The AZEK® Company Shifts Resources to Help Fight COVID-19

Chicago, Ill., Apr. 28, 2020 – Over the past month, we’ve seen businesses, brands, and individuals alike step up and give back to communities affected by COVID-19. These acts of kindness, both big and small, have offered a glimmer of hope in an otherwise frightening and stressful time. 

The AZEK Company, makers of TimberTech decking and other sustainable building products, has shifted resources at its Vycom facility in Scranton, PA to produce antibacterial partition materials to be used in treatment centers providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past month, AZEK provided roughly 5,000 hygienic plastic sheets to the State of New York to be used in the partitions at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which has been transformed into a 2,000-bed temporary hospital. 

Using these products, The AZEK Company has also designed temporary buildings, beds and other structures for medical use at the following facilities: 

• SUNY Old Westbury (Old Westbury, NY) 

• SUNY Stony Brook (Stony Brook, NY) 

• DeVos Place Convention Center (Grand Rapids, MI) 

Once the need for field hospitals dissipates, The AZEK Company will also be a resource to these sites by recycling the materials into other sustainable products. In the meantime, The AZEK Company is currently in touch with several state governments and stands ready to design and produce materials for additional emergency hospital conversions. 

About The AZEK® Company 

CPG Newco LLC (d/b/a The AZEK® Company) is an industry-leading manufacturer of beautiful, low-maintenance residential and commercial building products, committed to innovation, sustainability and research and design. 

Press Contact: 
Christine Carter
Backbone Media
christine.carter@backbonemedia.net
(970) 963-4873 ext. 203 

Regal ideas Inc. donates medical supplies to St. Paul’s Hospital frontline staff.

Aluminum Railing Leader is on a mission to help the Nurses and Doctors in the community.

(Delta, BC) – Regal ideas Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of Aluminum railing systems has sourced and is donating masks to frontline healthcare workers at Vancouver’s St Paul’s Hospital.

This is one shipment of many that has been hand delivered to the hospital. Regal ideas reach will expand to other hospitals and provinces in response
to the growing need for masks and other personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare professionals combating COVID-19.

“We are awed and inspired by the selfless acts of courage and heroism by God’s earthly Angels as they put their lives on the line every day for all of Humanity… it compels us to act!”, states Ernie Couillard, Executive Vice President for Regal ideas Inc.

The first 200 KN95 masks were hand delivered by 9-year old Regal ideas ambassador, Mason Sekura, to St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Watch Mason’s video tribute to the frontline medical teams here:

Regal ideas hope is that others take a moment and support in any way they can to help protect as many local medical teams as possible during this rapidly evolving pandemic. Regal ideas started its sourcing for personal protective equipment weeks ago and is on a mission to connect with
companies and other business owners to take part in this mission. “We all have our connections, so if we all do our part, we can build a better tomorrow, today” comments Mr Couillard.

For more information contact:
Andrew Pantelides
Vice President of Marketing & Business Development
Regal ideas Inc.
Tel: 905-929-7155
Andrew@regalideas.com

When the Building Department Closes

By: Glenn Mathewson

Let’s avoid the discussion about “why” building departments are closing, reducing services, or not doing certain inspections.  For virus advice, please head to the CDC or your local health department. In this article, let’s use our First Amendment right and discuss ideas for deck builders that need and choose to keep working, but don’t know how.  These ideas are not for normal times. They are for times when out-of-the-box thinking is required, and norms must be challenged.

Our nation’s building authorities do so much to protect our communities, but if you consider humanity’s timeline of acquiring, maintaining, and improving “shelter”, a building department is a modern convenience.  There were owners, designers, tradespeople, contractors, suppliers, and even utility service providers involved with construction long before there were permits and inspectors. Do you still stop at a red light even when officers are not around?  Most of us do. Can you still comply with code even when the inspector is not around? Yes, but it’s probably going to take more effort. There will be greater risk in absence of their help. Like a red-light traffic camera, if you don’t follow the rules now, you will have to address it later.  So how do you fill in temporarily for the building department, if any hope of their assistance is gone?

Inspections

Government inspections need no justification of their importance.  They keep professionals honest, they reveal the nuances of the local construction standards, and they offer a sense of protection to the general public.  A temporary delay of inspections creates a time gap where mistakes can go uncorrected. Inspection delays happen when unusual events occur and create more work than can be handled, such as roof inspections after a major hailstorm.  At these times, 3rd party, private inspectors are often approved by the jurisdiction at the cost of the contractor. Many building departments already are providing guidance for using 3rd party inspectors and more are likely to follow.  Engineers, architects, and home inspectors could all provide this service, IF they are knowledgeable and experienced in current codes. Larger urban areas likely have code consulting firms able to offer inspections. The problem may be the same though, as you have to get them to leave their home.  If deck builders are left to fend for themselves, they will have to get creative.

  • The Self Inspection:  When it’s time for an inspection, come back the next morning or after lunch with a different hat on.  Go through the whole deck like you’ve never seen it before and write a correction list. Don’t fix anything until you’re done playing inspector.  Have everyone on the crew do this and compare your inspection reports.
  • The Crew Inspection:  For builders with multiple crews, consider having the leads of different crews inspect each other’s work.  It may be hard to get subcontractors to play nice together, but that was so 2019.
  • The Competitor Inspection:  Have you been friendly in your industry?  Maybe made friends with other NADRA members?  Nothing sounds crazy anymore, so maybe exchange a game of “play inspector” with them. 

Code Compliance

A lack of code education is the single greatest cause of code violations and not even inspectors are immune.  The catch is that even if you know the IRC cover to cover, you still aren’t ready to play inspector. You’ve got to know the locally adopted and likely amended code.  Those that continue to build, have a greater duty than ever to build correctly…but that’s not defined in the IRC, it’s defined by each authority. The plan review process usually reveals any local requirements and it allows mistakes to be corrected easily and on paper.  If the chaos continues and you’ve got to start a new project, you still need to do a plan review. Using the same advice provided for inspections, create the best, most detailed set of plans you can, and have someone else do a plan review.  Here are some suggestions if you find yourself in that situation.

  • Review similar past projects and any red lines on plans or revision letters.  Look over the inspection reports from the same jurisdiction.
  • Go online to the building department website and look at their code adoptions and amendments.  Review any guides or handouts they have provided. You may not realize how much assistance has been there all along to help you succeed.
  • Look at the planning and zoning requirements for setbacks, maximum and minimum required areas, and even material types that may be regulated in ordinances and can differ from neighborhood to neighborhood.  Common conditions that trigger unique rules include decks close to property lines, visible from public ways, built with unique materials, at multi-family buildings, or serving a front door.
  • Unusual designs and alternative products and materials may be something to avoid right now, as they get more inconsistent approval amongst building authorities.  Now is a good time to stick to what is easy, proven, and has been successful in the past.
  • Have an engineer review your structural plans and seal them.  This will be incredible valuable to you, but remember it only covers the structural aspects.

Record keeping

Another service of the building authority is record keeping.  Rest assured, they will update records from work during this period, and you would be very wise to make that job very easy for them.  The records you keep as a business are not the ones the building department wants. When your “creative” inspections or reviews are performed, record the date, who did it, and what assumptions were made.  What code is it under? What zoning is it in? What setbacks are required? Write down the details, even if you don’t know what details you should write. Write them all. Take photos and video—of everything.  The more due diligence you do now, the easier it will be to work with the building authority later. If they know you took their absence seriously and acted as professionally as possible, they are more apt to work with you on any resolutions.

This article isn’t suggesting you do work without a government permit, plan review, or inspection, but if you are going to anyway, find someone to perform their function, even if it’s you.  Whatever risk you choose to take in absence of the building department, keep the owner of the property well in the loop and involved. You must have them as an ally and a witness. Finally, you must have your head in the right place.  If you have a negative attitude about the role permits, plan review, and inspection have in your work, you really should just stay home. You’re not ready to be a substitute. Now is a time to realize that the building department was helping your success all along.  If you are going to do their job, you’ve first got to respect it.

Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The North American Deck and Railing Association. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of  their opinion, and are not intended to malign any club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) & The Outdoor Living Industry

A Resource Guide by NADRA.org

We have written and re-written a number of letters to address how COVID-19 is affecting our industry. And the next day things change so drastically, we scratch that letter and start again. Perhaps you’ve found yourself doing the same thing in your business!

So here we are. 

Grocery stores are ransacked. Toilet paper is being rationed by armed guards inside your local Walmart. Schools are empty. Churches forced to close their doors. Sports are cancelled, and parks are closed. Just 3 weeks ago we were sitting on our deck here at NADRA HQ planning an official education and training tour. First stop had been Minnesota. A lot can change in 3 weeks. 

For some, fear is brewing as this pandemic continues to change everything about the way we live day to day life. For others, it may be frustration or even anger at how something is, or isn’t being handled locally.

How will you choose to react to these changes? 

Will you ignore the shut downs, but keep a safe distance from your crew and home owners and continue to build? How will you handle permits and approvals? Are you a lumber yard offering online ordering, or curbside service…or maybe restricting deliveries? Maybe you don’t have a choice and you have to put your business on hold.

Try to remain positive:

Ask yourself this: What is everyone doing at home? Families are cleaning and purging out their closets and garages. They are spending time together. There’s an opportunity to learn, grow, and use this forced stop, as a chance to become better in some areas. They are worried, but they are also making the best of a bad situation. 

What is the best part of this industry? We’ll tell you. Hands down, the best part about our industry is that we provide a space for families to spend time together. A place to play outside. To share a meal and a beer, play a game, jump in the pool, or light a fire on a cool night. 

The best thing you can do right now is to build on the momentum of spending time together. Remind your fans, past clients and customers that this time we are spending together shouldn’t go away in 30 days, 60 days, 90 days…. Schedule conference calls or virtual meetings. Have your client FaceTime/Zoom/Skype while you take measurements outside of their house. 

Many are keeping a distance, while embracing togetherness. Focus on that!

What you can you lean on NADRA for?

We are working on partnering with a couple programs we feel will help make a difference in the way we all do business. Programs to assist you with virtual meetings. One-on-one and group settings. We are also looking into a tried and true credit program for you to offer to your customers, which may be helpful for clients who perhaps overspent on TP…or who may have missed a few paychecks, but still want to take advantage of this season’s construction schedule. This is a program that we trust and have even used ourselves. More details are forthcoming.

We’ve compiled an extensive list of links and resources that are worth reviewing. Perhaps there will be an idea that you can use to either minimize the negative impact for your business- or help you grow as we move through these challenging times. If you have information you feel we should include in this resource guide, please send links to Info@NADRA.org.

Above all, please remember that we’re here for you! If we can help in any way…please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are your industry’s association. We are also real people, who love and value you, and want to do anything we can to help you survive, and then thrive!

List Of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Industry – Related Updates from our members, partners and friends: (all in one place, updated regularly):

Business Resources: 

Mr. Rogers’ Mom had the right idea; “look for the helpers”: