DPWES Letters to Industry
Land Development Services
12055 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, Virginia 22035-5503
703-324-1780, TTY 711
April 23, 2003
Lumber Species Not Native to North America
The use of lumber species not native to North America and not listed in the National Design Standard (NDS) has recently become more prevalent in residential construction. Fairfax County does not wish to restrict the use of these species (i.e., ipe, spanish cedar, meranti). However, with the many species on the market today, Land Development Services must regulate their acceptance with the specific requirements listed below.
The use of lumber species not native to North America shall be limited
to decking surface installations only. Their use as structural
elements, such as guardrails, joists, beams or rafters, is
Upon submission to Building Plan Review, the building plans shall
include a report from a testing laboratory recognized in the United
States or Canada for the decking surface material. The report shall
include the following minimum data for the species proposed in the
- Allowable bending stress
- Allowable shear stress
- Modulus of elasticity
The submitted building plans shall also include verification of decay
and termite resistance of the proposed species from an organization
recognized by a federal agency of the United States or Canada.
Labeling and field identification per IBC, Chapter 17, shall also be
provided. This is to ensure the specified species is the actual species
installed in the field.
If you have any questions regarding the policy outlined here, contact Syndee Grace at 703-222-0114, TTY 711.