The first efforts to standardize lumber began in 1922 and resulted in the American Lumber Standard, first published in 1924. This standard, now called the American Softwood Lumber Standard, establishes lumber sizes, methodology for assigning design values, nomenclature, inspection and re-inspection procedures, the National Grading Rule, an accreditation program, and other functions and has evolved over the years to keep current with ever-changing needs of consumers, regulators and manufacturers.
In 1941, the National Lumber Manufacturers Association (NLMA), now the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA), entered into a consent decree with the U.S. District Court. The consent decree required NLMA to create an impartial agency to oversee the standardization, certification, and accreditation for softwood lumber.
In 1953 the Court found that the American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC), appointed by the Secretary of Commerce, and its independently elected Board of Review (BOR) were impartial bodies appropriate to carry out the decree. Today the ALSC continues to operate under the consent decree and the Voluntary Product Standard system of the Department of Commerce.
In addition to the work carried out in the lumber program, in 1992 the ALSC began a program to monitor the performance of agencies which supervise the pressure treating of lumber by treating plants operating under the American Wood Protection Association (formerly American Wood Preserver's Association) standards. The BOR discharges this function by accrediting those agencies and monitoring their performance.
In 2001 the ALSC also began a program to monitor the performance of agencies supervising the labeling of heat treated wood packaging material produced by wood packaging facilities under the requirements of International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Guidelines for Regulating Wood Packaging Material in International Trade. The BOR discharges this function pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and ALSC policies and procedures. This program was expanded in 2015 to include labeling of fumigated wood packaging material as well.
In 2012 the ALSC began a program to monitor the performance of agencies supervising the labeling of residential/commercial densified fuel pellets produced by pellet manufacturers under the requirements of the Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI) Standard Specification for Residential/Commercial Densified Fuel; the PFI Residential/Commercial Densified Fuel QA/QC Handbook and ALSC policies and procedures. The BOR discharges this function by accrediting those agencies and monitoring their performance.
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