Rules Corner

The 2023 version of the NHLA Rules Book with the Rules changes that were voted on in November of 2021 will be produced later this year and distributed to our members before the end of 2022. The approved 2023 Rules changes were listed and discussed in last month’s Rules Corner, but this month I want to discuss additional changes in the 2023 Rules Book as it relates to the NHLA Sales Code.

In 2021, the NHLA Board of Managers created a Tally Task Force to ensure that the NHLA Rules Book sufficiently explained tally and grade accuracy. The task force held numerous meetings to discuss these concerns and have effectively decided on edits to the Sales Code section of the Rules Book.

On page 79, under ARTICLE V – Quantity & Loading, Section 2:

“Note: There is no relation between fair and honest loading and the trend of the market, and any attempt to make the prevailing market a determining factor for the contents of a shipment is a breach of good faith under this code.”

This paragraph will be replaced with:

“Note: Shippers shall make every attempt to ship full, accurate tallies for both grade and measurement on all shipments under the sales code as defined by the order. Attempts to intentionally under ship footage and/or ship a percentage of off-grade material to fall within Article X (Inspection) regulations or to vary tallies and grade by the trend in market conditions are discouraged as they do not accurately portray the intended purpose of Article X and therefore, represent a breach of good faith under the sales code.”

The NHLA Rules were written to provide the minimum standard for each grade of lumber with the understanding that random width lumber will be tallied using the Surface Measure method as is written on page 9, paragraph 18:

“Random width lumber of standard grades and thicknesses shall be tallied surface measure, and this tally shall be the number of feet, board measure, of 1″ lumber. In lumber thicker than 1,” the tally so obtained is multiplied by the standard thickness as expressed in inches and fractions of an inch.”

Over the years, there have been advancements in how lumber can be measured electronically, some of which will round the width inches prior to calculating the Surface Measure, which may cause issues of tally accuracy. This has been addressed on page 9, paragraph 16, here:

“Note: End Tally refers to the method of board footage measurement where lumber is tallied on a 12 Ft. basis as described in paragraph 21, except all width measurements are taken from the ends of boards after the lumber has been stacked in bundles.

It is recognized that there will be some minor differences in end tally measurement from the “board measure” method. In cases of footage dispute caused using both measurement methods, the footage as determined by “board measure” will supersede.

The NHLA Rules Book was written with the intent that all the hardwood industry is to ship and receive lumber, making every attempt to be as close to 100% accurate, in both grade and tally, as possible.

Questions about the changes to the Sales Code or the Rules? Contact Chief Inspector Dana Spessert at or by phone at…