As projects go out for competitive proposal, criteria established at the concept, SD and DD decision points will be instrumental for communicating project goals and priorities to potential trade partners.

Procurement goals may be both signaled and vetted by:

  • Collecting data from potential trade partners and comparing against established criteria/metrics
  • Awarding contracts, considering cost and other quantifiable criteria. Utilizing a weighted scoring system that assesses this data against the project goals is one way to establish a trade partner selection criterion.
  • Vendor Specific, third party verified Type III EPD comparisons should be collected at this stage, comparing back against pre-established project baselines and criteria/metrics, bearing in mind that contemporary EPDs do not distinguish between the climate-smartness of wood from different source forests. .
  • Evaluation of cost and other metrics beyond those contained in EPDs.


Wood procurement typically occurs concurrent with the end of the Design Development  or early Construction Documents  phase, though different timelines apply depending on the elements in question. Procurement commitment of CSW mass timber will likely need to be made on the order of 8 months prior to the start of erection of mass timber (depending on overall quantity of material being procured). Procurement commitment of CSW for sawn lumber (ex. stick-built applications), interior or landscape elements can potentially be made later in the project timeline. This commitment utilizes the groundwork established in the Concept Design, Schematic Design  and Design Development decision points, to ensure materials can be procured via one or more of the CSW procurement strategies  in a manner that allows the project to meet its goals.

Having early involvement from the general contractor/construction manager, a CSW advisor, consultants savvy in the procurement of CSW, and maintaining consistent and diligent connection by the whole team to critical forestry operations, vendors, suppliers and trade partners is instrumental in successfully procuring CSW and meeting the project goals, schedule and budget.

Projects that develop a CSW procurement goal once they have already arrived at the procurement stage still have options. CSWG’s coalition is working to produce specification options for transparency, traceability, and CSF objectives that are in development and will be available for case study-scale utilization in early 2024. Until that time, CSWG is also available to review and assist with specification approaches on a project-basis.

At minimum, project teams’ specifiers who have been unable to lay advanced groundwork with vendors should require that responsive bids provide wood sourcing disclosure provisions, such as:

  • Location of the primary wood production facility (i.e., sawmill that produced the raw boards).
  • Time period of timber harvest and wood material production.
  • Geographic location of the harvest.
  • Characterization of business-as-usual (BAU) harvest practices for the forest ecosystem in question and narrative or quantitative description of how the procured materials’ harvest practices exceed BAU and are responsive to elements of the CSF definition.

In order to maintain procurement options and encourage transparent bidding behavior, it is recommended that vendor selection be made preferentially on the basis of the depth and veracity of disclosure information provided.