PLIB and WCLIB, two of North America’s oldest lumber grading agencies, merge operations

Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau (PLIB) and West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau (WCLIB) have merged operations into a single entity. The surviving organization, PLIB, will retain all of the trademarks and services formally offered by WCLIB, including the structural glued laminated timber certification services of the American Institute of Timber Construction (AITC) a role WCLIB had assumed since January 2013. PLIB President Jeff Fantozzi will lead the new combined organization from its headquarters office in Federal Way, Wash.

PLIB was formed in 1903 and is believed to be the nation’s longest standing grading agency. WCLIB was originally established in 1911. The combined organization will represent annual softwood lumber volume of more than six billion board feet.

“While PLIB is officially the surviving entity, this merger is truly a blending of two equals,” Fantozzi said. “We will retain and strengthen all of the services we previously had been providing separately and we’ll find efficiencies where duplicative services exist. Member companies will notice little in the way of service disruptions.”

“This merger is truly an example of the whole being much more than the sum of the parts,” said Ken Thorlakson of Tolko Industries, who is chair of the organization’s newly formed board. “We are retaining the full depth of experience and breadth of services of two of the oldest lumber grading agencies in North America, while gaining efficiencies at the same time. Together we are among the largest agencies in North America in terms of both production and member numbers, and our service base is one of the broadest, extending not only across North America, but throughout Europe as well. Producers of all sizes will be well served to consider joining us.”    

While long-time WCLIB Executive Vice President Don DeVisser will follow through with a planned retirement, Fantozzi said that DeVisser will be retained as a technical and engineering advisor during the transition period to help with fully integrating the two organizations.

The merger was effective January 1, 2019. The new organization’s Board of Directors will have equal representation from both of the previous organizations and Fantozzi said that it will be “business as usual” as far as the marketplace is concerned because all logos, trademarks and copyrights of PLIB, WCLIB and AITC will be retained and all will continue to be used by producers on their products.  He said most members of the respective organizations will continue paying the same dues levels as they had been paying previously and for the most part they’ll be working with the same staff members they’d been working with in the past.

“We’ll continued providing grading services as usual,” Fantozzi said, listing off a number of examples:

  • AITC’s certification services remain unchanged
  • WCLIB’s Standard No. 17 Grading Rules for West Coast Lumber will be retained and supported
  • PLIB’s Export R List Grading and Dressing Rules will continue to be published
  • WCLIB’s members in Europe and PLIB’s members in Canada will continue to be served
  • The new organization will be accredited in the U.S. by the America Lumber Standard Committee as a rules writing and inspection agency and by the Canadian Lumber Standards Accreditation Board as an inspection agency under NLGA rules
  • The new organization will also retain WCLIB’s accreditation for structural glued-laminated timbers, cross-laminated timber and metal plate-connected wood trusses under the International Accreditation Service (IAS)

The new organization will provide:

  • Grading, inspection and technical services to approximately 180 softwood lumber manufacturers and remanufacturers in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
  • ISPM 15 certification and inspection services to approximately 300 wood packaging manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Heat treating (HT) inspection and USDA APHIS HT certification services to over 50 manufacturers and dry kiln facilities.
  • Inspection and technical support to seven glulam manufacturers across the U.S.
  • Truss inspection services in the U.S.
  • Transient inspection services to producers, consumers, and portable sawmill owners, engineers, etc. in the U.S. and Canada.

Fantozzi said that the existing WCLIB headquarters office in Tigard, Ore., which the bureau owns, would remain open as a satellite office for the time being until the building is sold. “We will make a decision on how the locations will be consolidated down the road,” he said.

Both PLIB and WCLIB have long, rich histories with longstanding and loyal members. Both organizations have trademarks and rule books that are well established and recognized throughout the world. The combined organization represents members in the western and southeastern United States, British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, and many European countries.


Remembering PLIB Supervisor Donald E. Roberts, 1941 – 2018

Don Roberts 1941-2018. Photo taken 2006.

Donald (Don) E. Roberts, inspector and District Supervisor with PLIB, passed away unexpectedly at his home on July 2, 2018 at the age of 76.  Don was originally hired by the Bureau in 1979 as an inspector in the Coos Bay, OR district where he worked at the Weyerhaeuser, North Bend mill. Prior to his involvement in the forest products industry, Don served in the U.S. Navy and was a merchant seaman.

Don gained his lumber industry experience working on the green chain, as a pond man and as a grader at mills in Reedsport, OR and Roseburg, OR. 

Before accepting the role as a District Supervisor with PLIB in 1986 and while working as an inspector, Don was active in the Northwest Lumber Inspectors Union #20877 and then the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Local Union No. 2949 where he eventually served as their representative during labor negotiations between the union and PLIB.

Don retired from full-time employment with PLIB in 2008 and worked part-time for nearly a year before hanging up his grading crayon and tally book for good in 2009.  During his career at PLIB, Don worked with nearly all of PLIB’s member mills in Oregon and Washington at one time or another, developing close relationships with mill quality control personnel. He was responsible for training many graders that are in the industry today.  PLIB is grateful for Don’s 22 years of service to the Bureau and its members as a District Supervisor and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Lynn and family members.


PLIB Welcomes Five New Member Mills to Start 2018

Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau members were excited to start 2018 off by welcoming five new mills to its membership roster. All five mills are located in the interior region of British Columbia.

The five new members include Woodco Industries Ltd. in Salmon Arm and four divisions of Tolko Industries (Kelowna, Lakeview, Soda Creek and Quesnel).  The new members were approved by PLIB’s Board of Directors at their semiannual December meeting.

PLIB President, Jeff Fantozzi, summed up the importance of the new member mills for the organization. “The addition of these new Canadian members represents a significant increase in Canadian softwood lumber volume under PLIB grading services and is a strong demonstration of commitment from PLIB’s long-time member Tolko Industries. On behalf of the PLIB members, board and staff, I want to thank these new members for their support. PLIB has a been providing inspection services in Canada for over 100 years. We are proud of our members and the relationships we have developed in our industry over the past century.”

PLIB is accredited in Canada by the Canadian Lumber Standards Accreditation Board (CLSAB) and is an active participant in the CLSAB and National Lumber Grades Authority (NLGA) organizations. It is certified to provide mill supervisory services in Canada for dimension lumber, machine-graded (MSR) and glued lumber under the NLGA rules, European Union “CE” marked lumber, Heat Treated (HT) lumber and IPPC labeled wood packaging through CFIA recognition. The Bureau employs an experienced field inspection staff that is highly respected for their integrity and quality control supervision. 

PLIB’s newest member mills were joined by several new subscribers to the Heat Treated (HT) lumber and Wood Packaging Material (WPM) programs in the U.S. and Canada.

To see a full list of PLIB member mills and the products they produce, click on the green ‘Directory’ box on the PLIB website home page or click here.


New 2017 Edition of Export R List Published

Hot off the press: PLIB’s new 2017 edition of the Export R List Grading & Dressing Rules.

The Export R List Grading & Dressing Rules, first published in 1929 as the ‘N’ List, stands as one of the oldest and most widely used references for exported softwood lumber originating and manufactured in the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. and Western Coast of Canada.  It focuses on the species of Douglas fir, Western Hemlock, Sitka Spruce and Western Red Cedar and includes commonly referenced grades such as No. 2 and No. 3 Clear, Merchantable and Commons, Factory Flitch and Shop.

Highlights of the 2017 edition include:

  • The R List “Interpretations” are included in the book, appearing as a separate section at the back of the book.
  • Some long-standing interpretations have been incorporated into the rules themselves.
  • New definitions have been added.
  • The book has a new coil binding allowing it to lay flat while still easily fitting into a pocket.

Copies of the 2017 edition of the Export R List are $6.00/book plus shipping and can be ordered by phone at (253) 835-3344 (U.S.) or (604) 732-1782 (Canada), email, or online.  Credit cards are accepted.


See the Tallest Wood Building (18 Stories) Rise in 2 Minutes


See a two-minute time-lapse video of the timber and CLT construction phase. Photo credit: Seagate Structures/Pollux Chung


The Brock Commons residence hall at the University of British Columbia has become the latest world’s tallest wood-framed building.  The 18-story, $39 million tower is a hybrid mass timber structure designed by Acton Ostry Architects.  More than 400 students will move in when the tower is completed in September 2017.



Wood construction started on June 6, 2016 and progressed at a rate of two floors per week. The structure incorporates 1,302 glulam columns and 464 5-ply CLT panels each 169 mm thick throughout the 16 floors of wood construction.  It is wrapped in a panelized envelope system. 


It takes about six minutes for U.S. and Canadian forests to grow the 2,233 cubic meters of wood that was used in this project.  The estimated avoided and sequestered greenhouse gases from the wood used in the building is 2,432 metric tonnes of CO2, equivalent to removing 511 cars off the road for a year.


Is ISPM 15 wood packaging required in the West Indies?

West IndiesDo we need to stamp wood ISPM 15 for the West Indies?

LK in Wisconsin

PLIB Response:

The “West Indies” covers many different islands.  Some of them require ISPM 15 certification for wood packaging while others do not show up on the list of countries that require it.  Cuba, Jamaica and Trinidad/Tobago are three countries that are listed as requiring ISPM 15 certification.  Consider having your wood packaging ISPM 15 certified and labeled as such if you are shipping to the “West Indies” just to be safe.

Question on Western Red Cedar siding rules

RF from the UK asks…”I wonder if you can tell me if the grading rules for Western Red Cedar are available online.  We have purchased several thousand square meters of No. 2 Clear and Better cladding in the UK and our supplier is telling us it’s No. 2 Clear and Better…”

PLIB Response:

There are several different sets of rules for Western Red Cedar.  The one that applies to the wood you have will depend in part on what country the wood came from and also on the grade.

If the cedar came from Canada, then the rules that cover it may be those published by the National Lumber Grades Authority (NLGA) in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Those rules are available on their website at  You will find the rules on their “publications” page.

If the cedar came from the U.S., the rules could be those published by the West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau (WCLIB) in Portland, Oregon or rules published by the Western Wood Products Association (WWPA) in Portland, Oregon.  The WCLIB rules are available on their website at You will want to look at Standard Grading Rules No. 17.  The WWPA rules are available at their website at You will find them under their “publications” page.

The Western Red Cedar Lumber Association (WRCLA) also publishes some proprietary rules for Western Red Cedar siding.  Their website is useful because you can go to the type of siding you have and they cross reference the various rules mentioned above that pertain to different grades of cedar siding, including their own proprietary rules when appropriate.  Here is a link to the siding page on their website which will get you started.

Finally, it is also possible (but not likely) that the wood was produced under our rules, the Export R List.  While they are not yet up on our website at this time, if you find that the wood you have was produced under an R List rule, let us know and we will email you the relevant rules.


PLIB Staff and Friends Build Ramp for Deserving Family in Rampathon 2016

Rampathon 8

PLIB Rampathon team (L to R) Front row: Hannah Petersen, Joan Petersen, Chris Anderson. Back row: Ben Haynes, Jeff Fantozzi, Kevin Tinsley. Not pictured: Nicholas Wiklund

On a wet, rainy Saturday in May, three PLIB staffers and three friends gathered at the Thompson house in nearby Algona and stared at the growing puddle of water and mud that was slowly encroaching on their work space. The weather was far from ideal but the cause couldn’t be better. The group had gathered to build a much needed access ramp for Colby Thompson, a six year old boy with severe mobility issues and the victim of shaken baby syndrome. 

Colby’s case is well known in the State of Washington; it inspired legislation known as the Colby Thompson Act which was signed into law in May 2011 by then Governor Christine Greqoire.  The Act aims to address unlicensed child care in Washington State and Colby’s parents fought hard to see that the legislation was passed.  They continue to support educational efforts and remain active in the legislative process on this subject. It’s a battle they will fight for the rest of their lives, alongside their precious, sweet son.

On this particular Saturday; however, the Thompson family would be the recipient of a wheelchair-access ramp that would help mom and dad maneuver Colby’s larger wheelchair in and out of the house, making life a little easier for the family and allowing Colby the opportunity to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine that Washingtonians cherish in the summer months.

Rampathon 3 websiteRampathon 4Rampathon 7

The ramp was built by the PLIB team as part of the Master Builders Association’s (MBA) annual Rampathon event which has been active since 1993. It was the second year PLIB participated in the event (click here for information about last year’s ramp).  According to the MBA “Rampathon is an annual program…where members and volunteers build free wheelchair-access ramps for…homeowners throughout King and Snohomish counties.”  Over 400 ramps have been built and more than 1.7 million dollars in in-kind contributions have been provided as part of the program. 2016 was the biggest event so far, with 37 ramps built. Local and regional media outlets covered this year’s event and you can learn more about the Thompson’s story and other Rampathon participants by viewing KING 5’s coverage of the 2016 Rampathon.

Thompson family website

“To be able to help a family like the Thompsons and make their life a little easier in a small way is very humbling and rewarding for every member of our team” said PLIB President, Jeff Fantozzi. “Rampathon is a great program that gives us an opportunity to give a little back to our community and brings our employees and friends a little closer to the people who live and work next door to us.”

Rampathon 9

The rain and mud didn’t have a chance. When Colby and his mom rolled down the ramp for the first time, Colby’s smile said it all.



Rampathon 10


For more information on the MBA Rampathon project, see the MBA website or click here.