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AFI and WPA collaborate on fence post performance investigation
13 March 2023

AFI and WPA logos

The Association of Fencing Industries (AFI) and the Wood Protection Association (WPA) are conducting a joint investigation into reports by AFI members about the poor performance of recently installed treated wood fence posts.  


At last year’s AFI Timber in Ground Contact conference at which WPA were guest speakers, fencing contractors voiced concerns that the service life of some treated fence posts is not meeting expectations. The British Standard for preservative impregnated wood, BS8417 sets 15 years as the desired service life for treated wood in direct contact with the ground. AFI members told WPA representatives that the premature failure of posts was affecting their confidence in the use of treated wood. 


AFI and WPA recognise the importance of establishing the facts surrounding the experiences of contractors. Agreement has been reached to investigate treated posts that have not met the service life expectations and to identify the root causes to help prevent a re-occurrence. Both organisations are urging contractors to send samples for this investigation to take place, see further information below.


Neil Ryan, WPA director, explained ‘We have had an ongoing dialogue with AFI and recognise action is required.  We need an evidence based, fuller understanding of why some AFI contractors are experiencing premature failures of fence posts.  With the help of AFI members, we are collating information and collecting post samples to investigate and establish the cause of the reduced service life.  We’re committed to raising the quality and performance bar for treated wood. Building buyer confidence in the life expectancy of timber products in ground contact is a strategic priority for the WPA and its members'.


AFI CEO Peter Clark confirmed ‘the AFI is not anti-timber but we want timber to last the required years and deliver a service life in ground contact for it be sustainable. We have seen the massive uptake in other materials by members that has been driven by the lack of confidence in timber. By working together, we are much better placed to agree on a viable resolution to take us forward with renewed confidence. This study is to get results not just data as we need to resolve the issue fast with a confident supplier route from forest to fence’.  


To help with this initiative and to send samples for investigation, AFI members should complete the form on the AFI website:

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