FSC Project Certification

Availability of FSC timber and timber building products has increased rapidly over the last few years. The construction sector is complex by nature, and time is often limited. Several subcontractors may be involved, with a mix of offsite and onsite construction.

In response to this, and in consultation with certification bodies and those who have been involved in carrying out projects with an FSC specification, a Chain of Custody standard for Project Certification has been developed. It can be used for virtually any type of new build or refurbishment, civil engineering projects, or events such as exhibitions and festivals.

How project certification works
A project manager (either from in-house or a consultant) chooses a Certification Body to put in place a system of collating and verifying documents relating to purchases of FSC timber by all contractors and subcontractors. All FSC-certified material must be purchased from FSC-certified companies with the requisite claims included on the invoice. There are two options for Project Certification:

  • Continuous project certification: project certification that enables organizations to manage and obtain FSC-project certification for multiple projects on a continual basis.
  • One-time project certification: project certification that applies to the certification of a single project.

As with any Chain of Custody certification, all relevant personnel involved in the project certification process will need training in awareness of the requirements:

  • How to specify FSC timber
  • To use only FSC certified suppliers
  • How to verify that FSC timber has been supplied
  • What to do if non FSC timber is delivered

There are three possible claims an organization can make:

  • Full certification: all forest-based materials and products used in the project are FSC-certified, claim-contributing inputs.·
  • FSC claims on specific project components: claims can be made on specific components that are FSC-certified (for example, all windows are FSC-certified).
  • Percentage claims: claims can be made about a percentage of forest-based materials used in the final project that are FSC-certified, claim contributing inputs. The remaining forest-based materials must be pre-consumer reclaimed wood, controlled material, and/or FSC Controlled Wood.

During the project, the main contractor, on site signage, and other communications about the project can use the FSC logo with the assigned project ID code. Upon successful completion, the Certification Body will carry out a final audit and full use of FSC trademarks to promote the project will be allowed subject to normal rules.

A normal FSC certificate is issued for 5 years, but a project certificate is valid for the lifetime of the project. Major refurbishments will need to begin again, under anew project certification.

How FSC classifies timber and wood fiber

  • FSC 100%: from FSC certified forests.
  • FSC Mix: a mixture of some of all of the following: timber from an FSC certified forest, post-consumer reclaimed material and Controlled Wood.
  • FSC recycled or reclaimed
  • FSC Controlled Wood is risk assessed as being from known, legal sources with no outstanding social conflicts, no GMOs, no clearance of natural forest for plantations and no uncertified high conservation value areas. This may include timber certified under other systems but this is NOT automatic.

You can find more information here, or by contacting info@us.fsc.org.