NHLA Grading Rules

The industry standard

It’s difficult to imagine a world without industry standards. Standards are published documents that establish specifications and procedures designed to ensure the reliability of the materials, products, methods, and services people use every day.

Industry standards for the hardwood lumber industry were created in 1898 by the establishment of the National Hardwood Lumber Association and its subsequent “Rules for the Measurement & Inspection of Hardwood & Cypress.”

The Rules for the inspection of lumber are uniform in construction and application but also carry with them the element of stability. The NHLA Hardwood Grading Rules are the product of the process of evolutionary development, and that process is still in operation. It is a process of growth and expansion to meet the necessities of varying conditions and markets and will continue as long as the trade endures.

To order a copy of the 2023 NHLA Rules Book, please visit the NHLA Online Store or send an email to nhlastore@nhla.com.

You may also download the 2023 NHLA Rules Book by clicking below.

Rules Change Process

Every four years, NHLA reviews the hardwood lumber grading rules and accepts rules change proposals for consideration.

In the final step of the process, ballots containing new rules change proposals are sent to all Active Members. Each Active Member may vote for or against the proposed rules change provided such ballot is returned to and received by NHLA within 30 days from the date on the ballot. Rules change proposals that receive a favorable vote on a two-thirds majority of the votes properly cast by the Active Members will be adopted and become effective January 1 of the proceeding year.

For questions about the rules change process, please contact Chief Inspector Dana Spessert.


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National Hardwood Lumber Association

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