Simpson Strong-Tie Promotes Deck Safety Month® with an Updated Online Deck Resource Center for Contractors and Homeowners

Pleasanton, Calif. — Simpson Strong-Tie, the leader in engineered structural connectors and building solutions, today announced a comprehensive update to its online deck resource center in conjunction with Deck Safety Month.

Presented each May by the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA), Deck Safety Month is dedicated to raising deck safety awareness for contractors and homeowners. According to NADRA, of the 50 million decks in the US alone, it’s estimated that 25 million currently need to be replaced or repaired.

In addition to Deck Safety Month resources available at nadra.org, the Simpson Strong-Tie® Deck Center is an online resource that provides deck builders and consumers with in-depth deck safety information, an idea and inspiration page for building safe decks, as well as a selection of videos, online and in-person training opportunities, literature, and industry tips for safe deck construction.

With most wood decks expected to last only 10 to 15 years, contractors and homeowners can also explore the 5 Warning Signs of an Unsafe Deck. Rotting wood, missing hardware, and other hazards can all contribute to unsafe conditions, and Deck Safety Month presents an ideal opportunity to conduct simple deck inspections that can head off problems before failures occur.

Visitors to the Simpson Strong-Tie Deck Center can also get installation details and feature and benefit information for a wide range of deck connectors, fasteners and construction solutions offered by Simpson Strong-Tie, including the complete line of Outdoor Accents®decorative hardware.

For more information about deck safety, including best practices for designing, inspecting, and repairing great decks, visit the Simpson Strong-Tie Deck Center, watch our newest video featuring “6 Warning Signs of Unsafe Decks,” and read our deck safety posts on the Simpson Strong-Tie Building Strong blog.

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 Provides Deck Safety Marketing Resources to Help the Industry Boost Business this Spring

Contact: Michael Beaudry
Phone: 215-679-4884
Email: Info@NADRA.org

In honor of Deck Safety Month®, the North American Decking and Railing Association reminds professionals to take advantage of exclusive Deck Safety Marketing Resources along with press release templates, graphics, ads, social media content, flyers, and more.

Quakertown, PA  (May 1st, 2019) – With more than 50 million decks in the U.S., it is estimated that 25 million decks are past their useful life and need to be replaced or repaired. This means big business opportunities for deck builders, remodelers, inspectors and contractors to promote deck inspections, ensuring homeowner safety while simultaneously building their own brand. The North American Decking and Railing Association (NADRA) offers industry professionals and inspectors a breadth of resources, including a comprehensive toolkit, marketing materials, and inspection checklists.

“May is Deck Safety Month®-along with prime outdoor living season-and that presents a perfect chance for savvy pros to market their business,” says NADRA executive vice president Michael Beaudry. “NADRA has created an array of tools to help you take advantage of this marketing opportunity. Whatever you do-even if it means simply rechecking your own deck-be sure to pay special attention to deck safety”

NADRA offers the following resources for building professionals & inspector members to leverage during Deck Safety Month® and throughout the year, including:

  • Deck Safety Month® Toolkit. This NADRA-member benefits include:
    • Deck Safety Month® Logo
    • Check Your Deck® Logo
    • 2019 Deck Safety Ambassador Logo (for official ambassadors only) learn more here about the ambassador program
    • 10-point consumer checklist
    • Link to online deck inspection form
    • Social media content for your use
    • Customizable press release templates
    • Customizable flyer all about deck safety
    • Customizable social media, infographics, and web graphics
    • Tips and guidelines to make the most out of Deck Safety Month®
  • Deck Evaluation Form: A step-by-step guide to evaluating the integrity of the deck structure, stairs, surface, and railings. A downloadable form and online form (BETA) are available to members and non-members.
  • Certified inspector program: NADRA has partnered with the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) to create the NADRA Deck Inspection Certification Course, an ASHI-approved continuing education program. Having certification can not only improve a contractor’s skill-set, but make them more marketable to consumers.
  • Deck Safety Ambassadors: Help spread the word about deck safety by becoming a Deck Safety Ambassador. Sponsors gain access to an exclusive Ambassador logo and marketing benefits to further promote their businesses.
  • Homeowner resources: Builders can download the 10-Point Deck Safety Consumer Checklist to pass along to customers. Though not a replacement for a professional deck inspection, the checklist can assist homeowners and provide reference during other times of the year.

“Communicating safe decking standards remains a top priority for NADRA,” Beaudry says. “We continue to focus our efforts on educating both pros and consumers on proper deck installation practices as well as on consistent deck inspections. At the same time, we know that deck safety offers professionals in the industry a great opportunity to market their business, so we’ve provided all of the tools to help them do just that.”

Visit NADRA.org to access all of NADRA’s Deck Safety resources for industry  professionals. *You must be a current NADRA member to access the “toolkit”. Join NADRA today.

About NADRA:

The North American Decking and Railing Association is the voice of the decking industry, representing the interests of deck builders, inspectors, and manufacturers alike. NADRA’s mission is to provide a unified source for the professional development, promotion, growth, and sustenance of the deck and railing building industry in North America so that members can exceed the expectations of their customers. www.NADRA.org

© Copyright 2019 North American Deck and Railing Association. All rights reserved.

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May is Deck Safety Month®

Contact: Michael Beaudry
Phone: 215-679-4884
Email: Info@NADRA.org

Love Spending Time Outdoors? NADRA Encourages you to Check Your Deck®

During Deck Safety Month® and throughout the year, homeowners can take advantage of resources and tools from the North American Decking and Railing Association to ensure the security and longevity of their decks.

Quakertown, PA –  (April 30th, 2019) –  May is Deck Safety Month ® , the perfect time for homeowners to ensure their decks are in top condition for the season ahead. The North American Decking and Railing Association (NADRA) invites consumers to Check Your Deck ®  using resources such as the 10-Point Consumer Checklist.

With more than 50 million decks in the U.S., it is estimated that 25 million decks are past their useful life and need to be replaced or repaired. “It’s crucial for homeowners to verify the integrity of their deck to ensure user safety as well as help extend the deck’s life-span, improve appearance, and increase livability,” says Michael Beaudry, executive vice president of NADRA. “We’re proud to offer an array of tools to help consumers check their decks as well as connect with building professionals with the know-how to identify and remedy potential problems.”

Consumers can visit NADRA.org to take advantage of resources to Check Your Deck ® , including:

10-Point Checklist: Homeowners can download the 10-Point Deck Safety Consumer Checklist , a step-by-step guide to visually inspecting the deck for safety concerns such as corroding fasteners, decaying materials, loose railings, inadequate lighting, and more. Though not a replacement for a professional deck inspection, the checklist is a helpful tool to assist homeowners.

Find an Inspector: NADRA and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) offer building professionals the NADRA Deck Inspection Certification Course, which certifies the recipient has undergone training specific to conducting proper, thorough deck inspections. Consumers can search for a certified inspector in their area by browsing the Inspectors Directory here.

Find a Builder: NADRA deck builders adhere to a strict code of ethics and are required to submit proof of licensing and insurance as required by their state. Homeowners can search for qualified deck builders at www.NADRA.org.

Visit NADRA.org to access all of NADRA’s Deck Safety Month® resources.

About NADRA:

The North American Decking and Railing Association is the voice of the decking industry, representing the interests of deck builders, inspectors, and manufacturers alike. NADRA’s mission is to provide a unified source for the professional development, promotion, growth, and sustenance of the deck and railing building industry in North America so that members can exceed the expectations of their customers. www.NADRA.org

© Copyright 2019 North American Deck and Railing Association. All rights reserved.

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Is Your Business Prepared for Deck Safety Month®?

May is Deck Safety Month®

Did you know that NADRA provides members a plethora of FREE marketing materials for this annual deck safety initiative? They are available now in the members section of NADRA.org. *Only current members of NADRA have access to these marketing tools. If you think your membership is expired, please take care of your renewal online.

Join NADRA in promoting Deck Safety Month® by Becoming an Official Deck Safety Ambassador! 

If you are interested in becoming an official “Deck Safety Ambassador”, sponsorship opportunities are available now to become an official sponsor / ambassador. Follow this link to learn more about this opportunity.

*Please be sure to forward this email to your marketing and public relations departments. The NADRA website is NEW! If you haven’t been to the site in a while, be sure to hit your refresh button and delete your cache!

Here is what you will find in the members section:

  • Deck Safety Month® Press Release Templates
  • Deck Safety Month® and Check Your Deck® Logos
  • NADRA 10-Point Consumer Checklist
  • Customizable Banners for you to place on your website
  • Customizable Graphics (sized according to social network) to use on Facebook and Twitter during the month of May (over 30 visual graphics!) 
  • Quick links to all the tools you need to market the deck safety program to your customers and prospects
  • Even more updates will be added in the next week!

***Over the next several days, we will be adding a few items to this list, so be sure to hit the refresh button from time to time to see what we’ve added to the toolkit. 

We will be sending several emails starting now and throughout May. As a member of NADRA, you will receive a copy of all of these communications. You are welcome to use these emails and communications to promote your own deck safety initiatives and ads to your family, friends, fans and clients. 

As a reminder, always use the registered trademark ® symbol when using the phrases “Deck Safety Month” and “Check Your Deck”.

*If you forget your member ID and Password, please call us at: 215-679-4884, or send an email to: Info@NADRA.org

Click the banner above to access the toolkit
Click the banner above to sign up for a customized toolkit

Worthy of a mention: Over the years, we have found that many of our members want to utilize this plethora of marketing materials, but they do not have the manpower to customize it. As a marketing service, there are 2 packages available for current members of NADRA to choose from:

$799 Package Includes: 

  • Customized press release (with your logo, image, quotes and contact info) 
  • Deck safety flyer (with your logo, images and contact info)
  • Customized social media graphics for Twitter, Facebook & Instagram (with your logo, images and contact info).
  • Customized deck safety HD 720p video – (includes your logo, product / project images, contact info, tag-lines, etc)

$499 Package Includes: 

  • Customized press release (with your logo, image, quotes and contact info) 
  • Deck safety flyer (with your logo, images and contact info)
  • Customized social media graphics for Twitter, Facebook & Instagram (with your logo, images and contact info).

Sign up today to get started. ***Please don’t wait to sign up. Many members have ordered their customized marketing toolkits. The team will need time to put this together for you. Click here for more info. 

Call for 2019 Deck Safety Ambassadors

Deadline: April 30th, 2019

May is Deck Safety Month®

Join NADRA in promoting Deck Safety Month by becoming an official Deck Safety Ambassador! Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze & Partner Levels are available from $350 to the $3,000 top tier sponsor! Click the “Become a Sponsor!” button to sign up & receive your 2019 Deck Safety Ambassador Logo. Benefit packages are also highlighted within this link. Customized Deck Safety Toolkits are also back again this year. Follow the link to learn more. Please email Info@NADRA.org with any questions. 

*You must be a current member of NADRA to participate.