Did you know that the NC department of insurance regulates the states building codes and also oversees the NC Building Code council? Last week, the commission (Mike Causey) issued an alert about using European lumber in the construction of houses. Lumber is currently being imported from Europe to assist with shortages we are seeing across the United States.
The crazy part, this lumber does not necessarily meet NC building code requirements and is now making it into the construction of new homes. The NC Building Code Council determined it could cause disastrous failures in the homes framing, roof, floor, and walls.
The reason for the issued warning is that the specific wood density can affect nails and fasteners devices and much of the wood from Europe has low density. With us living in a hurricane prone state, our building codes are unique to withstand our harsh environment as much as possible and we should be more cautious than ever.
The NC Building Code Council stated that European lumber can only be used as an alternative material and must be reviewed by the code enforcement official prior to use. It does not necessarily mean European lumber is prohibited, it just means that it needs additional documentation to assure the lumber is tested and meets certain guidelines.
Also, keep in mind that even if the lumber has the official #2 stamp, does not mean you are in the clear. The NC Insurance Commissioner said “Contractors should be aware that, despite a piece of lumber bearing a ‘No. 2’ stamp, there can be significant differences in the wood’s engineering properties depending on where it came from. I urge builders to know the difference between imported and domestic ‘No. 2’ stamped lumber so they don’t mistakenly use the wood in an unsafe manner that does not meet code”.