Alaska Legislature Looks to Move Lumber Evaluation Into Local Sawmill Operators’ Hands

A bill has been introduced into the Alaska State Senate that would allow local lumber to be used more readily in building projects in the state, reporting from KBBI shows (3-10-23). According to a press release from the Alaska Senate Majority, the state is struggling to meet an ongoing housing shortage, an issue exacerbated by increased cost of construction materials and supply chain lag times.

According to the bill’s sponsor, Jesse Bjorkman, as it currently stands, lumber used for construction must first be graded—or assessed and categorized—by a third-party agency, which means it must leave the local area before getting to a contractor. Bjorkman’s bill would instead allow certified local sawmill operators to grade their own lumber.

Under the proposed bill, the Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources would host classes for sawmill operators to receive a grading certificate. The producers would then be licensed to grade their own lumber. When it comes to quality assurance, the bill recognizes the need for some sort of inspector who routinely checks on local lumber producers to make sure they are following best practices.

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