Nigel Poyner, managing director of M&M Timber, says that many specifiers are not following the current British Standard guidelines for ground contact timber. As a result, much of the wood being used is not fit for its intended purpose.
Poyner said: "Most of the timber used in the UK is not naturally very durable. Unless it is treated, it is vulnerable to attack by such things as fungi and insects. These attack the wood, weaken its structure and make it liable to failure."
He said that the biggest problem is in rural fencing. The high cost of installation and wire meant that buying cheap timber - which will decay relatively quickly - is a false economy. "People in this sector, would do well to follow the example of the better landscape specifiers," said Poyner.
M&M has been marketing a new Osmose Micropore wood preservation treatment, Timber treated in this method is claimed to last five times as long as untreated timber. It also introduced a new kiln-drying process, which results in a minimum life of 15 years for the timber.