones there.
While not explicitly required in the injunction, many wholesalers and retailers who found themselves holding the substandard material in inventory were faced with either destroying it or re-selling it after removing the PS 1 stamp, lest they’d later be accused of false advertising or knowingly selling a defective product.
Shortly after that federal court ruling, another ratings firm, Forestwood Industries, Inc., began awarding PS 1 certification for plywood from many of the same Brazilian mills, and U.S. suppliers sought an injunction against that company as well.
- The Challenge for Builders and Contractors
- The Responsibilities for Builders and Contractors
- Bottom Line: Be Proactive