Durability by design

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Designers can considerably extend the life of timber components by attention to detail. Achieving ‘durability by design’ requires the designer to understand the performance requirement for the component.

In order to define performance, designers must:

  • Identify an appropriate service life for the structure and components, taking into account the acceptable maintenance and possible replacement of parts
  • Understand the hazards likely to be encountered during the life of the component or structure
  • Understand the capability of materials exposed to such hazards to meet these expectations.


The performance can then be matched to appropriate specifications and protective design detailing.

This Wood Information Sheet (WIS) focuses on timber's resistance to weathering, adverse atmospheric conditions and fungal and insect attack.

Fire also threatens the 'durability' of a structure. However, specifying for fire resistance is covered in WIS 4-11: Wood-based panel products and timber in fire.



  • Expected service life and component sensitivity
  • Hazards and material behaviour
  • Specification
  • Principles for protective detailing


This Wood Information Sheet was reviewed in March 2019 and minor corrections were made.

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