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) will liaise with the chosen 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.
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 two possible options:
- Full certification: a minimum percentage of FSC certified timber must be achieved - the standard requires 50% of the timber used for the project to be FSC 100%, FSC Mix or post-consumer reclaimed with the rest being from‘controlled’ sources (see below).
- Partial certification: stated components are FSC certified (e.g. windows, cladding, or timber frame). This must be made clear in all publicity. There is no minimum requirement and no restrictions on sources of other timber. Partial certification can either be the intention at the outset or a fallback position if it proves impossible to meet full certification.
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.