The future is bright for ITI. An expanding product offering and growing business partnerships are key to ITI Australia’s continued growth offering customers even more solutions. By Nicky Ainley

Since its establishment in 1987 by Paul Shadbolt, Independent Timber Importers (ITI) has been on a mission to redefine the timber industry and are continuing to pave their way forward by expanding their range of building and hardware lines.

Continuing their commitment to be a one- stop-shop for its customers, ITI remains proudly privately owned and has been operating this way since its inception in the 80’s in Sydney’s Five Dock.

Throughout the decades, ITI has built a reputation of excellent service combined with the supply of high-quality brands to the market. The company’s mission remains to ‘enrich their customers businesses on multiple levels’, and they achieve this by supporting them in any way required. ITI believe that partnerships with both suppliers and customers are key to creating value in the supply chain and as they continue to grow the core values of servicing the customer are still what makes the business tick.

ITI has worked closely with industry suppliers, customers, and associations to promote the strength, beauty, and environmental benefits of using timber. Over time ITI has redefined the role of the wholesaler with their distribution and service models. ITI’s investments in distribution centres, racking, product development, people, and service standards has set a standard industry not seen anywhere else.

In early 2002 ITI dropped the name Independent Timber Importers and replaced it with simply ‘ITI’ while introducing a new logo along with the “Innovative Timber Ideas” phrase which they believe more accurately describes the attitude of the company.

Furthermore, recently ITI has merged its two Sydney-based businesses, ITI Sydney and John Cook and Sons, into one entity operating out of a sprawling site at Dunheved Road and Links Road St Marys precinct.

This has streamlined the Sydney operation and will further improve the service offer for their NSW customer base’.

Today, ITI consists of eight distribution sites across Australia with 130,000m2 of undercover storage, with a 9th distribution centre currently under construction in Tasmania. Along with its Australian operation, ITI has a state-of-the-art remanufacturing, treating and priming plant in Chile, an office in Indonesia, and growing sales in the USA. With three distribution locations strategically positioned in NZ, these distribution facilities allow ITI to be a true national distributor in both countries. With close to 450 staff worldwide it is clear that from its humble beginnings the growth of ITI is not like anything else the industry has seen before or will see again.


Above: ITI has been focused on unlocking efficiency at each of its eight distribution centres around the country,

including a 9th distribution centre being built in Tasmania.



Much of the success and growth of ITI lies in its commitment to innovation in both service and product development.

“At the heart of what ITI has always done has been to provide a solution to a problem that exists in the market,” national marketing manager Justin Newman said.

This is indicated by the company’s premier brands such as Design Pine which is celebrating 20 years of service to the industry.

“Design Pine was invented as the first product to be produced using a genuine primer over LOSP to alleviate the paint problems that existed in the market some 20 plus years ago. With over two decades of service and no paint failures, Design Pine is an example of industry disruption that raised the bar or all products that followed,” Newman said.

While Design Pine occupies the premium number one position for outdoor pre-primed timber, ITI also developed in house the Ezitrim Plus brand for internal applications.

Newman said this brand development strategy is key to ITI’s success and is all built on the premise of providing solutions that are fit for purpose and solve industry problems.


Above: Design Pine has just celebrated its 20th year of industry service.



Developing brands that offered solutions is something ITI pioneered in the Australian market and many national and international brands now call ITI home and distribute exclusively via the company. Initially, the company focussed on building partnerships that increased its access to timber-based products in line with its core competencies. However, as ITI grew it identified the need to expand beyond timber.

ITI set out to become a “one stop shop” for its customers by expanding beyond timber into a range of building and hardware products and partnering with quality suppliers to achieve this. Most recently, ITI was named a national distributor for James Hardie fibre cement. ITI continues to drive this expansion and is close to signing another large Australian brand, showing this space is just continuing to grow for ITI.

Company Chief Executive Germano Tomassetti said the development and growth of these partnerships is at the core of providing more value to ITI’s customer base.

“The James Hardie partnership continues our push to partner with suppliers of high- quality products and well recognised brands,” Germano said.

“This partnership enables our customers who previously struggled to access the brand to purchase it by simply “adding it to the next truck” going to them from one of our distribution centres. Over the 25 years I have worked at ITI I have seen significant rationalisation at the customer level (and wholesale level), I have watched the emergence of large retailers and seen the demise of the old fashion timber yard.

“This has meant that ITI has had to continue to grow and adapt in an effort to support its customers,” he continued.

“Our product offer has grown from three major timber products when I joined to a price catalogue of near 80 pages. Our service standards have changed from ex-wharf trailer loads to one-piece same day. All of this has only been possible by building true partnerships with our supply partners and the James Hardie partnership is a continuation of this commitment to our customer.

“We understand that for ITI to succeed our customers need to succeed and so we continue the expansion into new products in an effort to reduce channel cost for our customers, by allowing them to consolidate deliveries, the “one stop shop” model, reduce internal costs, one supplier one invoice and allow them to access products that previously they could not.

“Some will say that this is self-serving and there is truth to that, true business partnerships are about win-win, but anyone who knows us and partners with us at both the supplier and customer level understand our commitment to our customers, suppliers and this industry,” Germano said.


Above: ITI recently appointed as a National Distributor for the James Hardie range of product;

these partnerships are crucial to ITI’s vision of offering more value to their customers.



More often than not when people think of ITI they are thinking about structural pine, building materials, decking products and more, being distributed to merchants, and frame and truss plants. However, a large part of ITI’s focus over the past 12-18 months has been the increase in its Hardwood capability which is consolidating its place filling a niche servicing the joinery, window and stair manufacturers. ITI are fast becoming a leader in this space with new and innovative products designed to fill voids where traditional hardwood products are no longer available.

Products such as Eurobeech, Grandis, and American Hardwoods such as Red Oak have all been integrated into the ITI range, these offer a variety of advantages over traditional hardwoods used in the joinery and staircase industry. Recently ITI launched a brand that encompasses all its Australian Hardwood species called Eucalypt. Under this one brand ITI will produce a range of cladding, decking and flooring, some of which will be processed in house through ITI’s own processing facilities in Queensland, while other products will be produced by local suppliers. Available as pre-oiled if required is another convenience ITI are offering in this range and this service is already proving very popular to the customer base.

Recently ITI invested heavily in its Western Red Cedar program which will offer a range of internal and external products, some of it will be processed and machined at the Queensland facility. Western Red Cedar is a highly sought after species amongst architects and building designers due to its beauty and durability.


ITI has successfully ticked over 10 years in the engineered wood product (EWP) space, an offer that started with just laminated veneer lumber (LVL) has grown to encompass all engineered timber including design and take off services spread throughout its branches. The company says its partnership with Metsä is key to our success as is the continual improvement to the systems that underpin the design and engineering of the products.

“The threat from non-fit for purpose product is a significant factor that the market must now consider, add to that the threat from green washing product that is sourced from Russia or Belarus and having a supply chain that is able to navigate this is a competitive advantage for ITI.” Hayden Slatter National Engineered Wood Products Manager.

As part of ITI’s commitment to its customers and wanting to offer them the best possible support on their EWP range, ITI has its own design software known as ITI Design Spec, this has just had v2 released which is powered by Clear Calcs and this encompasses many more additional features.

The ongoing relationship with Metsä is one that is very important, and this key partnership is integral to the success ITI is experiencing nationally in the EWP space. Being a premium distributor for the Metsä brand has given ITI a continuous high-quality supply of LVL and I Joist that from a quality and engineering perspective is considered the best in the market.


Above: The recent update to the Design Spec software has added great value to ITI’s customer base.



ITI has a well-known, long history in the composite decking field, distributing the countries two leading brands, ModWood and Eva-Last. Both products have come a significant way in their product life cycle, with ModWood starting as a single version, hollow product many years ago and is now dominating the decking space. There are a number of different decking options now available from ITI including the recent addition of the FLAMEFixx product. Flamefixx was the first and remains the only treated pine product to comply with BAL 40 requirements to the Australian standards and has revolutionised exterior decking and sub frame options for properties in bushfire zones, with more products being added to the range this year.

dFx® is a patented, industry-leading technology that combines a globally approved, durable (d) wood preservative and a proprietary fire-retardant (fx) into a single working solution. Once the timber is impregnated with the dFx® solution, the active ingredients are fixed in the wood for the life span of the timber. FLAMEfixx products have been extensively tested to ensure optimal protection against Australian Bush fires. FLAMEfixx dFx® timber products meet the requirements of BAL-40 set out in the Australian Standard AS 3959-2018.

Recent product developments have also seen a brand-new entrant through Eva-Last take the market by storm. The Pioneer product that uses a unique world first technology that can take scans of real wood and use the image in the hard-wearing cap. Eva-Last offers the beauty of timber, but in a hassle-free, durable option that’s longer lasting, virtually maintenance free, and ecofriendly. Cutting-edge engineering is bringing even greater structural advancements and lifestyle benefits to composite, and thoughtful detail to aesthetics now gives it an even more natural appearance in an expanded range of products, colours, and textures.

This board, exclusive to ITI, is currently being launched and is being welcomed by customers due to its unique story.


Along with the extensive ranges that are available, ITI also do a huge range of panels. The ITI range of panel products encompasses a full range of structural and non-structural plywood along with Particleboards and MDF sheets. The inclusion of the DIY panels range to the business has proven to be popular with ITI’s Panelit product proving to be a major success.

ITI has maintained a long-term partnership with Weathertex which it distributes nationally. Additionally, the company’s partnerships with both Borg and Laminex on their particleboard flooring ranges has been instrumental in both supplying merchants and as part of their EWP design service and floor supply.

The most recent addition to the panels range is a unique offering exclusive to ITI called ClicWall, produced by global panels giant UniLin. This unique internal wall panelling product compliments ITI’s existing internal panel product in EasyCraft. These 2 products will give ITI a significant edge in the interiors market with a panel solution for both painting and pre-finished. While not well known for their panels, ITI offers extensive value and continues to grow in this space.


ITI has grown from humble beginnings into the largest wholesaler/distributor in the country however, what hasn’t changed to the company is the importance of its relationships with the customer. Built on service and trust, ITI has and always will put the customer first. At the heart of its strategy is ITI’s people, without the culture that exists within the business and the hard work and dedication of the whole team the leaders of the business say it would not have grown to what it is.

“ITI has for the last twenty years run a successful cadet program with what was TABMA and now NTHA. Because of this cadet program we have people who have worked their way up through the business, and although our team is a young team, they are very experienced with many of them exceeding 10 to 15 years of service whilst a couple of these cadets that have been with business for 20 years’ whilst still being under the age of 40,” managing director of ITI Group Michael Shadbolt said.

“This longevity has helped build a successful culture within the business, ultimately this is a family business at heart, and we consider our staff to be our family.”

For more, click here.


Above: Celebrating Robert Gentles 30 years of service with ITI.