Waipu-based manufacturer Northpine is doing all it can to cope with the unprecedented demand for structural timber.
General manager Bruce Larsen says the boutique producer of Northland-grown Radiata pine has struggled in recent weeks to satisfy even its core customers, let alone casual orders. Compounding this challenge has been the decision in late March by Carter Holt Harvey to stop supplying merchant chains Bunnings, ITM and Mitre 10.
“We’ve increased sawmill production hours; narrowed our focus to concentrate primarily on structural products; reduced export sales; and increased our purchases and processing of green sawn timber.”
But Larsen says there is an upside – if designers, architects and engineers are willing to turn to SG10 as a partial solution.
“SG10 is an engineering grade used where design requires higher strength and-or stiffness. One of the main advantages of SG10 is that is can reduce the volume of timber required for a project. That has the flow-on effect of making frames lighter and therefore easier to transport. Our Northbeam SG10 is extremely strong and stiff, and independently verified by Grade Right. It has multiple applications – from residential and commercial buildings to walkways and wharves.”
The problem, Larsen says, is that some builders and merchants have influenced designers not to specify SG10, thinking that it is too hard to get.
"Yet we specialise in the production of large dimension, long-length Radiata pine – beams and square posts up to 7.2m –with very reasonable turn-around times and we use the same delivery system to ensure SG10 is available within a few days of ordering.
“We’d like to see more designers and other Specifiers considering the option of using SG10 in their plans. To be fair, our office has reported a significant increase in enquiries and orders for SG10 over the last couple of months. If the designers specify it, we’ll produce it – and it’s the some of the strongest SG10 in the country, according to the science experts at Scion.”