NADRA Code Update

May 8th, 2019

Notes from NADRA’s Code Committee Chair, Mark Guthrie:

Building codes are always going to play a critical part in the safety, growth and public perception of our industry.  NADRA recognizes this and has been dedicating an increasing amount of time and resources to better understanding and shaping the codes that we all must build to and live by.   A big part of this is our preparation and attendance at the ICC Code Hearings.

Last week, I attended the hearings along with our Technical Advisor Glenn Mathewson.  We spoke on behalf of NADRA, both “for” and “against” code proposals that have the potential to impact our future. In most cases, we were able to gain the support of the voting committee on the codes that we felt best represented the position of NADRA – safer decks built to reasonable, fact-based standards of construction.  

Other than the individual code items that we spoke to, the biggest win in my mind was that NADRA came away from this meeting as a more recognized and respected voice in a room full of the most influential and credentialed building industry professionals.  Glenn was well prepared to state our case supported by facts and passion on our behalf and it was recognized.

What follows are Glenn’s notes on the meetings.  It’s a great rundown of what we can look forward to in future codes and how to shape it with your help.  It’s well worth the read.

Update from Glenn Mathewson:

Last week, I had the honor of attending and speaking on behalf of NADRA at the International Code Council Committee Action Hearing for the creation of the 2021 International Residential Code.  

These hearings ran from 8am to 7pm, with every code topic imaginable being scrutinized, debated and voted on throughout the week.  Deck-specific proposals were scattered between more general ones. Keep in mind that many features inside a home, like stairs for instance, are also an important part of decks.  However, many proponents of change don’t necessarily realize how their proposals may impact our industry. I was there to consider and react to these, ready to defend the interests of our membership while still focusing on the deck related changes we had prepared for.

The code hearing process can be a little confusing but worth a quick explanation.  A volunteer committee of varied professionals at this stage considered testimony for and against the more than 300 modification proposals.   Their majority vote for approval or disapproval then set in motion the next phase where the public can submit changes to these proposals. All proposals that receive a public comment for modification will be deliberated again in the Final Action Hearings in October like last week’s meeting.  However, this time the final vote will be made by governmental ICC members made up mostly of local code officials from around the country.

There is still more work that needs to be done whether you agreed or disagreed with the votes taken last week.  A modification to a proposal that was approved by the committee only now requires a majority vote to become 2021 code.  To turn over a committee disapproval takes a 2/3rd majority. So, if you don’t agree with the committees vote this time, you better submit a public comment to help sway sentiment at the final hearings.  

Here is a rundown of the more significant deck-related proposals and what the committee felt about them:

RB46 & RB47 were the work of many in trying to separate guards and handrails into their own rows in the minimum live load table, and to better identify the loading direction that must be resisted.  Currently both must resist loads in all possible directions. Argument was delivered that a guard is for fall protection off an elevated floor surface and thus should not be required to be designed to support the same loads pulling back in toward the deck as those pushing out over the edge.  The committee disagreed and this one was a half win. Handrails and guards were split on the table, but the loading direction was unchanged. This is still a good first step that will allow future work to better identify the loads they must each resist.

RB50 was a serious proposal suggesting that all decks be built to a minimum 60 psf live load, rather than the current 40 psf.  However, to achieve this, the proposal required a using the 70 psf snow load tables in a different proposal by NADRA and the Deck Code Coalition (DCC).  Luckily, after much deliberation, the committee decided this was not appropriate and the proposal was disapproved. After the decision, I reached out to the proponent and invited them to discuss their concerns in deck live loads with us.  There are many with ideas and experience in decks and they cannot be dismissed. NADRA stands by collaboration as the only way to appropriately develop the future codes of our industry.

RB106 suggested a strict method of constructing stairs, including stringer cuts, spans and spacing, securing to a concrete landing, and details for connecting the stairs at the top.  The proposal is not a surprise, as the absence structural code provisions for how to build stairs is well known. However, the suggestions in RB106 just didn’t represent very much flexibility and needed more work.  We spoke against this proposal and it was disapproved.

There were many other proposals with minor impacts that we spoke to in support and opposition, and in nearly all cases the committee voted in the manner we had hoped.  On the last full day of testimony, the proposals that NADRA and the DCC have spent months developing were heard.

RB184 was our largest proposal and offered new design tables for sizing deck structural members.  The new tables expanded the current 40 psf live load to 50, 60 and 70 psf snow loads options.  This would allow many more regions to use the prescriptive design method in the IRC. This proposal also included critical alterations to the footing table, such as reducing the minimum 14-inch diameter pier currently in the IRC to as small as 8-inch diameter for small decks and stair landings.  It also expanded the post-sizing table to include the actual area of the deck supported and various wood species. Unfortunately, some last minute engineering tweaks had to be made to the table that was submitted and the committee didn’t feel they had sufficient time to review them. They disapproved it.  Luckily, there were no negative statements made in committee discussions and no opposition testimony. The committee encouraged us to submit the revisions as public comment so they can be thoroughly reviewed. Other attendees at the hearing, not affiliated with the DCC, stood and spoke in favor of our proposal.  There is still hope for a strong vote of approval in the Final Action Hearings.

RB185 was the most collaborated proposal of all from the DCC, as it was related to guard post installation.  Working with the many parties in the DCC, there have always been very differing opinions about how specific guard construction should be detailed in the IRC.  After much argument, disagreement, and sharing of knowledge, the members of the DCC were able to respect each other and all agree on a minimum proposal to make a step forward in safer guard construction.  We agreed to prohibit the notching of 4×4 posts and to include code language requiring a post to be secured into the adjacent framing of the deck, not just the single rim board. However, no specific hardware was specified, keeping the code generic and flexible.  The committee congratulated us a number of times for the professional manner in which we worked together. The proposal was approved.

RB187 was a pretty simple proposal to make better sense of various deck foundation types, minimum depths, and frost depth exceptions.  With the committee approval of this proposal, the code will be better presented. One clarification made was that decks attached to non-frost-protected structures, such as detached garages or sheds, will not have to themselves be frost protected.

RB190 is a proposal that makes beam design for decks much more flexible.  The current table in the IRC for sizing beams is based on the span of the joist supported by the beam, but it assumes those joists are at their maximum allowable cantilever beyond the beam.  For decks with flush beams and no cantilevered joists, the maximum beam span is incredibly conservative. We proposed a footnote modification method that will allow the table to be more flexible and alter the values based on the lesser amount of cantilever.  The example used in the proposal showed how a beam without cantilevered joists was still being limited to a maximum 7 foot 4 inches, but with our new footnote modification would actually be able to span 9 feet. The committee agreed that this was a much-needed flexibility to the table and approved our proposal.

RB 191 is a proposal based in truth, though it may not be something deck builders will be thrilled about.  None-the-less, our reputation as contributors to the code development process must remain grounded in what is most appropriate for the industry.  The maximum joists spacing of different thicknesses of wood decking is derived from an analysis method that assumes each board is spanning at least two joist bays, bearing on three joists.  This is not currently explained in the code. The provisions we proposed maintained the maximum joists spacing for decking supported on at least three joists, but reduced the maximum spacing for decking supported by only two joists.  For these short lengths, the maximum joist spacing will be approximately half. Revealing this oversight in the code maintains a high level of professionalism in our industry, yet also allowed us to craft the code in a manner that provides more assurance for sound construction, while also allowing for design freedom..

RB302 was our final proposal and it was related to the guard design collaboration.  To address concerns of building departments that have no way to approve simple, basic guard designs while not hindering the professional builders from unique guard designs, a new appendix chapter was proposed.  IRC appendix chapters must be adopted individually by a jurisdiction and are not automatically part of the mandatory code. Where not adopted, they can still be referenced as an approved manner for construction.  The proposal included specific methods for attaching guard posts that have been engineered to support the 200 lb. required design load. Assuming the committee would agree that guards don’t need to support a 200 lb. inward load, that load was not specifically addressed.  Unfortunately, that assumption was incorrect, and the committee did not approve the appendix proposal.

Overall, the contributions of NADRA and the DCC were an overwhelming success.  Our voice was heard, respected, and made a difference. It’s a voice that we can’t allow to ever go silent.  The IRC will be modified every three years, as will the IBC and the swimming pool and spa code (ISPSC), both of which have implications on decks.  There will always be a need for the deck industry to stand and speak. We have made a great impression, but there is still much work to be done to complete the 2021 IRC.

Congratulations to us all on this success,

Glenn Mathewson, MCP – NADRA Technical Advisor.

NADRA Code Update

ICC Committee Action Hearings, Group B Codes – Albuquerque, 2019:

May 2nd, 2019 Update – By: Glenn Mathewson

Deep into the IRC Committee Action Hearings. So far the deck industry has been well represented by The North American Deck and Railing Association and our friends in the Deck Code Coalition.

Preview of our accomplishments as the voice for our industry:

  • Guard and handrail load requirements were approved to be split into two columns which sets the stag to better evaluate the unique job they each do.
  • Raising the minimum design live load for decks from 40 psf to 60 psf was disapproved.

This is just the beginning of the process though, as public comments and the Final Action hearing can still change everything, MUCH work is still to be done. Please consider making a pledge today to help NADRA continue to have representation at these critical hearings. Learn more about our fundraising initiative HERE.

Today will be another long 11-hour day of testimony, but I’m proud to be here speaking on behalf of NADRA and for all those that work in decks and rails!

NADRA Code Challenge

April 11th, 2019: By Judy Verblaauw

The Challenge is on! Let’s Go NADRA Members!!! 

During the last Southeast regional meeting, Glenn Mathewson spoke about the code changes that have been proposed and what it could mean for our industry.  At the Northeast regional meeting, Bruce Verblaauw discussed the same things.  After these meetings, Decks by Kiefer, a NADRA Builder member from New Jersey, decided to challenge all other members to meet or beat his contribution of $500 to the code initiative

All contributors will receive the official 2019 NADRA “Power of One” Ambassador logo for their marketing use & will receive a shoutout on the official fundraising page.

Special thank you to the following NADRA members for contributing: 

  • NADRA Builder Member, Southeastern Underdeck Systems, LLC
  • NADRA Builder Member, C. Verblaauw & Sons, LLC
  • NADRA Builder Member, Deck and Basement Company
  • NADRA Builder Member, O’Keefe Built, Inc. 
  • NADRA Builder Member, Titan Building Products
  • NADRA Builder Member, Back to Nature Decks
  • NADRA Builder Member, Casey Fence and Deck
  • NADRA Distributor Member, Excelsior Lumber
  • NADRA Manufacturer Member, HDG Engineered Products
  • NADRA Manufacturer Member, TREX
  • NADRA Builder Member, Decks by Kiefer
  • NADRA Builder Member, DeckRemodelers.com

Stand up and help support NADRA’s efforts.  Click here to learn more and add your “2 cents” to this great cause. On this page, you will also see links for all official code updates from Glenn Mathewson.

The proposals for the creation of the 2021 IRC have been released for review and can be viewed HERE

NADRA Code Update

March, 2019

The Deck Future in the Making, By Glenn Mathewson

Professionals are now planning and strategizing their proponent and opponent testimonies for delivery at the Committee Action Hearing in Albuquerque the first week of May.  NADRA will be proudly supporting nine proposals that came together through the effort and contribution of many professionals and organizations from a variety of backgrounds, and are thus the kind of ideas that NADRA was proud to cosponsor.  For a building code to honestly and respectfully represent a civilization, the whole civilization should be invited to their creation.

NADRA invites all those with interest in deck codes to share and contribute together with us and those we work with. We strongly believe that is path to the most appropriate, minimum standard.

Here are your 2021 IRC deck-related code proposals and a simple summary:

RB50-19: Increase minimum design load for decks from 40 psf to 60 psf.  This is the proposal the decking industry must pay the greatest attention to.  It raises the minimum required design load from 40 psf, as it has been for all of time, to 60 psf.  Whether you agree with this or not, the proposal did not include any new prescriptive design tables to accommodate the increase.  Rather, they added a footnote that the 70 PSF SNOW LOAD table must be used. Ironically…this table does not yet exist. It only exists in the DCC/NADRA proposal that offers expanded design tables for regions with greater snow loads, such as 50, 60 & 70 psf.

Our proposal was intended to allow the IRC to be used for design in the few pockets of the country with large snow loads.  RB50-19 takes the largest of those snow loads AND APPLIES IT TO THE ENTIRE COUNTRY.  Florida would be building decks as they are built in the Rocky Mountains.  Denver would be building decks equivalent to the live load combined with the snow load.  When is the last time you had people shoulder to shoulder on a deck with multiple feet of snow?

The second proposal that appears to have the greatest impact on the decking industry is RB106-19.  This proposals offers new prescriptive requirements for deck stair construction, including the minimum remaining cut of stringers, number of stringers, securing and bearing area, and maximum span of stringers.  The remaining proposals certainly need our review and I believe can certainly use our contribution, whether in support or in opposition—with included constructive criticism.

These remaining proposals have some effect on the decking industry, and should be reviewed by the industry.  I will be providing my recommendations to NADRA, but now is the time for YOU to speak up. Do you support these proposals? …Do you not?  Are you going to do anything with that opinion?…Or will you not?

RB20-19:  New definition for a “porch” including specifics regarding its separation from the dwelling and conditioning of the space.

RB59-19:  Requirement to extend the fire-resistance rated wall that separates townhomes to a height of 8 feet above a rooftop deck.

RB97-19:  New limitations and requirements for emergency escape and rescue opening covers.

  • Could prohibit extension and termination of window wells up to deck levels
  • Requires cover to remain open upon opening
  • Limits weight of cover to 25 lb.

RB99-19: Requires the minimum 36-inch high path under a deck from an escape opening to now also be a minimum of 36 inches wide.

RB105-19 & 106-19:  Clarifies that only stairs and ramps connected to a building, porch, or deck must comply with code.

RB112-19: Reduces the maximum stair rise from 7 ¾ inches to 7 inches and increases the minimum tread depth from 10 inches to 11 inches.

RB113-19:  Allows an exterior stair landing that is also critical to water drainage to slope up to 1:48 from the previous ¼:48 limit.

RB114-19:  Allows a continuous handrail to be interrupted or offset by up to 6 inches and still be considered continuous.

RB116-19: Removes all provisions regarding stairway geometry and references an NFPA document for the requirements.

RB118-19: Removes reference to “walking surfaces” for required guards and replaces with the term “floors”

RB119-19: Requires ALL guards to be a minimum of 36 inches high.  Currently only “required” guards must be this high.

RB136-19: Removes the provision that requires the building official to determine if local experience demonstrates a need for decay resistances of deck framing and replaces it with a direct requirement for decay resistance where the deck is not protected from the weather.

RB192-19: Expands the allowable band joist material for ledger connections from specific species to any code-compliant engineered wood rim board.

If you are in the decking industry, we need your help.  The ideas are being discussed and the rules are being made.  You shouldn’t stand on the sidelines any longer. We need you in the game. There are two ways you can help in a big way:

1. Offer your monetary support: To contribute to the fundraising initiative, follow this link here to see what our goal and how the funds are being used to keep this effort moving forward.

2. Offer your time: To volunteer time, please email Info@NADRA.org and we will work with you and the code committee to see how we can best utilize your skills – most likely, helping to review the proposals in March.

The proposals for the creation of the 2021 IRC have been released for review and can be viewed HERE.

Successful Southeast NADRA Meeting

The Springtime NADRA event was an overwhelming success. Held at Six Bridges Brewing in Johns Creek, Georgia, some 50-60 industry professionals gathered for a great Monday night kickoff into what promises to be an exciting year for everyone. It was great seeing so many familiar faces all in one place, and encouraging to see a handful of first-time attendees!

Our guest speaker was Glenn Mathewson, who generously gave of his time to share with us the importance of staying engaged with the ever-changing deck code. Afterwards, he made himself available to anyone who had questions or concerns, providing great insight from an insider’s perspective on the goings-on in code development.

We were thrilled to see such a good turnout, and are excited to get together again soon!

I’m was so excited to be the guest speaker for the Southeast NADRA meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. My job was to get these deck professionals pumped up for my representation of the decking industry this year for the development of the 2021 IRC. Your voices are critical to development of the codes of their industry, and you need to know your value in safeguarding the public with the most appropriate and economical standards to preserve safety and American freedom. I’m so proud to carry your voice this year. There is incredible knowledge from the trenches that must be included in code development.

We spoke a bit about NADRA education and the code fundraising initiative. 

Special thank you to the following NADRA members for contributing to the 2019 Code Initiative:

  • NADRA Builder Member, Southeastern Underdeck Systems, LLC
  • NADRA Builder Member, C. Verblaauw & Sons, LLC
  • NADRA Builder Member, Deck and Basement Company
  • NADRA Builder Member, O’Keefe Built, Inc. 
  • NADRA Builder Member, Titan Building Products
  • NADRA Builder Member, Back to Nature Decks
  • NADRA Builder Member, Casey Fence and Deck
  • NADRA Distributor Member, Excelsior Lumber
  • NADRA Manufacturer Member, HDG Engineered Products
  • NADRA Manufacturer Members, TREX
  • NADRA Builder Members, Decks by Kiefer
  • NADRA Builder Member, DeckRemodelers.com

To learn more about NADRA’s initiative in code, or to make a contribution today, please visit the fundraising and updates page HERE.

NADRA Code Update

February 2019

By Glenn Mathewson

Thanks to the support of NADRA members we have shared our knowledge with others in the campfire discussions regarding deck code proposals for the 2021 International Residential Code.  There were 9 proposals submitted with our assistance and approval. The Deck Code Coalition is an informal group of generous professionals from a variety of backgrounds. Led by the steadfast efforts of Mr. Charles Banjai, a now retired code official and long-time contributor to code development, NADRA was able to work with these professionals toward well-developed deck codes.   While some disagreement remains and some is yet to be decided, it appears the majority of these proposals have broad support. Here is a brief rundown of what was submitted.

  1. Decking spans for single-span and two-span conditions.
  2. Ledger, joist, and beam design tables up to 50, 60 & 70 psf snow loads.
  3. Beam cantilever wording corrected.  Mostly clerical.
  4. Relocation of footing depth and frost protection provisions.  Mostly clerical, so interpretation can be more consistent and understood.
  5. Separates guards and handrails on the load table so future, more appropriate, minimum design loads can be determined for each independently.
  6. Provisions requiring guard post attachment to be secured to adjacent members in the deck framing.  Sets minimum guard post at 4×4 and with no notches permitted.
  7. Clarifies that multi-ply beams must be fastened together.
  8. An adjustment factor to allow longer beam spans when the joists do not cantilever beyond the beam and for various distances of cantilever.  This will allow more flexible use of the beam span table.
  9. Add an appendix for guard post connection details and for future provisions regarding specific deck designs.

While this milestone in the code development process is exciting, it’s just the beginning.  Anyone can submit a proposal and there are plenty of people interested in decks. Here are the next steps:

  1. On March 4th ICC will publish all of the proposed changes.  Previous years leave expectations at well over a thousand pages of proposals to review for deck-related provisions.  
  2. Once identified, the membership will need to decide. What’s good, what needs work, what is dangerous?
  3. Research and communication with others follows.  
  4. Then reaching out to the proponents of topics of concern to share and discuss, in hopes that agreement and compromise for better code can be achieved before the hearing.  
  5. Before the Albuquerque hearings this May, testimony has to be prepared in hope as the winning words for the committee.
  6. After these preparations, the hearing will commence and it will end, and the committee results will be published.  
  7. Next, all the research and networking will happen again as public comments are prepared and submitted.
  8. This is only to be followed by all the public comments being published and the review of all the surprises will begin again.
  9. Finally, all will conclude at the final hearings in October 2019.

If you are in the decking industry, we need your help.  The ideas are being discussed and the rules are being made.  You shouldn’t stand on the sidelines any longer. We need you in the game. There are two ways you can help in a big way.

1. Offer your time: To volunteer time, please email Info@NADRA.org and we will work with you and the code committee to see how we can best utilize your skills – most likely, helping to review the proposals in March.

2. Offer your monetary support: To contribute to the fundraising initiative, follow this link here to see what our goal and how the funds are being used to keep this effort moving forward. 

NADRA attends American Society of Civil Engineer’s (ASCE) Live and Dead Load Subcommittee meeting

By Glenn Mathewson

Another public comment was also presented, one that could have a major impact on decking.

How to build guards has never been provided for in the code, and even the loads that guards must resist have been pretty fuzzy throughout code history.  Those target loads have come into some pretty serious question now that so much testing is being conducted to assure guard posts will meet a 500 lb or greater load.  The current code requires the top of a guard and handrail to resist a 200 lb. load in any direction. Any direction means upward and inward, two directions that have nothing to do with a guard’s purpose, fall protection from an elevated surface.  They do relate to a handrail’s purpose, to brace a fall in any direction and to assist in ascending or descending stairs or ramps.

The ASTM testing standards for composite rails and the ICC Evaluation Services acceptance criteria for other manufactured guards don’t exactly match the code, and the loads are questioned in all.  This problem is well understood, yet meanwhile, proponents have been only narrowly defeated in the last two code modification cycles in their attempts to have prescriptive ands specific guard post connection details included in the IRC.  It is the opinion of many others that the target loading and the direction of loading needs to be reevaluated and set more appropriately, before methods to meet the loads are solidified in code. That was the reason I, taking NADRA’s voice, attended the American Society of Civil Engineer’s (ASCE) Live and Dead Load Subcommittee meeting on November 7th, 2018.

The ASCE 7 standard is the nation’s go-to for establishing the minimum design loads for structures of all sorts.  It’s generally the basis for the loads in the I-codes. So rather than attempt this change for guard loading at the ICC level, we went one level further in.  The ASCE meeting was to review proposals and ideas for the next 2022 version of the ASCE 7 and proposals they are planning for the 2021 IBC development next year.  The National Home Builders’ Association (NAHB), a friend to NADRA, led the charge with public comment proposals to the ASCE committee requesting guards and handrails be separated and their minimum loads and load directions be individually determined.  While a handrail does need to resist a load in any direction, a guard does not. I spoke at the meeting in favor of the NAHB public comment and provided history of guard and handrails loads going back to the 1970. Over those years, guard and handrail minimum design loads were quite varied.  On the west coast, under the Uniform Building Code, only a 20 lb. horizontal load applied 90 degrees to the guard, but on the east coast, under the Standard Building Code, it was 200 lb. in any direction. From the 70’s to 2000 IRC, guards underwent a lot of changes regarding design load, but still at that time guards weren’t tested by any more than a push from the inspector.  Guards and handrail loads were combined, then separated, but then in later years combined again.

The history and the companion testimony at the meeting helped show the ASCE committee that indeed today’s design loads in the code and the ASCE standard are due for reevaluation.  Before building the house of new deck codes, let’s make sure we have a good foundation. Alongside NADRA and the NAHB, the Stair Manufacturers’ Association and the Composite Lumber Manufacturers’ Association also provided insight into this much-needed reevaluation.  The ASCE Committee agreed and affirmed a motion to work with the NAHB further on this issue. This was a great step in the right direction.

Though we attended the meeting for the guard discussion, there was more to learn.  Code and standard proposals and recommendations can come from anyone. Being present and available to learn of those other proposals and to quickly respond is a very important part of representing an industry in code.

Another public comment was also presented, one that could have a major impact on decking.  Stair treads are required to resist the familiar 40 psf live load that a deck surface must resist, but they also must resist a concentrated load of 300 lb. over a 4-square-inch area.  This has to do with the impact from the balls of your feet while rapidly descending stairs. It has been in the codes for all stair treads since 1979. You may be familiar with composite decking stair tread span limitations.  Due to this additional concentrated load, most composite decking has reduced allowable spans when used as stair treads. 16-inch on center joists for the deck, often have to be reduced to 12 inch or less on the stairs. A surprise proposal we were not expecting was to require the same stair tread concentrated load throughout the deck.  Changing the minimum loading requirements, means re-proving that decking can meet the new loads, including the lumber decking spans brought into the code in 2015. If these changes were made, they would need to be with good justification and industry-wide evaluation.

The proponent argument for this proposal was in response to impact from stepping off ladders and known cases of deck board failure.   What wasn’t shared is how many instances? How old was the decking? What was the condition? These were all questions posed by others in the room, as it is becoming well known that well-intended reactions to anecdotal instances have shaped a lot of recent codes.  The very quick question I, we, NADRA, asked was why decks are being singled out and not all floor systems? If this is a human impact load on a floor surface, then what distinguishes the hazard between the floor inside the house and the deck? Why would the decking industry be singled out?  Do we not use ladders inside the home? There was no solid answer to these questions and an affirmative motion to shelf the proposal and request more information and reason statements from the proponent.

Our efforts at this meeting have helped already to steer the future, but the winds are strong and the journey long. We need your support to stay involved in this critical work.

California balcony/deck/ porch inspection law

“Now 15 percent of the load-bearing, exterior elements on apartment buildings and complexes with three or more units must be inspected every six years. Elements that must be inspected include balconies, decks, porches, stairs, walkways and entryways.”

By: Keith Burbank

POSTED: SEP 17 2018 10:19PM PDT

Gov. Brown signs balcony inspection law following deadly Berkeley collapse

By Bay City News Service, read the original story here.

Gov. Jerry Brown today signed a bill requiring inspections of apartment balconies, decks, outdoor stairs and elevated walkways to hopefully avoid deaths from collapses like the one in Berkeley in 2015.

At a birthday party in June 2015, six young people died when a fifth-story balcony collapsed, according to the office of state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, who co-authored the bill, Senate Bill 721.

An investigation revealed the balcony had been poorly sealed and became infested with dry rot and the builder had a history of lawsuits related to construction defects, Hill’s office said.

Now 15 percent of the load-bearing, exterior elements on apartment buildings and complexes with three or more units must be inspected every six years. 

Elements that must be inspected include balconies, decks, porches, stairs, walkways and entryways.

Those elements must be inspected if they extend beyond the building’s exterior walls and are six or more feet above the ground and get stability and support from wood or wood-based products. 

State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, was the other author of the bill. 

Read the bill here

379 Niagara Frontier Building Officials participate in Deck Construction class

“Simpson Strong-Tie was honored to be invited by the Niagara Frontier Building Officials to speak at their annual conference on January 23rd.  Doug Stercho (Simpson Strong-Tie Territory Manager), Chuck Frisicaro (Simpson Strong-Tie Sr. Dealer Rep for Western NY) and Jim Mailey (Simpson Strong-Tie Technical Training Manager and NADRA Structural Advisor & Educator) all had a major part in the success of this program.

The subject was on Deck Construction and the class was 6 hours long.  There were 379 people in attendance and the class was primarily made up of code officials from the Niagara Frontier region.  Although, there were numerous comments in the beginning about a class that is 6 hours in length on decks, those same people were amazed at how much was covered, how much there is to know about deck construction and how quickly the time seemed to pass.  At the end there were a lot of people requesting more information and asking if there are other classes on deck construction that they could attend.  The NADRA Deck Evaluation checklist, the best document currently available for assessing new and existing decks, was a big hit along with some of the other literature provided.”

Reminder to all Handrail and Guard Manufacturers

Reminder to all handrail and guard manufacturers, in June 2017 ICC-ES approved significant revisions to AC273, Acceptance Criteria for Handrails and Guards.  NADRA recommends if you have an evaluation or code report for your product in accordance with this acceptance criteria you should contact the agency providing the report on how these changes will affect you.

In addition, due to these changes in AC 273, your Code Committee is interested in your input for discussing possible similar updates to AC174.

If you have feedback and information on your positions please send into: info@nadra.org where it will be forwarded to the NADRA Code Committee.