Code Question from a NADRA Builder

The below inquiry came in from a NADRA Maryland Deck Builder. With permission from Dave, we opted to post this publicly so we could accept replies from fellow members and industry leaders. Please reply in the comments section. There will be an approval process, so give us a day or two to post your comments. Thank you!
  1. What does code require in regards to wood rail post attachment……outside of RB61-13
  2. Why are some jurisdictions mandating the Simpson or USP bracket…..???
  3. What is testing results of 2 thru bolts and blocking??
  4. Can the  “FRANK”  VT  testing be published or accessible for use by all jurisdictions or is it only for sale to those who benefit????  Seems to be yet another PRIME example of how code is more a for profit industry and not for the public good
  5. Why are we being forced to spend on average $200.+ on hardware and 3 hours of time + to install this crap when EVERYONE BUT code officials and testers know that 2 bolts and proper blocking would meet the  code requirements of RB61-13  ????
David Lombardo

2 thoughts on “Code Question from a NADRA Builder”

  1. I’m happy to answer your questions, Dave, and thanks for asking them. Your reference to RB61-13 tells me you are looking over the work underway to develop the 2015 IRC. RB61 is not a current code provision; it is a proposal to include a deflection limit for guard assemblies in the 2015 IRC. More information about this proposal can be read HERE

    The IRC doesn’t provide any guidance for deck guards other than how much load they must resist and their geometric requirements (the 4” sphere rule, and such). The reason you are seeing the hold-down devices being required on guards is largely due to the American Wood Council’s document Design for Code Acceptance #6 (DCA6). This publication was released a number of years ago to fill in the blanks where the IRC was silent on deck design and construction…guards being one of those blanks. You can download the DCA6 HERE

    The DCA6 detail for hold-downs are based on testing conducted by Dr. Woeste at Virginia tech, where single posts were tested, not complete guards. You can read about this testing HERE. Building officials that are uncomfortable with the notorious practice of accepting deck designs without validation are quick to default to the clout of the AWC, and thus require the DCA6 as the “deck code” for their jurisdiction. Unfortunately…that’s what happens when the code is silent…and there’s only a whisper regarding decks in the IRC right now. Local jurisdictions have to do what it takes to regulate deck construction on their own. While that whisper of IRC deck code may sound quite frightful when looking at lateral load provisions…it’s nothing compared to what else is on the table for 2015. Requiring up to two hold-down brackets on every guard post is what you will find proposed in RB268-13. Take a look at the proposal directly on the ICC document at this LINK. NADRA is working with the proponents of RB268-13 for common ground, prior to the hearings. Ultimately, we will be speaking against hold-downs on guard posts.

    As far as testing other guard post connection methods, like bolts and blocks, I’d love to see it happen. Better, I’d like to see a complete guard assembly tested. Research like that comes with a price tag, and most folks making that purchase want something in return. Funding for that kind of research has to come with no strings attached. NADRA, as the non-profit organization that represents the decking industry, is the right buyer, but it takes the collective efforts and contributions of all the members. Researchers from VT and WSU have recently formed a consortium for deck research with funding coming from a “pay to play” approach. It’s a $20,000 annual price tag for a seat in the consortium and the privilege of guiding the research.

    Dave…I dream every night of a grass-roots movement from builders like you to raise funds for research motivated only by the quest for knowledge. Your future is your return on the investment.

  2. Hi Dave and Glenn,

    We are having the same problems here with the railings plus the are saying the laterial load connectors must be installed. They are stating that this is “code” in the 2012 IRC. I have talked to the cities/counties and notified them that it wasn’t and they disagreed. So off season, I will be sitting down with the building officials and going over the 2012/2009 IRC on the off season. As for now, I have to deal with it because I don’t have the time to get involved. I hope everything is going well!!

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