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 info@nadra.org, or to Glenn Mathewson, at glennmathewson@nadra.org

NADRA Announces Third Annual Nat’l Deck Competition Award Winners

NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Michael Beaudry, Info@NADRA.org, 215.679.4884

NADRA Announces Third Annual National Deck Competition Award Winners – NADRA Builders recognized in National Deck Competition

NADRA hosted their Third Annual National Deck Competition Awards Ceremony at The American Visionary Art Museum on Wednesday, October 10th, 2012. Attendees included NADRA members & guests, NADRA’s National Board of Directors, local Chapter Directors, along with many other industry professionals.

NADRA Builders from across North America were selected by an elite panel of judges. 2012 judges were:

  • Glenn Mathewson, NADRA Technical Advisor
  • Rick Schumacher, Publisher of LBM Journal
  • Shawn Miller, NADRA’s Immediate Past President
  • Steve Van Kouteren, Principia

The entries were judged on: creativity, use of space and functionality, use of materials & overall visual appeal. The competition was open to NADRA Builder members from across the U.S.  & Canada.

“Just like last year…it was very, very tough. From reading the descriptions that accompany the entries, it’s clear that these NADRA members put a tremendous amount of planning and thought into each project. Very, very impressive! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. There are a lot of Associations that serve the residential construction industry, but few if any can match NADRA’s energy, passion and commitment. It’s a great thing to be a part of.”  ~Rick Schumacher, LBM Journal

There were 8 categories for the 2012 National Deck Competition with the 9th being the overall best deck of 2012. Congratulations to all of the winners.

2012 Best Dock:

  • 1st Place: Jon Witt, Witt’s Woods & Greens, Fenlon Falls, Canada

2012 Best Illumination:

  • 1st Place: Sean McConnell, Valhalla Custom Decks, NJ
  • 2nd Place: Bill Lecorchick, Heritgae Deck Design & Construction, NJ
  • 3rd Place (Tie): John Paulin, Tailor Deck, GA & Gustavo de la cruz, Barrett Contracting, NJ

2012 Best Unique Feature:

  • 1st Place: Bill Lecorchick, Heritgae Deck Design & Construction, NJ
  • 2nd Place: Jamie Turrentine, Southwest Fence & Deck Inc , TX
  • 3rd Place: Sean McAleer, DeckRemodelers.com , NJ

2012 Best Covered Deck:

  • 1st Place: Rick Goldstein, Mosaic Group, Inc., GA
  • 2nd Place: John Paulin, Tailor Decks, GA
  • 3rd Place: Rick Goldstein, Mosaic Group, Inc., GA

2012 Best Alternative Deck Under 500sf:

  • 1st Place: John Lea – DeckSouth, GA
  • 2nd Place: Frank Pologruto, Decks & More, Inc., GA
  • 3rd Place: (Tie) Justus Lambros, Signature Decks, LLC, OH & Chris McCabe, NRC Corp, MA

2012 Best Alternative Deck Over 500sf:

  • 1st Place: Barry Street, Rolling Ridge Deck Co Inc., CO
  • 2nd Place: Ben Shelly, Paradisiac, Ontario
  • 3rd Place: (Tie) Gustavo de la Cruz – Barrett Contracting, NJ & Bill Lecorchick – Heritage Deck Design & Construction, NJ

2012 Best Wood Deck Under 500sf:

  • 1st Place: John Paulin, Tailor Decks, GA
  • 2nd Place: Frank Pologruto, Decks & More, Inc., GA
  • 3rd Place (Tie): John Lea – DeckSouth, GA

2012 Best Wood Deck Over 500sf:

  • 1st Place: Sean McAleer, DeckRemodelers.com , NJ
  • 2nd Place: Sean McAleer, DeckRemodelers.com , NJ
  • 3rd Place: Louis Pagnutti, Decks Unique, Inc., NY

Best Deck of 2012: Barry Street, Rolling Ridge Deck Co Inc, CO

Send Us Your Local Codes

July 10, 2012 | Quality products take time and effort to produce.  They take research, preparations and planning.  One such quality product on the horizon for NADRA is a “NADRA Deck Construction Standard”, or some sort of similar title.  With so much information available online for deck construction, it’s hard to know what sources are legitimate and reputable.  There’s quite a mix of opinions online and in practice.  As the nation’s only association for professionals in the deck and railing industry, maybe we should work to produce a new standard…a NADRA standard.  Together, our membership spans the entire industry and can provide the best foundation for our country to build the next generation of decks on.  It’s going to take knowledge from all parts of the industry to truly represent the industry.  We have that knowledge.

To develop a NADRA standard we need to compare our practices to the various local deck construction requirements across our nation and be sure we’re ahead.  The International Residential Code is often amended locally before adoption.  Double this with the difficulty of relating many IRC provisions to deck construction, and you’ve got little “standard” to work from.  To soften this issue, many local building departments have developed their own guides for deck construction.  We need to review them.  Being in the “research” stage of this lofty goal, your association needs your help.  Send us a link or pdf to any and all local deck construction guides you can find.  We need to have the opportunity to see what other ideas there are in our nation about deck construction minimum standards long before we create our own.

We need to do our homework.

Members…send us your local standards and guides so we can start to prepare. Email Info@NADRA.org

Glenn Mathewson

Technical Advisor

NADRA Produces Check Your Deck® Video Campaign

New NADRA Video Educates Consumers about Deck Safety Month®

May 15, 2012 – Quakertown, PA | in 2006 NADRA, The North American Deck and Railing Association declared May as Deck Safety Month®. NADRA’s Deck safety program is an effort to save lives and prevent injuries.

After 6 years of promoting May as Deck Safety Month®, the association decided on a new method of reaching the masses this year. The new video was produced using images and text to drive a strong message to consumers about NADRA’s Check Your Deck® evaluation forms and the 10-point checklist. The video can be found on NADRA’s website at www.NADRA.org. The association posted the video to their YouTube channel found under NADRAYT and to their Social Media fan pages.

Michael Beaudry, Executive VP of NADRA states, “Our number one priority to the public is to ensure that the decks they and their families enjoy are safe. NADRA takes this responsibility seriously, and has created campaigns and education programs and certifications for home inspectors, code officials, engineers, architects, builders, distributors, lumberyards and manufacturers to improve proper installation practices along with checklists and safety awareness information for consumers to follow.”

The video can be used in making the consumer aware of the necessity of choosing a professional deck contractor, providing regular maintenance and inspection, and knowing the limits of the deck structure.

Continue reading “NADRA Produces Check Your Deck® Video Campaign”

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.

http://www.iccsafe.org/safety/Pages/Backyard.aspx

 

Thanks To The Membership

May 8, 2012 | The NADRA Education Event in Pennsylvania earlier this month was a joy to lead.  Teaching codes and deck construction is always a good time for me, regardless of my audience. However, hanging out with our members this month is even better.

I want to personally thank all the builder members that attended. I thoroughly enjoyed your taking part in the education and making it your own. The questions, comments and ideas, the networking and camaraderie at lunch and after class, and the humor and lightheartedness of the two days with my association were great. I was excited to meet new members, as well as visit with those I have meet before. Without builder members like you, there would be no NADRA. However without manufacturer members, there would be no NADRA Education.

Putting together a live education event is no easy undertaking, so I’ve also got to thank Legacy Services for their dedication to managing NADRA and coordinating the event. The following NADRA member companies deserve your thanks and recognition for their support of the event. Without their sponsorship, the cost of classes would be…well…cost prohibitive. Next time you see these member company’s representatives, thank them for their support. It’s going to take all professionals of the decking industry working together and doing their part to make this association continue to be a success. Thank your fellow builders for attending the education and encourage other’s to attend the next one. Pay attention to those that help support the efforts of NADRA and give them your support when you can.

“Thank You” to the following sponsors of the PA education event:
Fiberon
TimberTech
Fortress
Wolmanized Outdoor Wood
NyloDeck
Techno Metal Post

-Glenn Mathewson

What’s Your Story?

April 24, 2012 | No happy thoughts for me this week about harmony in the codes for all.  I want the worst of it, your worst story about codes, inspectors, permits and the like.  Come on, take me down; knock me out.  You know I used to be an inspector…now I just review your plans and decide how long it takes you to get a permit, he, he, he.*  Give me your rant!

*[Cynical, diabolical laugh]

All kidding aside, I want to hear about how things are going for you with codes and their enforcement in your area, and not just the bad stuff.  I’d like to hear your good experiences too and if you’re working well with your building department.  Give me your pulse of how the building code industry is affecting your business.  Help me understand where it is I can help NADRA…and help you.

“I had an inspector require me to pull a nail out of a hanger to verify if it was the correct nail.  Nope…it was a short hanger nail used in a double joist hanger.  The manufacturer called for 3-inch nails.  The inspector was correct, but in the big scheme of things, the load limits for the hanger’s correct installation was ten fold what I used it for.  It was a double joist used as a nailer for a change in decking direction.  It wasn’t going anywhere as it stood, but alas, it had the wrong nails, and it cost me the inspection that day.  Always kept the hardware catalog and instructions with me after that.”

-Glenn

What does it mean to me to be an advisor to NADRA?

April 23, 2012 | It means I am here to help.  I am here to share insight into a different industry, the building code industry.  The code industry is going through some growing pains.  The electric code, energy and green codes, and fire sprinkler mandate, for example, have created some worry amongst professionals.  The IRC for residential keeps growing larger, while the IBC for commercial is referring more to other costly standards…

But I’m already boring you…  Decks are your business, not codes.

I would agree it’s not your worry, if we were back in 2006, or if you’re working under the 06 IRC.  That was before decks and codes really collided.  The code industry is way ahead of you though and decks are plenty included.  In nine month…NINE MONTHS…the deadlines for the 2015 IRC are due…alas…here I go again on a code rant…

It means I am here to stay ahead of the codes for you, or at least in front.  It means I can be your representative in the code industry.  I can listen to your current experiences and concerns about the industry.  It also means I can help connect the membership in an informed and sensible compromise of ideals such that the industry can flourish together…ahhh…

To do this we need to connect.  Find me on LinkedIn or Twitter, find my messages in the weekly newsletter, visit the blog page, or send me an email.  Help me work on your behalf and not my guess of it.  I can’t advise or represent the association in the code industry if I’m not connected to the membership.

Hey! I only said “code” eleven times.  Not bad.

-Glenn

 

Lateral Load Language Lesson: 2012 IRC

April 23, 2012 | A subtle change in the 2012 IRC makes the application of the lateral load anchor connection figure more understandable.  Under the 2009 IRC, Section R502.2.2.3 confused some readers by its statement that the lateral load figure, “shall be permitted”, only to later state that “devices shall be installed in not less than two locations”.  The first statement is clear that the connection is merely allowed by code, but not permitted.  However the latter seems to require the use of two or more.

In the 2012 IRC the original intent of the language was clarified, with clear direction. It is only when the connection detail is voluntarily chosen that there must be at least two devices installed.  It is merely a design option.

Overall, this is a good win for the industry.  Success is had when the language of the code can be made clearer.  The more consistently the code is interpreted, the more of a “standard” it can be.

-Glenn

Keeping Your Deck in Check

March 12, 2012 | Decks are a great “value add” for residents, but property managers face plenty of risks—including having a deck collapse—if their deck isn’t regularly inspected and maintained. It’s happening more frequently than many property managers and homeowners realize. Between 2003 and 2007, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 224,740 injuries caused by outdoor decks and porches. “What’s happening across this country is an epidemic at this point,” says Michael Beaudry, executive vice president of the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA), adding that “in most cases if a deck fails, it’s a matter of neglect.”

The Ledger Connection

Common deck failures include a stair collapsing or a railing giving way. Of all the parts of a deck, “the most notoriously overlooked has been the ledger connection,” says Glenn Mathewson, a former deck builder and technical advisor to NADRA and International Code Council-certified Master Code Professional. The ledger connection is the board that connects the deck to a home or property, which can rot away, causing the deck to completely collapse. But, adds Mathewson, “poor construction and a lack of standards for construction is a large contributor to the problem.”

Not maintaining and regularly inspecting the deck, especially the ledger, puts your deck at risk for a collapse—and puts your occupants at risk for injury. “The lack of maintenance and the lack of knowledge of poor condition of the materials would be a due-diligence risk,” Mathewson says. “It would be like allowing the paint to peel off a house, but with much more drastic results.”

Continue reading “Keeping Your Deck in Check”