The work of inspection bodies is critical for a healthy industry.
However, we have started to see a concerning trend in which the industry has developed a false sense of security after a compliance visit by one of the relevant inspection bodies.
It is impossible for an inspector to verify each charge and piece of timber treated, due to the sheer quantity of treated timber produced by the industry.
It is possible for a customer to undertreat a couple of charges and then overcompensate with the next, resulting in compliance from a stock reconciliation perspective, although the individual charge sheets do not meet the requirements.
Timber treaters are accountable to ensure timber treatment meets quality standards.
Dolphin Bay has encountered this phenomenon during multiple visits to industry members over the years, not just locally but also in other African countries.
It is not the certification body’s responsibility to certify each charge of timber treated at a plant. Rather, it is the responsibility of the timber treater to ensure that each treatment meets quality standards.
Each piece of timber must meet the minimum specifications, as each one will perform a specific purpose that might be critical to the integrity of an installation.
Most treatment plants fall into a false sense of security not because they intend to produce a poor-quality product, but because it is not possible for management to oversee the process continuously. Instead, they rely on the operator to ensure proper treatment.
It is understandable that management would not feel concerned after receiving positive feedback from an inspection body. Nevertheless, it is vital that each charge sheet should be scrutinised to ensure compliance.
Dolphin Bay takes a number of active roles within our customers’ operations, as required. One such service includes keeping direct contact with the operator and putting a protocol in place to enable the operator to share charge sheets as they are being produced. There is running commentary from the Dolphin Bay team, to suggest adjustments or offer assistance if needed.
We have found this service to be extremely helpful, especially in instances where customers treat different and hard-to-treat materials. The service continues until such time as the customer feels confident.
Dolphin Bay provides feedback to management and keeps them continuously abreast regarding progress, recommendations and, in some instances, provides training to enable managers to conduct an overview independently.
This is important to us, as we are committed to the sustainability of each of our customers’ plants, and to the quality of the material they produce.