Pine Posts and Poles – what to consider before buying

January 12, 2021

Pine is among the most commercially important tree species valued for its timber and wood pulp across the world. In tropical regions or countries such as Fiji, they are fast-growing commercial softwoods and is grown in plantations for timber. 

Fiji pine or Pinus caribaea wood is suited to a variety of end uses, including fence posts, passion fruit poles, house piles, transmission poles and building construction. It is also used for high-value carpentry items such as furniture, joinery, lining, boxing, panel products, etc.

Similar to other products, specifying pine posts and poles requires careful attention by members of public while preparing their material listing for quotations from merchandisers and retailers. There exist specifications and guidelines for the preparation of pine post and poles which producers and manufactures need to observe before putting their products out into the markets.

These specifications also take into account the products’ chemical treatment, including the chemical to be used and the chemical loading required to meet the product’s end uses’ hazard levels. The Table below listed the various pine wood products, specifying their treatments, along with their recommended ensues.

In the above regard, it is vital for consumers to be aware of these guidelines and specifications and to specify and order their poles and posts accordingly to avoid disappointments later on. If in doubt, advice should be sought from the Ministry of Forestry’s Timber Utilization Research Division.  

 Treatment of pine timber

  • As a consumer, you have every right to demand evidence on the adequacy of the treatment on the products and the appropriate branding of all pieces included in your invoice.
  • H4 treatment retention level meets the risk level class 4 (i.e. for fence post, passion fruit poles, etc)
  • H5 treatment retention level meets risk level class 5 H5 (i.e. for house poles, house piles, EFL transmission poles, solar power light poles and telecommunication transmission poles.
  • H6 treatment retention level meets risk level 6 H6 (i.e. timber and wood material used in wharves, bridges, timber buildings) associated on marine environment. 
  • It is not sufficient to be told that the pole or post has been treated. You need to ensure that the treatment has been done to the correct specifications and that the required results have been achieved, supported by relevant documents and also with the appropriate branding applied on the products. However, if still in doubt, submit a request to the Ministry of Forestry to conduct further tests to confirm the treatment level.
  • You also have the right to request for a treatment certificates to facilitate better understanding of the product

Consumer Tips

Before buying timber is it is crucial to consider the following:

Get to know your supplier – the most important relationship you will have when buying timber is always going to be the one between you and your supplier. You will want to ensure that your supplier has your best interests at heart.

Visit showrooms – timber is now not only available at hardware stores and timber showrooms, but online too. This is extremely convenient for many who have busy lifestyles. It is important however, to visit a physical showroom to make sure the product is exactly what you want. Sometimes what you see online isn’t the exactly what is available.

Find out where it is sourced from and do a quality audit – A little bit of extra inquiry can go a long way. If you care enough, take the time to find out where a supplier is sourcing their timber from and how they are treating it and what the quality is like.

Do you need it in a custom size – While standard sizes should fit most projects, you might be after something a little different. Exceptional suppliers will be able to go above and beyond and produce timber in the sizes you are after. Do not hesitate to ask what your options are.

Contact the Ministry of Forests – If unsure of the quality of the timber, it is advisable that you first seek advice from the Ministry of Forestry in regards to timber use before ordering to avoid problems that may arise post purchase. Consumers can contact the Timber Utilisation and Research Division under the Ministry of Forestry on  8924620 or email on bulaitevita@gmail.com or cagilevutaniela@gmail.com for assistance.

For any consumer concerns, you can also contact the Consumer Council of Fiji via the National Consumer Helpline 155 or email complaints@consumersfiji.org.


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