January20

February 2017 – Lumber Update

By Paul Rogers,

Despite a disruption of schedules caused by winter’s assault, business continued to be relatively steady. The general consensus that there is plenty of work in the field yet to be realized (coupled with the optimism that the new presidential administration will help clear the way for more business and expand confidence in spending) has lent an optimistic air to our industry. On the other hand, the looming concern of what may materialize from duties imposed against Canadian lumber producers for dumping (predatory pricing) as part of the expired Softwood Lumber Agreement is still a dark cloud hanging over the lumber industry’s head. On January 6th, the U. S. International Trade Commission declared unanimously in their preliminary finding that Canadian lumber imports had, indeed, caused our industry harm caused by dumping.  As a result, further investigations will be carried out to see the matter through (read this as one more gate cleared toward imposing anti-dumping duties). Some western red cedar suppliers have announced preliminary increases in anticipation of the duties being imposed, while others have been slowly ratcheting their numbers up silently. The concern that duties imposed on Canadian producers will affect the U.S. market by inflating costs and/or restricting source options is real and, although skeptics and subscribers towards the impact of such duties seem to be about equal, no one is dismissing the story: most agree that it will come down to what the market will bear. More to be announced as it develops but, in the meantime, the market is flat as there is plenty of wood in the pipeline and disruptions caused by weather are having an intermittent effect on demand. For February, we are expecting much of the same, with the potential for a dip if we get served with an aggressive wintry weather pattern.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, best practices are “commercial or professional procedures that are accepted or prescribed as being correct or most effective” and mostly come to us in the form of installation and care instructions. A “best practice” is a profound concept given the numerous attempts one must assume must have been had in order to determine what is accepted or prescribed as “being correct” or “most effective”. As many of you know from your own experience, a “best practice” (in the form of installation and care instructions) often doesn’t accompany the item that you are working with: you rely upon your own experience or professional guidance (usually in the form of architects, building inspectors or your suppliers). Suppliers, in particular, have a responsibility to inform you of what manufacturers deem as a best practice for their product, in order to ensure that the usage and performance conform to its intent. However, we know that the reality is that we all typically assume its end use and/or that the installer will read the directions….and then we’re all off to the next thing. We put a lot of effort in to conveying best practices for the items we sell (Shepley Contractor Nights, literature distribution, demonstrations and Shepformation), but oftentimes the message either doesn’t reach the end user, isn’t accompanied with the item, is incomplete or can be flat out  confusing and time consuming. Considering how valuable your time is (and the huge financial risk of a job going wrong), it is well worth the time invested to ask, read or view recommended best practices for the product you are purchasing. Please turn to us for help: we will get you all that you need to get the job done right, before you start. Websites, on-line videos and in-house demonstrations abound for the products we sell and we would sincerely love the opportunity to educate, inform and learn along with you!

Hard to believe that next month will bring the first day of spring, but we are sure you are as excited for it as we are. As business picks up, please lean on us to help you with your projects: we can assist you in many ways and are anxious to help ensure that your project is a profitable success. Thank you for your business!

 

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