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Timber sales - useful tips

Useful tips when selling timber:

  • Notify timber buyers well in advance of upcoming sales. This will allow time to inspect site and assess the volume and quality and the harvesting options
  • Put timber on the market before harvesting as timber is harvested and cut to the lengths required by the market
  • Buyers should quote a price per m3 or tonne for each of the timber categories being purchased and they should quote for each category as appropriate i.e. timber bought ‘standing’, ‘delivered to roadside’ or ‘delivered to the mill’
  • Sellers should establish with the buyer the categories of timber that are required and how logs will be taken. E.g. a couple of loads a week or monthly etc.
  • Sellers should investigate local processors to keep the haulage cost to a minimum
  • Seek valid quotes and references from at least two contractors/buyers
  • Ensure that the contractor/buyer employed by you is adequately insured, qualified, accredited and certified and in a position to carry out works or services on an agreed schedule
  • Agree terms, dates and prices before any work commences
  • Enter into an appropriate legally binding contract regarding all agreed works and conditions.
  • Ensure that all work is properly and professionally supervised

Useful tips when drawing up a timber sales contract:

  • Provide all necessary legal documents including environmental and heritage regulations, site hazard documentation, risk assessment, pollution control plan, safety rules and emergency procedures
  • Compliance with Felling Licence conditions and all relevant Forest Service guidelines
  • Agreement on road use, maximum weights
  • Agreement on thinning method and procedures
  • Agreement on roundwood included in sale
  • Agreement on harvesting procedures and controls
  • Agreement on the supply and application of urea and dye
  • Agreement on length of time between felling and removals
  • Insurance requirements for harvesting contractors
  • Indemnity of forest owner
  • Timber security, consider using the ITGA’s timber sales system
  • Timber sold by volume or by weight (volume/weight?)
  • Payment agreement including deposit and regular instalments
  • Commencement and completion dates
  • Breach of contract, arbitration procedures
  • FSC/PEFC certification requirements

Useful tips for Forest Owner Groups when preparing timber sales tender documents:

It is essential to identify and engage an experienced expert in inviting tenders and preparing tender documents and forms. When you appoint the expert it will be necessary to consult with him/her to draft the invitation to tender and the tender documents. It is expected that the invitation to tender will include the following:

  • Tenders should be submitted on a form to be provided by the group so that all the information is submitted in the same format. (This is necessary in order to facilitate the comparison of bids/tenders).
  • Specify a closing date for tender receipt and a return address for tenders.
  • Invitation to tenders should include completion date for work.
  • That tenders should be submitted by either post or email. Text tenders should not be accepted.
  • VAT registered parties should be informed that they will have to show VAT separately on tender forms.
  • Anyone wishing to tender should be asked to familiarise themselves with each site
  • If bidding for a number of tenders, foresters should display that they have adequate resources to carry out the work within the allotted timeframe.
  • Specify the number of forests involved, and the works to be carried out for each forest.
  • If a list of loc8 codes can be provided for each site, this will make it easier for foresters to assess the work to be carried out
  • Name and address of contact person(s) in group should be included
  • Tender applications should be accompanied by references
  • Landowners should ensure that they have adequate insurance if they are inviting foresters onto their land to inspect works to be carried out. Documentary evidence of Public Liability/Employers Liability insurance cover should be provided with the tender”. (An acceptable level of cover will have to be agreed by the group.)
  • A scoring system should be put in place to allow the tenders to be evaluated. It is a good idea to include this in the invitation to tender. The following is a suggested scoring only, e.g. pricing 50%, time scale 25% and references 25%.

This list is by no means exhaustive and simply aims to address some of the items that forest owner groups should consider when inviting foresters to tender for works to be carried out. This information is not a substitute to engaging an expert in drafting the necessary tender documents and Teagasc accepts no liability for reliance by you on the suggestions set out above.

Organising a timber sale

John Casey, Forestry Adviser with Teagasc explains how to organise a timber sale. Filmed at a Talking Timber event in Co Cork, June 2019.