Grade Stamps Revoked for Brazilian Plywood

Framing News,

Originally Published by: NAHB — August 3, 2022
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On May 23, 2022, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida entered an order, reflecting an agreement of the parties, mandating that PFS TECO:

  • Revoke all the PS 1 certificates and grade stamps that PFS TECO has issued to plywood mills located in southern Brazil.
  • Remove all revoked PS 1 certificates from the PFS TECO website.

Also, per the order, PFS TECO is barred until this permanent injunction is lifted from issuing any PS 1 certificate or grade stamp to any plywood mill in Brazil.

The order grew out of a lawsuit filed in September 2019 by nine U.S. plywood producers alleging false advertising claims against PFS Corporation (PFS-TECO) and Timber Products Inspection, Inc. — two certifying agencies that issued PS 1-09 compliance certificates authorizing 35 Brazilian plywood plants to stamp plywood panels as meeting the PS 1-09 structural-grade requirements. The accrediting agency for both of the certifying agencies, International Accreditation Service, Inc., was also named in the suit.

The lawsuit asserted that:

  • Building codes adopted throughout the United States require that structural-grade plywood panels incorporated into the roofs, floors and walls of residential and commercial buildings in the United States meet the PS 1 -09 structural standards.
  • Tests by the American Plywood Association in 2018 and commissioned by the plaintiffs in 2019 showed that the Brazilian plywood panels produced in southern Brazil experienced massive failure rates with respect to the stringent strength properties of the PS 1 -09 standard, specifically bending stiffness and deflection.

On June 15, 2022, citing the order of the District Court, the Miami-Dade County Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources Board and Code Administration Division issued an advisory memo to all building officials in the County that “building officials and inspectors should be made aware of these inferior Brazilian plywood products bearing the PS 1 stamps and not accept these stamps as a means of indicating code compliance.”

Check with your local building official or local attorney if you have any questions.

The case is U.S. Structural Plywood Integrity Coalition v. PFS Corporation, United District Court for the Southern District of Florida, CASE NO. 19-62225-CIV-ALTMAN