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  ????
Thanks,
David Lombardo

Recap of 2013 Group B Committee Action Hearing

Recap of 2013 Group B Committee Action Hearing (Dallas, TX) 

Last week the IRC code hearings were held in Dallas, TX. NADRA’s Technical Advisor, Glenn Mathewson represented the association on numerous proposals. This work is just beginning & your support is NEEDED on key issues that WILL effect your businesses and will effect this industry.  Your support is encouraged so these efforts can continue on behalf of the membership and industry the association serves. NADRA Headquarters and the entire board would like to personally thank Glenn Mathewson for his time and efforts at these hearings.

Recap of 2013 Group B Committee Action Hearing (Dallas) – By NADRA Technical Advisor, Glenn Mathewson:

Take Action: Now that the ICC Committee Action Hearings are over, be sure to follow the link about the public comment hearings. The first recap of an approved proposal is a good example of WHY we need your support so we can continue to be heard at these hearings! 

Here is a recap of proposed changes due to NADRA’s efforts at the hearings: 

On Monday,  April 22nd, the proposals to the pool and spa code were heard.  SP47-13 was disapproved.  Here was the proposal: “Walking surfaces of decks within 4 feet of a pool or spa that are not equivalent in the strength, durability and slip resistance of the surface of a concrete deck shall be prohibited.  Wooden walking surfaces and carpeted walking surfaces shall not be placed within 4 feet of a pool.”
RB143-13, proposing to return to measuring the height of a deck at the very edge of the deck (for determining if guards are required) was defeated with the help of NADRA.  Our professionals stood by the actual hazard and the current code that requires that height to be measured at a point three feet horizontally from the deck edge.  We know where our customers will hit the ground if they fall, and it is not directly at the edge of the deck.  With integrity for our industry and an understanding of the actual determination of hazard, we stood, we spoke and we were heard.”

RB145-13 proposing to eliminate the requirement to measure guard height from a fixed bench seat was approved.  This requirement in the 2009 and 2012 IRC effectively put an end to bench seating.  While some with small children may prefer not to have a bench against guards, the majority of our membership believe that is an individual choice, not a minimum standard.  The architectural liberties of our customers are one step closer to returning to them.  Other professional associations had helpful testimony to this goal, but our intimate perspective of how this affected our industry came only from us.  This approval supports a balance between minimum design and safety, the latter of which can always be improved by the personal choice of the homeowner or builder.”


RB75-13 proposed that all decks, detached or attached, ground level or upper level, regardless of materials, would be prohibited from being less than five feet from property lines to prohibit fire spread.  NADRA stood and shared the reality that many noncombustible decking and framing materials are available.  We explained that low level decks have different dynamics of fire spread than upper level decks.  We described how this proposal would unnecessarily put the decking market at an unfair disadvantage to patio pavers and flagstone for ground level decks.  The committee heard our sole voice on these concerns and unanimously disapproved the proposal.  NADRA made it clear that work is needed to figure out how decks contribute to fire spread and how to regulate it in the code, but not to do it without us in the conversation.  We plan to work with these proponents during the public comment period so we can get this issue figured out the right way.”


RB74-13 proposed some serious consequences to the decking industry regarding placement of stairs.  While well intentioned for other purposes, it was dangerously flawed.  Imagine a deck connecting between a house and a detached garage.  This proposal would have prohibited any stairs within five feet of the garage.  Huh?  No wide steps from house to garage on one side of the deck, even for a few steps to the backyard.  NADRA stood against this proposal and the committee unanimously agreed and disapproved the proposal.”


“NADRA’S proposal, RB58-13, for replacing all use of the term “guardrails” for the IRC defined term “guard” has been approved as submitted unanimously by the committee.  This simple change secures architectural freedom for guards, and that they don’t have to have a “rail”.  On with the custom work of kitchens counters, planters, benches or whatever other feature that can be built to the requirements of a guard.”


 “RB6-13 was approved.  The size limit of 200sf for requiring a permit on low level decks was approved.  This will allow more under bid decks to be built poorly, putting our professionals (who build right regardless of permits) at an unfair disadvantage.  I encourage our members to support a public comment to disapprove this at final action.”

Stay Ahead of The Change; 2015 Codes Underway Now

The time has come again for us to be a part of our future…for you to be a part of your future.  The International Code Council released the proposed changes to the 2012 International Residential Code (IRC) on March 11th.  The ideas contained in these proposals come from professionals and non-professionals from all corners of the construction industry and from all over the nation and result in the 2015 IRC.  Now is the time for the decking industry to review these ideas and see how they affect our industry, both positive and negative.

 

In only a handful of weeks, I will be in Dallas at the ICC Committee action hearings representing NADRA to speak in opposition or support for any proposals that affect our industry.  The hearings run from April 20th to 31st, where over 2,000 individual proposed changes will be discussed.

 

The decisions made from now until this Fall will be those that determine what code will be published in 2015 and what you will be working under in 2016 and beyond.  NADRA needs your help reviewing these proposals to determine which ones matter to us and our opinion of them.  Please follow the link found HERE to ICC’s website and choose a PDF to download and begin reviewing.  Please keep us informed of your efforts and opinions in the next few weeks, as official NADRA positions on proposals need to be determined well before the hearings.  We need your opinions to know our position.  Now is the time, and there’s not much of it.

 

On behalf of the NADRA leadership and membership and most certainly on behalf of myself, I look forward to working together to create our future.

 

Thank you,

 

Glenn Mathewson

NADRA Technical Advisor

Code Proposal – Thumbs Up? Thumbs Down?

The Fairfax Group is a group that attended a meeting a few weeks ago in Fairfax, VA to work together on deck code proposal that originated in Fairfax. Those in attendance were the AWC, NAHB, CLMA, NADRA, VBCOA, CCICC, Simpson Strong Tie and others. The group also had a conference call-in from Dr. Don Bender. The group is looking for support from organizations and associations throughout the industry for the proposed code suggestions found HERE.
This started as an eleven page document. With NADRA’s involvement in this committee, and the efforts of Glenn Mathewson, NADRA’s Technical Advisor, the proposed changes now consist of the 3 pages – again, found HERE.
Please provide your “Thumbs Up” or “Thumbs Down” by Wednesday, 12/19/12 at 2pm EST.
The original 11 pages can be found here on the NADRA Blog, just scroll down.NADRA has until tomorrow to decide if we want to endorse this proposal with our name on it.  If not, we can always continue to work on it during the hearings next year as modification can occur throughout the process.  A thumbs down that comes with a reason “why” is helpful, as we can address the “why” during the hearings. Please post your feedback in this feed.

Thank you,

NADRA HQ & Glenn Mathewson, Technical Advisor