Tempest in a two by four
The way the lumber industry sees it, everyone knows a 2×4 is actually a bit smaller than two inches by four inches. But the way California sees it, failure to provide the actual accurate dimensions might cost you.
Reacting to a report that Lowe’s was ordered to pay a $1.6 million settlement in a California case alleging the inaccurate description of structural building products, several LBM industry voices around the country contacted by HCN said they were unaware of similar regulatory zeal in their regions – and glad of it.
The actual size of what is commonly described as a 2×4 is, of course, 1.5” x 3.5”. According to West Coast Lumber & Building Material Association executive director Ken Dunham, the rules of California call for clarity in that regard.
“You know that California is where we have to be protected from ourselves,” said Dunham. “The state doesn’t think we are smart enough to know the actual size of a 2×4.”
As part of its recent settlement, Mooresville, North Carolina-based Lowe’s has taken steps to adjust its descriptions of its dimensional lumber in about 100 of its California stores. The company’s web site already lists the nominal and actual measurements of dimensional lumber.
Lowe’s isn’t the only web site to include both descriptions. At Menards.com, the 2”x2”x3’ red cedar lumber product is further described as (1.5” x 1.5” x 3’) in a “description and dimension” box.
At Homedepot.com, and many other web sites where lumber is sold, 2x4s are simply described as 2x4s.
The WCLBMA’s Dunham says the issue of dimensions came up in 2008 when regulators targeted plywood thickness. The association organized eight seminars across the state, working with the state’s Division of Measurement Standards. “This is about the first time it has come up since then,” Dunham said.
In reference to the Lowe’s settlement, Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian stated: "Consumers should expect when making product purchases that retailers are providing accurate information, especially when misinformation could adversely affect building projects that more often than not rely on precise measurements.”
The District Attorney’s office later added that nominal descriptions are valid, as long as the actual dimensions meet the appropriate standards.
Around the LBM industry, a common refrain when it comes to California rules and regulations is that it’s safe to expect the unexpected.
“Nothing in California surprises me,” said John Steinman, VP purchasing at Erlanger, Kentucky-based Forge Lumber. “The layperson may not know, but I think anyone who has used a 2×4 – even a DIYer — knows it’s not net 2×4. I never heard of it causing any issue for anyone.”
A post appearing on Homechannelnews.com from a user tagged “Rlatham” was more emphatic: “Every single mill that produces 2x lumber sells this way and every distributor, retailer, builder, architect knows exactly what a 2x is.” The post added: “Shame on California for stooping this low.”
New manager for Parr Lumber yard
Parr Lumber named Jon Friesen as the new manager of the company’s Tacoma, Washington, location.
Friesen most recently served as the manager of Parr’s Portland location on MLK Blvd. and prior to that as the assistant manager at Parr’s West Linn facility.
The appointment is effective Sept. 2.
Before joining the Parr team, Friesen worked for BMC for 15 years and served as the lumber division manager of BMC’s Tacoma location and the Vancouver general manager.
“This experience coupled with his proven leadership ability made him a clear choice to take Parr Tacoma to the next level,” said Jim Boyer, CEO of The Parr Company.
The Parr Company consists of six distinct companies that provide building solutions and services: Parr Lumber Company, Parr Cabinet Design Center, Cascade Wholesale Hardware, NSC, NSCi, and Parr Marketing Group.
McCoy’s expands in Texas
McCoy’s Building Supply opened a new store in Dayton, Texas, marking the family-owned company’s 86th location.
The yard is near McCoy’s Baytown and Cleveland locations.
“Our delivery trucks nearby were making deliveries to Dayton every day,” explained McCoy’s real estate manager Phil Hutchinson. “Since we’ve already been serving its residents, we are excited to officially become part of Dayton’s community.”
Store manager Martin Flukinger is a 10-year McCoy’s veteran excited to bring his philosophy of great service and building supply knowledge to the Dayton community. “Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or a seasoned pro, we have the materials and advice to help you with your next project,” he said.
McCoy’s Building Supply, the 2009 HCN Pro Dealer of the Year, is headquartered in San Marcos, Texas, and headed by owner and CEO, Brian McCoy. McCoy’s employs 2,000 people and operates 86 stores and two millwork facilities in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi and New Mexico. They can be found online at mccoys.com.
“So many businesses are telling folks how important customer service is to them, but our serving attitude is truly what sets us apart from the competition," said president and CEO Brian McCoy. "We’re passionate about making sure each and every customer gets our full attention, regardless of the size of his or her project that day."