The Importance of a Positive Mindset for Your Business

A Builder’s Perspective

By: Heath Bowman, Southeastern Underdeck

There is no denying that we face uncertain and stressful circumstances as we continue to navigate COVID-19 and anticipate the fallout from it. It is all over the news, all over our social feeds, and all over our conversations. Let’s go ahead and say it together, “This sucks.”

Okay. We have that out of our system. Now for the next few minutes, put that aside. Let’s talk about something else. Whoever you are and wherever you work, every day you have a chance to lead. Right now, it is especially important that you lead from a standpoint of hope and positivity. When people—your teammates, your friends in the industry, your customers—when those people see you, do you want them to see a person in panic mode, or do you want them to see someone who is continuing to work hard and make the best of a difficult situation?

Think of the times you have faced a challenge or a crisis, one beyond your control. Do the people who make a better impact act out of fear, or out of hope?  Do they sit and remind people of how bad things are, or do they get to the work of solving the problem?

The construction industry is considered essential. That means we all have an opportunity to keep doing what we do and to do it well. When you see people working hard, what you see is people who have set their minds to solutions rather than problems. And that sort of image instills confidence and calm to the people who see it. Here are a few things that we at Southeastern Underdeck have done to send this message:

1. Communicate to your clients intentionally and with positive messages. Make sure potential clients know how to get in touch with you for estimates and questions, and make sure current clients know how to get in touch with your crews while projects are ongoing. If you are present and available, it sends a message that you are working in spite of difficulty. People will respond to that positively.

2. Make sure your staff is representing a positive and hopeful message. They are your ambassadors to your clients. Whether it is the person answering the phone in the office or the person swinging the hammer on a job site, make sure that they are representing your company well, and not letting their own fear or cynicism or frustration come through. Again, not that there is nothing to be concerned with, but when you’re at work, you show up to do work. When there is work being done, it means that you are working for tomorrow. When you pour a foundation today, you are anticipating building a house on it tomorrow.

3. Make sure people know that you are open and still doing business. If you have Facebook or Instagram, send out posts to your audience that let them know you’re there, you’re open, and you’re eager to serve them. If you do not have social media, then sign up for it. People use social media more than you can imagine to find reliable businesses and get recommendations from friends and neighbors. If you have a presence on social media, you have more avenues to communicate your message to others. Get it if you don’t have it and use it if you do.

Now, to be clear, none of this is not to say that we should not be prepared for the worst, or that we should ignore the difficulty. However, there is a difference in saying, “This is awful, there’s nothing I can do to fix it!” and saying, “This is awful, so I’m going to do everything I can to make it better.”

People can look anywhere to see what’s wrong. When they look to you—when they look to us—why not let them see people who are focused on making the world better around them instead of adding to the noise of what’s wrong?!


Decks and More Wins Two National Awards-One for Johns Creek Home

Decks and More, a Marietta-based remodeling company, recently won five awards from the North American Deck and Railing Association and two other National Contractor of the Year (CotY) honors from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. One of the homes lauded is a Buckhead house that won a CotY award for Green Residential Exteriors for its grand staircase leading from the back deck to the back yard. Decks and More also won a CotY honor for Residential Landscape Design/Outdoor Living Under $100,000. In the other association’s competition, it won first place for Best Covered Porch, second place for Limitless Creation, Wood Deck from $50,000 to $100,000 and Closed Porch and third place for Unique Features.

The National CotY awards are NARI’s premier awards for the remodeling industry. The annual accolades recognize excellence in remodeling across 48 categories. NARI members throughout the nation submit their best work for consideration by a panel of expert judges. Over the years, Decks and More has been honored for outstanding work at the local, regional and national level by NARI, the North American Deck and Railing Association and other professional organizations. www.nari.org/Recognition-Center/CotY/National-Winners

“It’s always rewarding to win a CotY Award, since the entries are judged by a panel of remodeling peers,” said Frank Pologruto, president of Decks and More. “As always, the competition was extremely tough, since remodelers from across the country submitted their best work. Decks and More is truly honored and grateful to receive these awards. I’d like to thank our clients, design team, creative carpenters, Southeastern Underdeck team, painters and our amazing electricians. These projects were total team efforts and I am honored and blessed to work with these professionals every day.”

National CotY Winner for Residential Landscape Design/Outdoor Living Under $100,000, Johns Creek, Ga.

“For this busy family who loves to entertain, we replaced an outdated and non-descript deck with a beautiful two-level outdoor entertainment area,” said Pologruto. The home features a professionally landscaped backyard with a pool, outdoor kitchen and flagstone patio, but the dated, existing deck hampered the flow from the house to the yard and detracted from the lovely landscape. The homeowners wanted two levels of attractive and functional outdoor living spaces, but they wanted their view preserved. We worked with partner Southeastern Underdeck on the project. It took a strong team effort, creativity and innovation to design and install the components in a way that did not block the view. First, a pressure-treated engineered beam was installed to support the new wooden deck with its Chippendale handrails, custom corbels and diagonal decking. Below, Southeastern Underdeck installed an under-deck system made of custom aluminum panels to protect the homeowners from weather on the ground level. To complete the project, we added stacked stonework at the steps, LED lighting and a two-color paint scheme for the deck and rails. The lower level features a clear span design with only four columns supporting the upper deck. This creative engineering maintained the clear view of the landscape.”

National CotY Winner for Green Residential Exteriors, Atlanta, GA (Buckhead neighborhood)

“The couple who lives in this Buckhead home had the house custom-built and the grounds professionally landscaped, but for some reason, the back deck was too small and didn’t span the home. It almost looked like it was added as an afterthought,” said Pologruto. “The homeowners asked my team and me to design a low-maintenance deck to provide easy access to the backyard with a wide, sweeping view. To avoid installing railings across the entire back of the deck, we designed a grand, 28-foot-wide staircase that gently descends to a landing before reaching the ground. The deck features gray birch composite decking placed at a diagonal with a picture frame border and open, fortress iron handrails. Additional green solutions include LED lighting and PVC white trim at the perimeter of the deck. Where the old deck made you feel cramped and confined, this new outdoor deck and grand staircase are gracious and open. They are a perfect match for the beautiful home and meticulous landscape.”

About Decks & More

Decks & More is a metro Atlanta-based remodeling company founded in 2001 by Frank Pologruto. The award-winning business specializes in creating outdoor living spaces, home additions, porches, decks and patios, as well as remodeled bathrooms and basements. Pologruto, who learned the remodeling business first-hand from his father and uncle prior to his formal training during his tenure with the U.S. Army, leads a team of skilled craftsmen and uses only the highest quality materials in each of his firm’s remodeling projects.

Decks & More has earned over 100 prestigious awards and accolades and is the most award-winning deck contractor in the metro Atlanta area. Among the honors are National Contractor of the Year Awards from NARI (National Association for the Remodeling Industry), a Best Wood Deck Award from the North American Deck and Railing Association, a Super Service Award from Angie’s List, Consumer’s Choice Award in the category of Patio and Deck Builders and numerous local remodeling awards. Decks and More is a member of NARI and a charter member of the North American Deck and Railing Association. www.decksandmore.biz.

What’s Next in Outdoor Living?

Top 10 Trends for 2020

WINCHESTER, Va. – The popularity of outdoor living spaces has never been higher, and the appeal of the great outdoors seems to keep getting greater with homeowners across the country investing more time and money into their outdoor spaces. As the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing, and leader in high-performance, low-maintenance outdoor living products, Trex Company keeps a finger on the pulse of this rapidly growing industry. Based on input from internal experts and insights from dealers, contractors and industry insiders, the company has, once again, compiled its annual Outdoor Living Forecast predicting design trends for 2020 and beyond.

“It’s always fascinating to compare the trends reported by our customers with those projected by the industry at large,” notes Leslie Adkins, vice president of marketing for Trex Company. “This year, we added insights from two high-profile design and lifestyle experts – Alison Victoria and Evette Rios – to the mix. Their perspectives helped to reinforce our predictions and take our forecast to a whole new level.”

Following are 10 trends that will influence outdoor living as we begin a new decade of design:

1.Mixed Materials

Say so long to matchy, matchy and monochromatic. 2020 is the year to mix it up – both indoors and out. Add visual interest to an outdoor space by juxtaposing materials such as concrete and composite, wicker and aluminum, copper and stone. Integrate nature-inspired materials that maintain cohesion with the natural surroundings, and infuse color and pattern with pillows, cushions, furnishings and decorative accents.

2.Industrial Inspiration

As homeowners increasingly find inspiration for their outdoor spaces in commercial settings, like upscale hotels and restaurants, there is a growing shift toward sleek, contemporary designs and materials, larger expanses of glass, smooth surfaces, and clean lines. Outdoors, this trend is manifesting in more commercially inspired railing styles. Trex Signature® Railing, for instance, features a range of minimalist, yet sturdy, aluminum options, including rod rail, glass panels and mesh inserts – designed to optimize sightlines and deliver a modern, industrial flair.

3.Cladding

Another commercial-to-residential trend is the use of cladding, which is growing in popularity across the country. Functionally, cladding provides a protective rainscreen to a home or outdoor living area, while also improving curb appeal. Modern exteriors with clean lines and simple designs are among those attributes most commonly requested by homebuyers and homeowners with a particular emphasis on wood looks. For those seeking the aesthetics of wood cladding without the hassles of constant upkeep, composite cladding offers a high-performance, low-maintenance alternative.

“Anyone who follows my work knows that I’m all about cladding. I’m also all about the ease and aesthetics of Trex composite boards,” says Victoria, host of HGTV’s ‘Windy City Rehab.’ “I use Trex for all of my cladding applications – and even have it on my own deck at home. It is fresh and distinctive and lends a modern interior aesthetic to an outdoor space.”

4.Outdoor Kitchens

As the foodie phenomenon continues to thrive, homeowners are increasingly making room – both in their budgets and floorplans – for outdoor kitchens. In recent years, outdoor cooking areas have evolved from stand-alone grills to fully appointed spaces with specialty appliances ranging from smokers and side burners to pizza ovens and integrated refrigerated storage. Capturing this trend is the new Trex® Outdoor Kitchens collection. The luxurious lineup features stainless steel cabinetry solutions in color and style options that allow designers and homeowners to create functional spaces that rival interior kitchens – all crafted to withstand and endure exposure to the elements.

5.Vertical Gardens

Among the biggest trends for 2020 is natural greenery. Installing a vertical garden or ‘living wall’ outside your home can give you plenty of extra space for growing your favorite plants while also serving as an attractive, artful addition to your deck. There are numerous plans, tips and tutorials available online for designing and building a vertical garden. For optimal structural support and aesthetics, Trex® Cladding is an ideal choice for these projects, delivering premium aesthetics with all the durability, low-maintenance and eco-friendly benefits of Trex decking.

6.Fire Features

The allure of flickering flames from an outdoor fire are hard to rival or resist, which is why fire features will continue to be ‘hot’ this season. Available in a variety of shapes, sizes and finishes, fire features add warmth, ambience and a touch of drama to any deck or patio. Fire pots, such as those in the new Trex® Outdoor Fire & Water collection, can be positioned almost anywhere to create a cozy gathering spot – or combined in a series to provide an ambient boundary for larger outdoor areas. For even greater visual impact, a fire table can serve as a focal point and elevate the luxury and comfort of an outdoor space. Whether a warm summer evening or a cold winter night, a fire feature can make it feel like it’s a good idea to be outside any time of the year.

7.Soothing Water

Few outdoor elements elicit the same reaction as a well-placed water feature. The soothing sound of trickling water conjures calm and can set a relaxed tone and atmosphere. It can also act as a charming focal point for a backyard and can tie together an entire landscape. In addition to distinctive fire elements, the new Trex® Outdoor Fire & Water collection features a range of water spillways and water bowls made of premium-grade copper and stainless steel, and expertly engineered to ensure smooth water flow and optimal aesthetics to add beauty and tranquility to any outdoor space.

8.Creative Privacy

Urban outdoor spaces and smaller yards will benefit from big imaginations and clever innovations in 2020. Inspired by home improvement TV and magazines, look for design-savvy, yet space-constrained, homeowners to employ inventive uses of screening, fencing, all-weather curtains, and lattice to maximize area and privacy in creative ways.

9.Bonus Space

If you have a raised deck, there is undoubtedly some open space underneath. While, historically, this space has been used for storage, the design trend for 2020 is to turn it into bonus living space by installing a deck drainage system. Designed to divert water away from a deck, systems such as Trex® RainEscape® create dry space beneath an elevated deck that can be outfitted with everything from furniture and accessories to lighting fixtures, ceiling fans and entertainment components. This deck feature allows homeowners to maximize their space and provides convenient cover from the sun and rain.

10.Year-Round Retreats

As outdoor living continues to gain popularity across all regions, homeowners are becoming more willing to invest in elements that will extend the use of their outdoor spaces past sunset and past the traditional outdoor living season. Deck lighting incorporated into railings, post caps and stairs can increase safety and ambience while also extending the time that homeowners can spend outdoors. Pergolas, patio umbrellas and misters offer respite and refreshment on hot, sunny days. When temperatures drop, heating features, cozy throws and protective screens can provide welcome warmth and allow for use and enjoyment of an outdoor space all year long.

For more outdoor living ideas and inspiration, visit https://www.trex.com/deck-ideas. For more information about high-performance, low-maintenance Trex products, go to www.trex.com.

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About Trex Company

Trex Company is the world’s largest manufacturer of high performance wood-alternative decking and railing, with more than 25 years of product experience. Stocked in more than 6,700 retail locations worldwide, Trex outdoor living products offer a wide range of style options with fewer ongoing maintenance requirements than wood, as well as an environmentally responsible choice. For more information, visit trex.com. You also can follow Trex on Twitter (@Trex_Company), Instagram (@trexcompany) Pinterest (trexcompany), or Houzz (trex-company-inc), “like” Trex on Facebook, or view product and demonstration videos on the brand’s YouTube channel (TheTrexCo).

About Trex Licensed Products

  • Trex®Outdoor Furniture products are manufactured and sold by Poly-Wood LLC, under a Trademark License Agreement with Trex Company, Inc.
  • Trex® Outdoor Kitchens products are manufactured and sold by CT Acquisitions LLC., under a Trademark License Agreement with Trex Company, Inc.
  • Trex® Outdoor Fire & Water products are manufactured by Custom Molded Products LLC, under a Trademark License Agreement with Trex Company, Inc.
  • Trex® LatticeWorks is manufactured and sold by Rhea Products, Inc. d/b/a Acurio Latticeworks, under a Trademark License Agreement with Trex Company, Inc.
  • Trex® RainEscape® products are manufactured and sold by Dri-Deck Enterprises, LLC under a Trademark License Agreement with Trex Company, Inc.
  • Trex® Pergola products are manufactured and sold by Structureworks Fabrication under a Trademark License Agreement with Trex Company, Inc.

All product warranties are provided by the respective manufacturers.

Contact: Lindsey Lucenta or Sara Tatay
L.C. Williams & Associates
800/837-7123 or 312/565-3900
llucenta@lcwa.com or statay@lcwa.com

Feeney, Inc. Partners with NADRA to Promote Deck Safety

OAKLAND, Calif. – May 13, 2020 Feeney, Inc., a leading manufacturer of high quality stainless steel and aluminum railing systems, has teamed up with NADRA (North American Deck and Railing Association) to promote deck safety during Deck Safety Month®.

Presented each May by NADRA, Deck Safety Month® is focused on raising awareness of deck safety for building industry professionals and homeowners. According to NADRA, an estimated 30 million of the more than 60 million residential and commercial decks located in the U.S. have exceeded their useful life and are in need of repair or replacement. 

And those numbers have significant consequences. During a single four-year period, more than 220,000 people nationwide were injured while on their deck or porch. Approximately 15 percent of those injuries resulted from a structural failure or collapse, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. 

“As outdoor living grows in popularity, it has become even more important to make sure outdoor structures such as decks are properly built and maintained,” said Andrew Toimil, chief product officer for Feeney, Inc. “Over the years, decks are exposed to sun, rain, snow and extreme temperature changes. Regularly inspecting them will help to ensure they remain strong and safe, providing valuable peace of mind for homeowners.”

Most experts agree that wood decks have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. After that point, even routinely sealed decks become more susceptible to wood rot and other potential hazards that can compromise their safety. In addition, structural elements can contribute to deck failure, including incorrectly flashed ledger board, dropped or heaved deck footings, rusty or missing metal connectors, and insufficient railings. To help ensure long-term success in a deck project, it is important that decks are properly constructed, including using proper blocking to reduce bounce and provide structural integrity, along with strong, weather-resistant fasteners.

NADRA has developed checklists and safety awareness information for consumers to ensure they have the information required to thoroughly evaluate their decks. Consumers can also learn about deck safety considerations in How Safe is Your Deck? Four Warning Signs You Should Know About

Feeney is a Deck Safety Ambassador and longstanding supporter of NADRA, which has created campaigns and educational programs, along with certifications for building industry professionals to promote proper deck installation practices. Feeney also offers online technical resources developed to provide deck professionals with in-depth railing specifications and installation information.

For more about Deck Safety Month®, visit www.nadra.org/deck-safety

About Feeney
Feeney, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of high quality architectural products that enhance the spaces where people live, work and play. Feeney residential and commercial products for exterior and interior applications include CableRail stainless steel cable assemblies, Quick-Connect® auto-locking cable fittings, DesignRail® aluminum railing systems with optional LED lighting, DesignRail® Panel Infill, stainless steel Architectural Rods, Awning Kits and the Trellis Collection of garden trellises. Since 1948, Oakland, California-based Feeney has been committed to providing construction professionals and DIY homeowners with innovative, easy-to-use products and unsurpassed service. For more information or the location of a dealer near you, please visit www.feeneyinc.com.


How “The Floor is Lava” and other adventures in the office have improved business relationships  during the pandemic.

By: Heather A. Marchand

Are you working harder than ever? I don’t know about you, but I am. 

I’ve got 4 new co-workers at my home office. They are loud, they are demanding, they interrupt my meetings, they run around my desk yelling at me that “the floor is lava!”, they are all under the age of 7. And you know what? My colleagues and industry friends love it. 

It makes me human. And we can all relate to being human. Am I right?

The demands of work and family life are HARD. Let’s all be real with each other for a moment. Here are the expectations of our current circumstances: 

  1. Work 50 hours a week. Check.
  2. Disinfect the house. Check.
  3. Homeschool. Check. 
  4. Go on a nature walk. Check. 
  5. Cook for your family. Check. 
  6. Maintain Sanity. Check. 
  7. Don’t consume too much alcohol. Check. 
  8. Don’t mess up your relationship. Check. 
  9. Look half decent for zoom meetings. Check. 
  10. Sanitize groceries. Check. 

Ok. So I lied about #2, #4, and absolutely, hands down, I lied about #7. Oh, and #10 is not happening. 

I was in a zoom meeting last week. 4 attendees. It went something like this:

Attendee #1: Sounds like a dog howling in the background. Turns out it was his 3 year old. He smiled, excused himself and returned with his son on his lap. 

Attendee #3: Dog went bonkers as the mailman delivered the mail. 

Attendee #4 (me): Dog barked, 2 of the 4 kids were yelling outside my office window. 3rd kid was banging on the door to come inside. Husband didn’t realize I was on a conference call and exclaimed he was losing his mind. 

I’m not making this up. 

This is our world right now. And you know what? We all smiled. We laughed. We appreciated the realness of this experience. This is our life, and it is a beautiful, wonderful mess. 

You can choose to focus on the negative. Or you can embrace your circumstances and make the best of it. 

I choose to embrace it. I have had the BEST conversations with members over the last several weeks. We are taking time to reach out. To connect. To share stories and experiences. It’s not rocket science. It’s just life. And we have found a way to connect to one another, let our guard down and just be freakin human. 

Be proud of your accomplishments. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Don’t pretend you have everything together. You don’t… and chances are, you’ll make the person on the other end of the line feel better if you admit it. 

There is a time for professionalism and the realness of this lockdown & social distancing doesn’t omit the professional aspect of business… but it will bring you closer to your audience. 

You’re doing a fantastic job. I see your posts. I see your hard work. I see you marching on and doing the best you can. You’re going to come out of this stronger than you were before this all happened. You’re redefining your work experience for your employees. Some of you are finding ways to re-open while now allowing employees to work from home more. You’ve discovered that productivity has improved. You’re expanding your online meetings, saving money by limiting travel, moving monies to online initiatives. Contractors are figuring out how to get bids done via FaceTime and technology. You’re working smarter with your local home inspector. Home inspectors are learning to inspect from a distance using photos, videos and live video conference calls. This is a big deal, guys! Look at what you are accomplishing! 

We promised you a few marketing graphics this week that you can add to your arsenal. You’re welcome to customize, add your own logo, copy it – own it. It’s yours. Register here to access the graphics. They are free and yours to use however you would like, even if it’s just to inspire you to create new content for your social channels.

In my next issue, I plan to start sharing some marketing tools and resources for you to utilize. I’ll be talking about the tools I have come to love and cannot wait to share them with you! 

If you’re a marketing pro, or have something to share with our members, feel free to write to me at Heather@NADRA.org. We would love to share your story and tips with our audience. 

Wishing you plenty of sunshine,

Heather

NADRA Rocks!

Heather A. Marchand
Director of National Programs & Marketing
Direct: 215.317.2018
www.NADRA.org 

PS: If you'd like to connect with me, you can find me on Instagram at @SunshineandSaltwaterMom. I look forward to following you back! 

Here Comes the 2021! A Look at the Latest Deck Codes

It’s not even printed yet! Find out first with NADRA. 

Here is the 2021 residential deck and railing codes summary by Glenn Mathewson

The 2021 edition of the International Residential Code is officially complete and ready for printing.  Through member contributions, NADRA was able to participate in the code development process last year and work with others to further develop minimum standards and basic prescriptive design methods for common, residential deck construction.  

On the NADRA blog, we provided updates throughout the process, with specific details and discussions about the technical merits of each of our proposals.  (You can click HERE to view all of the code updates from 2019 and 2020). We also shared our concerns of proposals by others.  That work has closed now for this new edition, so here’s the final, approved story of what’s coming in the next IRC…summarized, just for you..  

Though many building authorities are only now adopting the 2018 as the local standard, the new 2021 prescriptive design provisions are a well-proven alternative that can be approved by building authorities and utilized as soon as published.

Table Updates: 

The pre-engineered design tables have been completely overhauled in a number of ways:

  • All the structural components can now be prescriptively sized for more than just a 40 psf live load, with the addition of 50, 60, and 70 psf snow loads in the design tables.
  • Previously, the smallest tributary area of deck to size a footing from was 20 square feet, leaving something as small as a stair landing at a minimum 14-inch diameter for each corner post.  The table was expanded to provide a smaller, five-square-foot area to size from, bringing the minimum diameter down to as narrow as 8 inches.
  • The post sizing table was greatly expanded.  Where previously inflexible and without recognition of any load or post species, a 4×4 post was limited to an ultimate 8-foot height.  Now allowing for variables such as snow load, species, and tributary area of deck supported, the table can much more accurately size support posts.  The common 4×4 post can now, under certain circumstances, extend as high as 14 feet.
  • The beam design table was modified to include single ply beams in all of the species in the table, including redwood and cedar.  Single ply beams are useful for lighter loads and shorter spans, but also eliminate the decay potential from water trapped between two or more beam plies.  
  • The joist span table was reorganized completely to better present the variables of joist span and joist cantilever.  
  • The one-fourth-the-backspan rule for joist cantilevers has been replaced with a maximum allowable cantilever for each common joist span length.  This change provides for much better flexibility in design and more accuracy in the minimum sizes and spans.

Guards: 

For decades, guards and handrails have been combined together in the specifications for minimum load resistance, though each one supports people in different ways.  The minimum live load table now separates these features, primarily so the loading direction of guards could be independently evaluated.  While handrails, the graspable rail beside stairs, are meant to support us and must resist forces in all directions; guards that wrap around our deck are only meant to keep us from falling outward, off the edge.  Currently, they both must resist loads “in all directions”, and with the focus on testing guards to a 500 lb load resulting in some robust connections, it was fair to expect that such connections wouldn’t be necessary for an inward load.  Guards should not be expected to resist this large force pulling inward or upward, and under the 2021 they will no longer.  However, guard construction should also see some bad practices eliminated under a few other new provisions.

The new IRC will be the first I-code to provide any guidance on guard construction other than the load target and the geometry.  Though guards function foremost as a safety feature, they are regarded daily as an architectural feature.  The market for deck guard design is enormous and the American consumer is trained to demand the variety.  This makes prescriptive guard design a very difficult and controversial subject to address.  However, notched 4×4 guard posts have been notoriously attached to rim joists or beams with anything from lag screws to nails and with little validity in their performance beyond a small shove soon after construction.  Time and tragedy has taught us that these guards don’t work, so the first step was prohibiting the notching of 4×4 guard posts at the connection point.  The connection is also required to extend back into the framing in some manner to eliminate the issue of guards that pull a rim joist off the ends of the joists or a guard that rotates a single side joist.  A handful of new sections read a little more like guidance than definitive code requirements, but this was purposeful.  Any new restrictions or limitations on guard design must be done carefully and with broad consideration.  A proposal for a new appendix chapter (an optional part of the code that can be adopted as mandatory or used simply for guidance) with specific details for wood guard post connection was not approved;even this subtlety in an appendix is too concerning to put in a regulatory document.

The other NADRA-supported proposals that were approved at the first hearing last year can be read about in detail at the NADRA blog, as well as various proposals from others that were not approved.  While this process is now closed, it has already begun again.  The 2021 IBC, ISPSC, and IWUIC that were finalized last year and are already ready to be modified again.  These codes address decks at commercial buildings, swimming pools, and wildland fire locations and proposals for their continued development are due on January 11, 2021.  Got an opinion about those codes as they relate to decks?  We’d like to hear it.

To help NADRA continue our work in the code arena, please consider contributing to our code fundraising initiative. Click here to learn more and to support our efforts.


MoistureShield Raises Safety Awareness with North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) for Deck Safety Month® in May 2020

MoistureShield partners with NADRA as a Safety Ambassador to create awareness for Deck Safety Month® and encourages homeowners to ensure their deck is safe before planning family activities.

At a time when safety has never been more important for deck builders and their customers,MoistureShield is partnering with NADRA as a Safety Ambassador to create awareness for Deck Safety Month® in May 2020. NADRA devotes this month each year to remind homeowners to Check Your Deck® before planning family activities.

“With more than 60 million decks in the U.S., we estimate that 30 million decks are past their useful life and need repair or replacement,” said Michael Beaudry, executive vice president of NADRA.

These are strong reasons why NADRA and MoistureShield encourage homeowners to call on a professional inspector to inspect their decks if they have any concerns. Here are some basic red flags to look for:

  • Check for any deck board movement that may attribute to instability.
  • Examine decks for sagging, racking, or unsecured boards that may indicate loose fasteners.
  • Check the gap between ledger and joist–a widened gap may indicate that bolts need tightening.
  • Look for raised or corroded fasteners which may compromise the integrity of the deck structurally and on the surface, present a trip hazard or danger to bare feet.

“As part of Oldcastle APG, MoistureShield leads with safety first, in all aspects of how we go to market,” said Matthew Bruce, VP of Sales, MoistureShield. “Deck safety extends beyond just our products. Ensuring we support deck building best practices in the field is integral to our success, and the safety of our consumers.”

MoistureShield also has inherent safety features in many of its products. To keep homeowners safer, MoistureShield’s innovative CoolDeck® Technology reduces deck surface temperatures by up to 35% as a solution for decks or docks in direct sunlight. MoistureShield decking features superior slip resistance among composite options, offering homeowners great traction regardless of weather or proximity to water.

NADRA’s free “10-Point Consumer Safety Checklist” and additional safety awareness information can be found at http://www.nadra.org/deck-safety. Learn more about MoistureShield composite decking at http://www.MoistureShield.com.

About Oldcastle APG
North America’s largest manufacturer of outdoor living products, is part of CRH’s Building Products division. MoistureShield, a division of Oldcastle APG, proudly manufactures composite deck boards and related products, serving a range of retail and distribution customers across North America and several international markets. The development of new technologies and patents has enabled MoistureShield to manufacture superior composite products from recycled wood fiber and recycled polyethylene plastic. Learn more at http://www.MoistureShield.com.

About NADRA:
The North American Decking and Railing Association is the voice of the decking industry, representing the interests of deck builders, inspectors, and manufacturers alike. NADRA’s mission is to provide a unified source for the professional development, promotion, growth, and sustenance of the deck and railing building industry in North America so that members can exceed the expectations of their customers. http://www.NADRA.org

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CAMO® Supports NADRA’s Deck Safety Month® in May and Helps Contractors Build a Better, Safer Deck

National Nail’s CAMO® deck fastening brand partners with the North American Deck & Railing Association’s (NADRA) Deck Safety Month® in May to look out for worker safety as well as encourage creating decks that are safer for homeowners.

During these unprecedented times, safety is top of mind for both homeowners and contractors. National Nail’s CAMO® deck fastening brand partners with the North American Deck & Railing Association’s (NADRA) Deck Safety Month® in May to look out for worker safety as well as encourage creating decks that are safer for homeowners.

According to Michael Beaudry, NADRA’s executive vice president, “There are more than 60 million decks in the U.S., and it’s estimated that 30 million decks are past their useful life and need to be replaced or repaired.” NADRA’s free “10-Point Consumer Safety Checklist” can be found at http://www.NADRA.org.

The stay-at-home orders in many states are also creating a pent-up desire for outdoor spaces. “Homeowners cannot wait to get outdoors to enjoy their existing or new decks,” said W. Scott Baker, CEO, National Nail. “Deck Safety Month is the perfect opportunity for pros and their customers to evaluate deck safety. We also encourage contractors to stay safe with proper PPE and social distancing as they get back to building.”

Built on innovation, the CAMO Experience offers several products that support safety and smaller crews with one- or two-person installation. Plus, when used in combination, they can help contractors build decks up to 5X faster. CAMO Edge Fastening for square edge boards creates strong connections into the joists as the proprietary screws are driven into the edge of the board on both sides for more stability. The unique CAMO EDGE and EDGEX Clip for grooved boards offer easy installation and are the strongest on the market in lateral movement tests. Both products leave a smooth, fastener-free surface that saves feet from popped screw heads that can also get blazing hot in the sun.

These methods are made even faster by the CAMO DRIVE™ Stand-Up tool, a lightning-fast way to drive them in while on your feet. And, the newest member of the CAMO Innovation family, the CAMO LEVER™, can straighten, lock-in, and align any deck board on any joist with one easy turn, enabling smaller crews to handle bigger jobs.

With CAMO products, homeowners get a safer, more stable deck, while contractors benefit from speedier installations that reduce labor, time and ultimately, jobsite fatigue. Learn more at http://www.camofasteners.com.

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About CAMO:    

CAMO exists to provide the best deck fastening installation experience for hardworking folks who take pride in their work and value their wallet. That’s you. Whether you install decks for a living, offer to help build them with a buddy, or maybe build just one in your lifetime, CAMO products are engineered to save you time and ensure your work looks and performs as you expect it should. CAMO®. The Better Way to Build a Deck.

For more information or to locate a dealer, visit camofasteners.com or call 1-800-968-6245. Be sure to “Like” @camofasteners on Facebook and @camodeckfasteners on Instagram. Search CAMO Fasteners on YouTube to find our channel or check us out on Pinterest.

About NADRA:

The North American Decking and Railing Association is the voice of the decking industry, representing the interests of deck builders, inspectors, and manufacturers alike. NADRA’s mission is to provide a unified source for the professional development, promotion, growth, and sustenance of the deck and railing building industry in North America so that members can exceed the expectations of their customers. http://www.NADRA.org

Montgomery County’s Department of Permitting Services to Celebrate May as ‘Building Safety Month’ with Series of Events Including Free Residential Deck Inspections

Montgomery County’s Department of Permitting Services (DPS) will join in the celebration of the 40th Annual “Building Safety Month” with a series of activities including free inspections of residential decks. The theme of this year’s worldwide safety campaign is “Safer Buildings, Safer Communities, Safer World.”

The theme highlights the importance of building codes for providing a strong and resilient-built environment, and regularly updated codes that ensure that communities are protected in the face of disasters.
Although residents are under restrictions for group gatherings, even in private settings, during the COVID-19 health crisis, it is anticipated that future improving conditions will lead to social gatherings—including those on residential decks. Last year, there were two reported collapses in Montgomery County—making the free DPS deck inspection program even more critical.

Residents can call 311 or 240-777-0311 to find out more information about the deck inspection program and to schedule an appointment.  
“As the new director for Permitting Services, I am excited to highlight on how DPS works to keep our communities safe,” said Mitra Pedoeem. “The DPS ‘Check Your Deck’ program has been a staple of the celebration of Building Safety Month. Even though we are working within the protocols necessitated by the health crisis, DPS will be able to offer residents free deck inspections again this May. We hope many residents take advantage of this program to ensure that their families and guests will be safe.”
This year’s Building Safety Month includes four weekly themes and DPS has webinars planned corresponding to each. The schedule:

  • May 1-10: Disaster Preparedness. DPS will host a webinar on how to make sure structures are safe. This will include a “Check Your Deck” webinar.
  • May 11-17: Water Safety. DPS will emphasize programs that help keep the water and environment clean. There will be a Clean Water webinar.
  • May 18-24: Resiliency. Sustainability. Innovation. DPS will focus on innovations and Green Building codes through a webinar.
  • May 25-31: Training the Next Generation. Students from Thomas Edison High School in Wheaton will be featured in a webinar on how to get young residents involved in building a cleaner and safer future.

For actual times of webinars, visit the DPS web page at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dps/

Building Safety Month will allow DPS to highlight its availability to homeowners and businesses, even during the health crisis. The department continues to perform key inspections, reviews, issuance of certificates and processing of licenses and permits. 

During the health crisis, DPS has been adapting and modifying its business processes to provide a broad range of uninterrupted services to help businesses operate if they were not under restrictions.

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Release ID: 20-233
Media Contact: Jessica Fusillo 240-401-6570

National Deck Safety Month®

As seen in the ASHI Reporter

May is Deck Safety Month® and once again, we’d like to spotlight the partnership that ASHI has with the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA).

ASHI’s relationship with NADRA over the years has helped raise awareness of just how important home inspectors are when reviewing the decks, railings and stairs that are found on more than 80% of homes. NADRA created the first-ever Professional Deck Inspection Certification for ASHI members and its membership now includes more than 800 ASHI inspector members, 250 of whom are NADRA-certified deck inspectors. This important partnership brings the two associations together. Professional ASHI home inspectors who are NADRA–certified Deck Inspectors, can network with fellow NADRA Industry Professional members, who can provide much-needed expertise in deck installation and repairs.

Membership and certification with NADRA allow ASHI members who have completed their deck certifications to specially market their expertise. To showcase that they provide deck safety inspections, they can tap into NADRA resources, including access to the NADRA logo, Deck Safety Ambassador logo and the Check Your Deck® National Program. As a Certified NADRA Deck Inspector, an ASHI member will also receive a personal online profile that can be used to generate leads under the Find an Inspector section of the website.

Deck inspections can be a great way to drive business as a whole by providing a needed service to communities. Having a NADRA certification validates the inspector’s high level of competence. Michael Beaudry, NADRA Founder and Executive Vice President, commented, “A great way for inspectors to increase business is by marketing deck inspections.” 

Marketing your expertise can build revenue and add to your client base. By performing a deck safety inspection for a client, you’re positioning yourself to be their inspector in the future, as they will remember your skills and will call on you when they plan to move to a new home.

Incidentally, with the social distancing that we are experiencing due to the coronavirus pandemic, inspectors can continue to generate income while providing very important deck inspections. By conducting deck inspections, which are done outdoors, you can keep a safe distance from others while keeping your company’s name and reputation at the forefront. By working in your communities during this time, you can differentiate yourself from the competition.

NADRA is on track to achieve its goal of certifying 1,000 ASHI members in deck safety. With 30 or more ASHI members attending each chapter’s NADRA education and certification session, home inspectors affiliated with ASHI chapters are a fast-growing part of NADRA membership.

Beaudry said, “ASHI leaders are extremely serious about moving the inspection profession forward. They drive home the message that education is a key element to having a successful inspection business. That philosophy trickles down to the members, and it creates a community in which ASHI members take their job seriously and are genuinely passionate about learning.”

As a result, he commented, “ASHI members are fantastic students at the NADRA course. They take great notes and they pay attention. You know the class is going well when people are engaged and asking questions, even toward the end of the session.

To make a simple projection of the benefits to the community at large, if the roughly 60 certified inspectors in St. Louis (where NADRA has provided its deck inspection class for the St. Louis Chapter) each perform three deck safety inspections per week during 45 weeks in a year, that could equate to a total of 8,100 decks being inspected in one year alone. In turn, this number increases the corresponding prevention of potential injuries (or worse) due to the types of accidents and injuries that can happen with the use of old and decaying decks. 

Think of the difference we will make as we work together to spread the word on Deck Safety across North America.

ASHI’s new micro-credential: Deck Specialty Inspector

Think you know how to inspect a deck? Think again! 

Both the ASHI and NADRA deck courses will surprise you. After taking one of these courses, you will understand why inspecting decks is more complicated than most inspectors realize. You will never look at a deck in the same way again. Taking a deck inspection course gives you the knowledge you need to inspect decks and identify defects based on objective standards, not just on your opinion. You will learn how to prioritize defects, and how to report defects to your clients so that they can understand and use the valuable information that you provide.

ASHI’s St. Louis Chapter Embraces Deck Safety

The St. Louis chapter was one of the first chapters to offer NADRA’s deck education and certification program, and the chapter has promoted deck safety during two seminars in 2017 and 2019. The first offering was as a bonus day of training in conjunction with a seminar and members paid to take the NADRA course. 

During the second offering, the class was included in the price of the regular seminar and approximately 120 ASHI inspectors attended. Because the St. Louis chapter includes all training in its annual dues, there was no additional cost for members to get this training. 

Those who wanted to get certified or recertify had the option to take the NADRA Deck Inspector Certification test at a reduced price, as the chapter subsidized a portion of the certification and recertification fees. Currently in the St. Louis chapter, approximately one-third of its 175 members are NADRA Certified Deck Inspectors. 

Mark Goodman, who served as the ASHI St. Louis Chapter President from 2018 to 2019, said, “The education we received was eye-opening. Most of our members stated they would never look at a deck the same way after taking the NADRA class taught by Jim Maley with Simpson Strong-Tie. We brought the NADRA class to the St. Louis chapter seminars twice because after taking the eye-opening class, we wanted to make sure all of the chapter’s members were on the same page when inspecting decks.”

The Value of Deck Inspection Education and Certification

Comments from St. Louis Chapter ASHI Certified Inspectors 

Paying attention to the details is vital when inspecting. The points and checklists presented during the certification class reinforced my knowledge of deck components and design. I routinely discuss the importance of regular deck inspections with my local agents, neighborhood groups and building associations.

Earning the deck certification was time well spent. Working together with other organizations to improve consumer awareness and safety benefits the entire inspection profession.

John Wessling, ASHI Certified Inspector, Instructor for The ASHI School and 2014 President of St. Louis ASHI, ASHI Treasurer
Wessling Home Inspection Services, St. Louis, MO, john@wesslinginspections.com

A lot has changed in the past few years regarding deck construction methods. Decks used to be constructed like you would build any other portion of a house. Now that we understand why decks fail, decks are built differently. There used to be very little in the code explicitly relating to decks—that has changed thanks to NADRA’s efforts. Every new deck should be built according to the current best practices (AWC-DC6), soon to be replaced by NADRA’s best practices.

Statistically, handrail failure is the largest source of deck injuries, followed closely by attachment to the building. The most valuable things I learned by taking a NADRA deck inspection class (the gold standard for deck inspections) or the new ASHI deck inspection specialist course were related to the proper attachment of handrails and deck structure to the house. I also learned many nuances, like post sizes, notching of a post and required hardware.

We already encourage homebuyers to choose ASHI Certified Inspectors to perform their home inspections. After taking NADRA’s class twice, I see there is a tremendous market for stand-alone deck inspections. This can be an area that home inspectors use to expand their services and increase their revenue. Having the NADRA certification gives home inspectors a competitive edge. More importantly, it arms you with the tools and knowledge you will need to perform a superior deck inspection and promote deck safety.

Mark Goodman, ASHI Certified Inspector, ASHI Director and St. Louis ASHI Chapter Past-President
Brewer Inspection Services, Manchester, MO, mark@homeinspectstl.com

As the current president of the ASHI St. Louis Chapter and as a longtime member of the Chapter Education Committee, it was an honor and pleasure to have NADRA at our chapter seminars in 2017 and 2019. Mike Beaudry, representing NADRA, and Jim Maley, the main speaker for the presentation, were true professionals who put on a world-class show for our members. The NADRA class and presentation gave our members a new look at how we inspect and report on decks.

I have 23 years as an ASHI inspector, but I really did not pay that much attention to the color of rust when making a call on the integrity of the deck and the structural connections. Each and every one of our inspectors came out of this class with something they never thought of when inspecting a deck. 

We all know how inspectors are very visual; most inspectors get bored with speakers who just read from a textbook or from the slides of their presentation. So what does NADRA do? It shows actual film of deck failures with people on the decks. Everyone in the class kind of sat up straight with their eyes wide open for that. I was guessing that ASHI inspectors were saying to themselves, “I wonder who was the last inspector to inspect that deck?”

There is no ASHI inspector in this country who wants to answer to any family member that was injured (or worse) on any deck
that he or she inspected. 

“Then there was the issue of a test at the end of the class before  receiving your certification. Did I really see inspectors actually taking notes, in this digital age, to ensure that they passed the test? Yes, all our inspectors were on deck (pun intended) for this presentation. Well done, NADRA, and we look forward to having you visit our chapter again in the future. “

Harry Morrell2020 St. Louis ASHI Chapter President
Allied Building Inspections, harry@allied-inspectors.com