Natural Durability of Timber Exposed Above Ground – a Survey
Research subject and fields:
Besides its inherent resistance against degrading organisms, the durability of timber is influenced by design details and climatic conditions, making it difficult to treat wood durability as an absolute value. Durability classification is, therefore, based on comparing performance indicators between the timber in question and a reference timber. These relative values are grouped and related to durability classes, which can refer to a high range of service-lives. The insufficient comparability of such durability records has turned out to be a key challenge for service-life prediction. This paper reviewed literature data, based on service-life measures, not masked by a durability classification. It focused on natural durability of timber tested in the field above-ground. Additionally, results from ongoing aboveground durability studies in Europe and Australia are presented and have been used for further analysis. In total, 163 durability recordings from 31 different test sites worldwide based on ten different test methods have been considered for calculation of resistance factors. The datasets were heterogeneous in quality and quantity; the resulting resistance factors suffered from high variation. In conclusion, an open platform for scientific exchange is needed to increase the amount of available service-life related data.