IRG Sections and Working Parties


The IRG is organised in Sections, each with a specific scope. At present there are five Sections that reflect main areas of current importance in wood protection. The Section Leaders (Chair, Vice-chair) are responsible for co-ordinating the activities within their Sections and for encouraging the initiation of new work.

The Scientific Programme Committee (SPC) has the responsibility for co-ordinating the activities between the Sections. Within each Section any Member may make proposals for projects and for Working Parties so long as they have a clearly defined scope and a clearly expressed target date. Working Parties are usually formed around a specific topic such as Physiology of decay. Activities can include research symposia, discussion groups or collaborative research projects. Working Parties are intended to be easily created or dissolved and serve as a vehicle for bringing IRG members together.

Section 1. Biology

This section is concerned with the research on timber substrates and all aspects of agents of decay that affect performance of wood. It also covers ecology, physiology, biocontrol and mechanisms of decay in relation to the gross and fine structure of wood species.Relevant subject matter includes:
  • Fungi including decay fungi, sapstain and moulds, bluestain-in-service.
  • Bacterial degradation.
  • Termites and other wood-destroying insects.
  • Marine crustacean, teredinid and pholad borers.

Section 2. Test Methods and Assessment

This section is concerned with the study of test methods and analytical methods relating to physical, chemical and biological means of protecting wood from biodeterioration and weathering. It also covers harmonisation of international standards.Relevant subject matter includes:
  • New or improved methods to evaluate the efficacy of wood protection methods against fungi, bacteria, insects, marine organisms and weathering (ultraviolet light and moisture).
  • New or improved methods for evaluating the permanence of wood-protecting chemicals.
  • New or improved methods for detection of decay and insects in wood.
  • New or improved analytical methods to determine the amount, distribution and form of wood-protecting chemicals in wood.
  • Comparison among test methods.
  • International collaborative research on test methodology.
  • Experimental design and technique, interpretation of data and performance criteria for standards.
  • Prediction of long-term performance from short-term field or laboratory data.
  • International standards for wood durability and protection.

Section 3. Wood Protecting Chemicals

This section is concerned with research to improve the understanding of the interactions of chemical wood protection systems, both existing and under development, with wood or wood-based materials with particular emphasis on performance evaluation against fungi, bacteria and insects.Practical and fundamental areas of interest include:
  • New technologies including new active ingredients or formulations, non biocide systems and multi-component systems.
  • Biological performance evaluations. Laboratory tests and exterior field trials.
  • The interaction and distribution of wood protecting chemicals in wood.
  • Permanence and associated long term performance of wood protecting chemicals.

Section 4. Processes and Properties

This section deals with research into processes for the preservative treatment and/or the modification of wood and wood composites and their resultant properties, remedial and repair treatments, and techniques for applying chemicals to the surface of wood.Specific topics include:
  • Physics of wood treatment and treatment mechanics including process control techniques.
  • Influence of treating processes of preservative distribution and performance.
  • Pre-treatment and post-treatment processes effecting the preservative treatment of wood.
  • Processes for modifying wood including its chemical, physical, mechanical properties.
  • Processes to improve properties including resin treatments water repellents, coatings, etc.
  • Effect of treatments on properties of solid wood and composites.
  • Remedial treatments and repair systems.

Section 5. Sustainability and Environment  

This section is concerned with research into any environmental interactions which may result from the use of chemicals to protect wood.Specific topics include:
  • Migration of wood protecting chemicals from treated wood during service.
  • Disposal of treated wood.
  • Environmental fate of wood protecting chemicals.
  • Ecotoxicology of wood protecting chemicals.
  • Design and operation of wood treating facilities.
  • Information on the health and safety to producers and users of treated wood.