South Africa’s unique climate,  combined with specie matching and genetic engineering conducted for over a century by local forestry and sawmilling industries, underpins the country’s structural lumber products as truly world class. With that, there are critical guidelines around standard dimensions of structural timber, truss types and their profiles that must be adhered to in order to meet standard building regulations for a compliant, safe and long-lasting timber structure.

The Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA), South Africa’s SAQA-accredited professional body safeguarding the local timber industry for over 45 years, shares industry insight on structural timber as a material, standard available dimensions, as well as standard truss types and profiles.

Species & plantation management

The most predominant saw timber species are Pinus Elliottii (Mexican Pine), Pinus Patula (Southern Yellow Pine) and Pinus Radiata (Monterey Pine). In both appearance and physical properties, timber products derived from these three species is practically indistinguishable. South Africa is considered a leader in commercial tree farming, with many of its saw timber plantations managed to world class standards. These South African structural pine plantations are typically managed on a 25-year rotation and undergo acute silvicultural management in terms of on time pruning and thinning in order to produce high quality logs that yield structural grade timber. These sawmills carry various certification standards that allow them to sell their products both locally and abroad.

Click here to view Sawmilling South Africa’s Sawmill Directory.

SA Structural Pine Products

See below a list of common South African Structural Pine sizes exported from South Africa.
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Truss types & profiles

See below a graphic overview of the standard truss types and profiles in South Africa.

truss types and profiles

Truss types and profiles. Image courtesy of Errol Hobden of International Truss Systems (ITS).

Download this table here.

For more information, email With special thanks to Sawmilling South Africa (SSA) and Errol Hobden of International Truss Systems (ITS) for their contributions to this article.