Use Category System


The Use Category System provides a simple way of using the AWPA Standards.  The system was introduced in 1999 and defines Use Categories, or biodeterioration hazard levels, for treated wood products.  The UCS assists specifiers and users in the selection of the appropriate treatment for the end use of the product.

The advantage of the UCS is simplicity.  All treated wood products can be placed into one of five use categories, based upon biodeterioration hazard and expected product performance.  Fire retardant treated products are placed in their own unique use category class.

Using the UCS

Specifiers or users should first determine the use category by selecting the expected service conditions.  Then, locate the type of product needed and the species and preservative most appropriate for the application.  Consideration of all of these factors results in the treatment and inspection requirements for that particular end use.

Click here to download the first 20 pages from the current edition of AWPA Standard U1 which describe the various use categories.

We have also developed an infographic that will assist you in determining the appropriate preserved wood for your particular project.

You can download the Use Category infographic here.

To purchase the complete Standard U1 which contains all listed species/preservative/retention combinations for each AWPA Use Category, please visit the AWPA Store. The Use Category System standards are updated annually and are published in the AWPA Book of Standards.

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