Architect Design Specifications


To properly specify urban wood in your project a few key changes are needed to your master specifications. Urban wood is suitable for interior or exterior trim, wainscoting, flooring, architectural woodwork including cabinets, stairs and railings, pretty much anywhere regular forested wood is used.   There are some important parameters that you need to know about and verify with your local suppliers to avoid limitations to what you are trying to achieve. Many of these are with regard to board width, length and grade. Recommended additions to the typical CSI 3-Part specification include:


  1. Urban Lumber: Wood that is obtained from trees located in cities, towns or suburbs not harvested for their timber value, but removed because of insect, disease or circumstance.

Note: This will help clarify the material, and distinguish it from salvaged lumber which may be collected from an existing building, or collected from rivers and lakes.


  1. Prefabrication Meeting: Conduct a prefabrication meeting [__ days][___ weeks] prior to the start of the Work of this Section.
  2. Required Attendance: Architect, Contractor, millwork fabricator, urban wood supplier, [Owner][Owner’s representative].
  3. Review quality standards for use of urban wood materials, including acceptable appearance of finished material.

Note: Since you are dealing with a natural material with unique appearance and set of traits, a clear understanding of what is available and what everyone is hoping to achieve is very important. Think of the urban wood as fine piece of Carrara marble.

1.0X        SUBMITTALS

  1. Samples: Submit [three][____] samples of finished urban wood [trim][wainscoting][____], minimum of [12][__] inches long representing range of grain, color and natural defects.
  2. LEED Report: Submit for wood products made from regionally-sourced wood, MR Credit 5.1 or 5.2, as specified under Section [01 35 15 – LEED Certification Procedures][______ – _________] .
  3. LEED Report: Submit for wood products made from sustainability harvested wood. MR Credit 7, as specified under Section 01 35 15 – LEED Certification Procedures][______ – _________].

Note:   Be aware that changes in FSC’s certification may allow for urban wood to be considered for LEED, MR Credits 7 – Sustainably Harvested Wood, in the next few years, and hence may have a required submittal of material sourcing. If a regional/local group has a chain of custody certification for urban wood, this should be listed and used to qualify for this credits in lieu of FSC.


  1. Urban Lumber Grade: NHLA G-101, Grade [No. 1 Common][No. 2A Common (Log-run)][No. 3B Common (Mill-run)][______].

Note:    Verify available grades of urban word from sawmill. Depending on local custom and services provided by urban lumber supplier, grades can run the gamut from FAS to No 3B Common. “Mill-run” cut lumber direct from the mill, corresponds to No. 3B Common & Better as defined by NHLA under Special Combined and Face Grades. This can result in 30 to 50 percent waste by a mill shop. “Log-run” corresponds to No. 2A Common & Better, and presumably less waste from each board.

Note:    Reference AWI/AWMAC/WI Architectural Woodwork Standards Economy, Custom, Premium for quality of finished woodwork.

Note:    Strongly consider a mock-up of urban products, such as wainscoting, flooring to verify desired quality standards.


  1. Provide [certified] harvested urban lumber.

Note:    Certification may be offered by FSC in the future, or local organizations that support urban lumber.

  1. Urban wood suppliers:
  2. [___________]

Note:    List regional suppliers of urban wood. See Directory {provide link to other webpage}

2.0X        MATERIALS

Note:     Clearly distinguish between species, cut, and grade (if applicable) of urban lumber versus non-urban lumber material.

Note:    Urban lumber typically will be shorter on average than regular mill lumber, so you may have to delete or modify any identified minimum length for flooring planks or trim.

Note:    Identify special sizes required for a particular use, especially for boards thicker than 4/4.

Your standard specification paragraphs on fabrication, finishing, and installation should be adequate to cover urban and regular lumber, with minor modifications based on specific project needs.