Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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Bureau of standards
(Aired 3 October 2001)

   We all know that we are supposed to have a bureau of standards in this country.

   Our bureau of standards was set up by an act no 11 of parliament in 1984, and they receive a subvention of 35 million dollars per year to ensure that the citizens of this country do not get ripped off by unscrupulous merchants, manufacturers, importers etc.

   They for example go around making sure that scales etc are calibrated properly, at stores, markets etc. simple tasks requiring no particular intelligence or skills, they are supposed to ensure that if we buy anything, we are protected from exploitation by the sellers of almost any merchandise which comes on the local marketplace.... But do they?

    Last month I decided to build a Gazebo in my garden. I bought a Ryobi miter saw, and I personally cut each rail and upright for this structure. I am very proud of my Gazebo since I built it personally.

    It has turned out well, as the video I have prepared to accompany this comment will show.

     But in the process of doing this project I discovered that every piece of wood that I bought from the lumberyard had a different measurement. The 4 inch by 4 inch uprights can vary from 3 1/2 to 3 15/16 of an inch, same with all the wood I bought they all had varying sizes and none had the size I was charged for....., now quite apart from the fact that I am buying and being charged for 4x4, 4x2 and 1x3 wood and I did not get ONE piece of wood which had those measurements, I ended up spending MORE time shaving and eliminating the differences in the wood, which did not fit and which looked like hell, than I did in the actual construction. When I called a friend of mine who is knowledgeable in these matters, he thought that it was a huge joke, and told me, well Tony you went to get wood, and you got it! Not a bad joke, but hardly the attitude which will make someone take notice of the fact that something is seriously wrong with the system.

    Now I am the first to admit that the Timber industry in this country is in some financial difficulty, I however feel that these lumber yards, all of them, are supposed to conform to some standard. If you buy a 1-inch by 4-inch piece of wood to replace some part of your building, you may find that it has a totally different size and thickness than the one that was there. Creating a huge headache for.... you.

    Ladies and gentlemen we are hiring carpenters to do our work, repairing our house, fixing some part of our business premises etc, and they can spend more time and therefore our money shaving down wood to make our construction/renovation look neat thereby increasing our labour costs substantially. It is better if pay a little more for the wood at the sawmill or lumberyard and got the right standard sizes.

   So I think that the time has come when our National bureau of standards begin functioning and enforcing the law since they are taking an enormous amount of our taxes to protect us from this sort of thing, all saw mills and lumberyards should be required to sell us wood which has the right measurements.

In addition ladies and gentlemen you cant go anywhere in this country and look at any new or renovated building without coming to the realization that we are buying green, un-dried wood of varying sizes which will shrink and leak almost as soon as the structure is complete. To say that most of the wood we buy is warped is an understatement and probably unnecessary. Some of the wood we buy, are so warped and twisted that it would give a camoodie backache.

    On checking why this is so I have discovered that this is one of the few countries on the planet that does not have a building code, I have also discovered that our Bureau of Standards do not police this matter of varying size wood at our sawmills in the interest of the public but the act of 1984 says that they should.

   The sawmillers must be made to understand that notwithstanding their poor financial situation, selling varying size wood is a huge inconvenience to the public and makes our assets look rough.

    Three years ago I bought some wood for my living room, there were several leaks that had to be fixed, the carpenters who did the job could not just remove rotten pieces of wood and go to the lumber yard and find wood of similar dimensions to replace them, so rather than have a totally unacceptable mix of different sizes of wood, I had to buy completely new lumber for the entire living room, and even then, the new lap edge and the straight edge wood I bought for the job all had varying sizes and thickness. And two months after completion we had to reputty and repaint the entire place. Everything shrunk.

   All sawmills have huge piles of sawdust, which to our inconvenience they burn at certain times; can they not use that fuel to dry some of this wood for an extra consideration? So that when we buy a dried 6-inch lap edge it does not shrink to 51/2 inches two months after we install it on our buildings.

   Even the men at the lumberyard tell you that you have to buy the wood and put it down out of the weather for several months before you even attempt to install it on your building. And even then you have to buy several heavy-duty clamps to pull this warped wood into shape so that the exterior of your house does not look like a topographical map.

   So if you want to renovate your house for Christmas you have to buy your wood in July and store and dry it for your Christmas renovation, is no one aware of the ludicrousness of such a situation?

 I don't want to hear about Global warming either, I have already questioned the motives behind it. This un-industralised, HIPC, Developing country of 750,000 people with 83,000 square miles of forests is a net reducer of hot house gasses on this planet. So those of our luminaries who are taking grants in US dollars from the UN to do seminars, to tell us how much damage WE ARE DOING TO THE ATMOSPHERE is such patent nonsense that it is not worthy of analysis or comment.

   At the last international conference on global warming the third world countries were virtually given permission to increase their production of hot house gases as of their 1990 levels in the interest of their development, even Russia was allowed to increase theirs because of the ratio of population to forests, and the poor financial status of the country, the Americans who produce 33 % of the industrial nations' pollution only agreed to reduce their 1990 levels by 7 % by the year 2012. So Let us forget about global warming for awhile, there is NOTHING that we can possibly do to change anything except to BEG the Americans to reduce their hot house gases by more than 7% by 2012, and let us look at the local lumber industry in the interest of our people. But at the end of the exercise, when we buy a 4-inch by 4-inch piece of wood, it must be 4 inches by 4 inches at a reasonable cost, and, the sawmiller must make a profit.