NADRA October 2012 National Code Meeting

We were quite pleased by the turnout of professionals that attended the meeting at Deck Expo about the development of the 2015 IRC.  Members from all aspects of our industry sat together while we delivered a message about the upcoming code modification process, the goals, needs and the current status of NADRA in regard to this process.  This was followed by an open format for member to discuss their concerns and ideas and to ask questions.  This meet and greet was a great start to getting the association working together on important code issues that affect us all.

A few points of discussion:

1)   It was brought up by a member that the lateral load anchor detail in the IRC should be a priority of NADRA in the upcoming process.  This code provision has garnered the attention of the entire industry since it’s inclusion in the code.  Builders and code administrators alike are baffled with how to handle this detail in the application of the code.  However, it is not easily removed from the code, as was discovered in the process for the 2012 IRC, where it was proven that logical issues would alone not remove it.  The testing performed by Washington State regarding lateral live loads from deck occupants was discussed as a possible reference for deriving actual lateral loads that need resistance, as opposed to an arbitrary number, now provided in the IRC.  It was strongly agreed that this portion of the IRC needs modification, but equally recognized that research and testing will likely be necessary for the ICC membership to consider any modification proposal.

2)   The need for funding for the work of NADRA in the code change process was discussed, as well as ideas for fundraising.  Builders present were brainstorming ideas for a grass-roots type of support and fundraising that allows builder members to directly support and promote the NADRA code change efforts.  It was recognized that the financial burden couldn’t be put solely on the shoulders of our industry members.  At the same time, industry members still showed their support in the effort.  When industry pros like FastenMaster and Fiberon stand with builders for a common effort in code, you know you’ve got an industry working together.  The Professional Deck Builder, a trade journal, was also there, and offered to help publicize our efforts.

3)   The strategy for growing NADRA’s presence in the ICC modification process was discussed.  It was proposed that NADRA select some low-hanging fruit code modifications that will be an easy win.  This will allow NADRA and NADRA’s representative, Glenn Mathewson, to make a good and positive first impression on the ICC membership and committee during the 2013 process.  The primary efforts will be focused on reviewing, commenting and proposing modification to proposals submitted by others.  The ICC process provides many opportunities to building and modify the code throughout the process, including modification of others proposals.

If you are a NADRA member, or an industry professional, we invite you to join us in the discussion of the future of ICC code provisions that affect deck construction.  Send an email to NADRA Headquarters, at, or to Glenn Mathewson, at

ICC’s Backyard Safety

May 15, 2012 | There’s a lot of information out there on the web about backyard safety, from those aimed at providing “parenting advice” to medical websites aimed at keeping bandages on the shelf.  Another such source is the International Code Council (ICC), the publisher of our nations leading model construction codes. In the big scheme of things, decks are a small part of our built environment.  With ICC providing codes and standards for large commercial complexes, like hotels and retail centers, it’s nice when our industry of backyard decks gets some attention…and not just in new code provisions.  For Building Safety Month, May of every year, ICC is focusing attention on decks and outdoor living…a good sign that our industry is vibrant, growing and important to our culture.

The article behind this link provides a nice call to owners and property managers that decks don’t last forever, or may have been built substandard to begin with.  Too many of our fellow Americans don’t realize the need to regularly maintain and inspect their decks…and that means more than a swipe of a staining rag.  They often dismiss the very real hazards that backyard decks, grills and pools inadvertently create for us.  Public services messages like this, from non-profit organizations, are there for our benefit and our neighbor’s benefit.  Take a read, get ideas, get inspired and share this message.  Just forward the link.


Who Is The ICC?

January 23, 2012 | Last month I had the opportunity to accompany Edward Peterson and Michiel Graswinckel of Element Materials Technology, to Whittier, CA, home of ICC-ES. At first, I felt intimidated and was not quite sure why Edward asked me to join him? Nonetheless, I was curious as to why a person like Mark Johnson, President of ICC-ES, and his senior staff members would be interested in what I had to say.

With this opportunity in front of me, I set out to discover, who is ICC-ES? Do they really care about deck builders such as our NADRA members? Did they know NADRA existed and what we stood for? ICC-ES appears to most of us as this untouchable force behind a curtain, making calls without consideration of the women and men who have their boots on the ground. I was excited to peek behind the curtain and see what really goes on at this place of mystery.

I was shocked to hear that the ICC-ES shares many of the same concerns as we NADRA Members do when it comes to costs and feasibility of code implementation. ICC-ES also shares safety concerns and understands the importance of building sound structures. It was enlightening to hear them speak of cost implications which NADRA members face when new codes are implemented and enforced. People at the ICC-ES office realize; you can have the very best codes in the world but if they are not feasible, nobody will follow them. It was refreshing to hear their perspective, as we sometimes scratch our heads and wonder, “Who thought this code was a good idea?”

With the help of the Edward and Michiel from Element, we had a very productive meeting. Areas of discussion were:
   • ICC-ES and Element working closely in the future to develop a streamlined and cost effective process for deck, rail, and accessory manufactures to acquire an ICC-ES-ESR number.
   • ICC-ES working closely with NADRA on its educational endeavors such as:
      – Kaplan training
      – Deck Expo
      – Certified Deck Builder Program

NADRA will keep you posted as these programs develop. These are exciting times for members of NADRA. The fine people at ICC-ES now understand that NADRA members are the voice for the Deck and Railing industry. ICC-ES is not something to be nervous about but rather our partner in building and growing the future.

Shawn Miller