When lumber is used as a structural material in construction, it has to perform properly. It must be strong enough, stiff enough, dry enough, etc. to meet the required performance levels.
But how can you tell what performance is needed – and how any particular piece of lumber will perform?
In Canada, a sophisticated system of product standards, engineering design guidelines, government regulations, education, review, and checks and balances has evolved over the years to help people determine what lumber they need for a specific building project, and what grade of lumber they are receiving.
Since 1960, virtually all of the lumber produced in Canada has been marked with a nationally standardized, easy-to-read Lumber Grade Stamp placed right on the wood itself (or by an accompanying certificate, where the final appearance of the wood is of crucial importance). These grade stamps or certificates identify the species, grade, and moisture content of the piece of lumber, its facility of origin, the logo of the accredited Grading Agency that has overseen its grading, and any special processing the lumber has received.
Grade stamps and certificates are the basis of sale, purchase, and regulatory acceptance of most lumber manufactured in Canada.
The CLSAB carefully controls the use of grade stamps and certificates, overseeing how they are applied in the field, by accrediting and reviewing the performance of the Lumber Grading Agencies.