Last edited 03 Nov 2020

Chain of custody in design and construction

Over recent years there has been much discussion regarding The chain of custody for sustainable timber and how this chain of custody can be achieved for clients seeking a sustainable building using timbers from a sustainable source.

The chain of custody was developed in order to raise Industry awareness of the depletion of our natural resources within the worlds rain forests, especially hard wood timbers and over recent times some soft woods as well.

For a contractor to demonstrate to a client that they can identify and manage through a document trail exactly where timber was coming from, a system needed to be established to track and prove through documentary evidence that supplies are from suitable resources and regions of the world. This also included timer merchants and shippers, who are the 'middle men' when dealing with purchasing timber.

Clients can require all timber in the construction of a new building to be supplied with a chain of custody certification trail from its source in the forest, via a saw mill, merchant and contractor to its final installation within the building.This can require a great deal of investigation work.

WWF are able to provide information on companies with the necessary chain of custody certification to allow the movement of products produced from well managed forests. See WWF Practical Guidance on CoC certification and FSC Chain of Custody Certification.

As the 'chain' needs to be passed from the source to the client without any breaks in that chain, the contractor must also have the necessary certification.

Organisation such as PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) are able to assist contractors with achieving certification for the chain of custody, providing a management service for accreditation. If a contractor already has ISO 14001 accreditation, then the management processes are already in place for the control of the documentation necessary to manage the chain of custody. It is then a case of changing those management procedures and documents under ISO14001 within the company organisation to suit the tracking and logging of those timber materials being used for a particular site.

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