The first "classification" of Lumber into grades was published in Sweden in 1764. The origins of lumber grading in North American can be traced back to Coloinial America in the late 1700s. By the 1830s, more detailed lumber grading systems were being developed, with some known as "surveys" or measurement of lumber.
The Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association (NELMA) develops and publishes grading rules to assist in the uniform marketing of Northeastern softwood lumber products. (Click here to view a copy of the Standard Grading Rules for Northeastern Lumber). The basis for establishing voluntary softwood lumber standards, including minimum sizes, uniform methods in grading, along with the functions of the American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC), are provided in the Voluntary Product Standard PS 20-05, developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology of the U.S. Department of Commence. To view and download a copy of the PS-20 Standard, click here.
NELMA is authorized by the American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC) to issue grade stamps to lumber and timber manufacturers that demonstrate their ability to maintain the quality standards set by NELMA and ALSC.
The Association maintains a grading services staff throughout the Northeastern US and Great Lakes region that provides instruction, supervision, and technical information related to lumber grading. The training and development of a member manufacturer's grading staff is a continuing function of NELMA's Grading Services program. This includes "on-the-job" grader training sessions and administering the written and visual tests required for obtaining grader certification. At least one NELMA-certified grader must be employed at a grade-stamping mill.
As a condition of membership, a manufacturer agrees to submit to regular inspections by a NELMA or ALSC representative of the lumber product stamped and/or represented by any means to conform to a NELMA or ALSC grade designation. ALSC requires the grading agency to conduct a minimum of 12 inspection visits per year at each mill that grade stamps softwood products. Random follow-up inspections are conducted by ALSC inspectors as part of the complete overview process.
To view a copy of the ALSC Untreated Lumber Regulations, visit their website http://www.alsc.org/.
Please contact NELMA by phone at 207-829-6901 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information regarding NELMA's lumber and timber inspection program including the membership fee schedule.
To request membership in NELMA as a lumber and/or timber manufacturer, please download an application here.