This series has been developed to provide quick and simple guidance for builders and merchants.

It covers the key doís and doníts for the major uses of wood in domestic construction.

Featured Publications

Storing timber and wood-based products in distribution facilities


Timber is a reasonably resilient material, but bad handling and poorly organised storage are major causes of damage and wastage.

This can affect your business performance, particularly for specials or materials with a long delivery time.

The problem of material wastage is also an environmental concern, so it is important to try to reduce it.

Poor handling and storage procedures are a health and safety hazard. Good, well-organised storage practice, which follows all relevant Health & Safety guidelines, will help to minimise these risks.

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Timber strength and spans


Timber used for structural applications must be graded and clearly marked to show it complies with the correct standards and strength requirements laid down by building codes and regulations.

The load a member can carry depends on a number of factors, and different species have different strength properties which will be a major factor when choosing which timber to specify.

This Choose and Use sheet offers an overview of the strength grading process, including the two methods of grading (visual and machine strength grading).

This sheet also contains a table which details the grading rules and strength classes of some of the more common softwood species used in UK construction. It also contains an explanation of how span tables can be used in relation to strength classes. NEW in this version: common sizes and spans for domestic floor joists and flat roof joists.

  • How timber is graded
  • Visual strength grading
  • Machine strength grading
  • What do the strength stamps and grades tell me?
  • How do I use span tables in relation to strength classes?
  • Spans of some common joists
  • Spans for engineered wood products and I-joists

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Available documents in this series




Engineered wood products 2012 2
External wood cladding 2012 2
Fire-resisting timber doorsets 2012 2
Maintenance treatments for external timber 2012 2
Mechanical fixings for wood 2012 2
Roof battens 2012 2
Sourcing sustainable timber 2012 2
Storing timber and wood-based products in distribution facilities 2015 2
Storing timber and wood-based products on building sites 2012 2
Timber decking 2014 2
Timber for garden projects 2012 2
Timber in loft conversions 2012 2
Timber species 2012 2
Timber strength and spans 2015 2
Treated timber 2012 2
Wood flooring 2012 2
Wood windows 2012 2
Wood-based sheet materials 2012 2