National Deck Safety Month®

As seen in the ASHI Reporter

May is Deck Safety Month® and once again, we’d like to spotlight the partnership that ASHI has with the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA).

ASHI’s relationship with NADRA over the years has helped raise awareness of just how important home inspectors are when reviewing the decks, railings and stairs that are found on more than 80% of homes. NADRA created the first-ever Professional Deck Inspection Certification for ASHI members and its membership now includes more than 800 ASHI inspector members, 250 of whom are NADRA-certified deck inspectors. This important partnership brings the two associations together. Professional ASHI home inspectors who are NADRA–certified Deck Inspectors, can network with fellow NADRA Industry Professional members, who can provide much-needed expertise in deck installation and repairs.

Membership and certification with NADRA allow ASHI members who have completed their deck certifications to specially market their expertise. To showcase that they provide deck safety inspections, they can tap into NADRA resources, including access to the NADRA logo, Deck Safety Ambassador logo and the Check Your Deck® National Program. As a Certified NADRA Deck Inspector, an ASHI member will also receive a personal online profile that can be used to generate leads under the Find an Inspector section of the website.

Deck inspections can be a great way to drive business as a whole by providing a needed service to communities. Having a NADRA certification validates the inspector’s high level of competence. Michael Beaudry, NADRA Founder and Executive Vice President, commented, “A great way for inspectors to increase business is by marketing deck inspections.” 

Marketing your expertise can build revenue and add to your client base. By performing a deck safety inspection for a client, you’re positioning yourself to be their inspector in the future, as they will remember your skills and will call on you when they plan to move to a new home.

Incidentally, with the social distancing that we are experiencing due to the coronavirus pandemic, inspectors can continue to generate income while providing very important deck inspections. By conducting deck inspections, which are done outdoors, you can keep a safe distance from others while keeping your company’s name and reputation at the forefront. By working in your communities during this time, you can differentiate yourself from the competition.

NADRA is on track to achieve its goal of certifying 1,000 ASHI members in deck safety. With 30 or more ASHI members attending each chapter’s NADRA education and certification session, home inspectors affiliated with ASHI chapters are a fast-growing part of NADRA membership.

Beaudry said, “ASHI leaders are extremely serious about moving the inspection profession forward. They drive home the message that education is a key element to having a successful inspection business. That philosophy trickles down to the members, and it creates a community in which ASHI members take their job seriously and are genuinely passionate about learning.”

As a result, he commented, “ASHI members are fantastic students at the NADRA course. They take great notes and they pay attention. You know the class is going well when people are engaged and asking questions, even toward the end of the session.

To make a simple projection of the benefits to the community at large, if the roughly 60 certified inspectors in St. Louis (where NADRA has provided its deck inspection class for the St. Louis Chapter) each perform three deck safety inspections per week during 45 weeks in a year, that could equate to a total of 8,100 decks being inspected in one year alone. In turn, this number increases the corresponding prevention of potential injuries (or worse) due to the types of accidents and injuries that can happen with the use of old and decaying decks. 

Think of the difference we will make as we work together to spread the word on Deck Safety across North America.

ASHI’s new micro-credential: Deck Specialty Inspector

Think you know how to inspect a deck? Think again! 

Both the ASHI and NADRA deck courses will surprise you. After taking one of these courses, you will understand why inspecting decks is more complicated than most inspectors realize. You will never look at a deck in the same way again. Taking a deck inspection course gives you the knowledge you need to inspect decks and identify defects based on objective standards, not just on your opinion. You will learn how to prioritize defects, and how to report defects to your clients so that they can understand and use the valuable information that you provide.

ASHI’s St. Louis Chapter Embraces Deck Safety

The St. Louis chapter was one of the first chapters to offer NADRA’s deck education and certification program, and the chapter has promoted deck safety during two seminars in 2017 and 2019. The first offering was as a bonus day of training in conjunction with a seminar and members paid to take the NADRA course. 

During the second offering, the class was included in the price of the regular seminar and approximately 120 ASHI inspectors attended. Because the St. Louis chapter includes all training in its annual dues, there was no additional cost for members to get this training. 

Those who wanted to get certified or recertify had the option to take the NADRA Deck Inspector Certification test at a reduced price, as the chapter subsidized a portion of the certification and recertification fees. Currently in the St. Louis chapter, approximately one-third of its 175 members are NADRA Certified Deck Inspectors. 

Mark Goodman, who served as the ASHI St. Louis Chapter President from 2018 to 2019, said, “The education we received was eye-opening. Most of our members stated they would never look at a deck the same way after taking the NADRA class taught by Jim Maley with Simpson Strong-Tie. We brought the NADRA class to the St. Louis chapter seminars twice because after taking the eye-opening class, we wanted to make sure all of the chapter’s members were on the same page when inspecting decks.”

The Value of Deck Inspection Education and Certification

Comments from St. Louis Chapter ASHI Certified Inspectors 

Paying attention to the details is vital when inspecting. The points and checklists presented during the certification class reinforced my knowledge of deck components and design. I routinely discuss the importance of regular deck inspections with my local agents, neighborhood groups and building associations.

Earning the deck certification was time well spent. Working together with other organizations to improve consumer awareness and safety benefits the entire inspection profession.

John Wessling, ASHI Certified Inspector, Instructor for The ASHI School and 2014 President of St. Louis ASHI, ASHI Treasurer
Wessling Home Inspection Services, St. Louis, MO, john@wesslinginspections.com

A lot has changed in the past few years regarding deck construction methods. Decks used to be constructed like you would build any other portion of a house. Now that we understand why decks fail, decks are built differently. There used to be very little in the code explicitly relating to decks—that has changed thanks to NADRA’s efforts. Every new deck should be built according to the current best practices (AWC-DC6), soon to be replaced by NADRA’s best practices.

Statistically, handrail failure is the largest source of deck injuries, followed closely by attachment to the building. The most valuable things I learned by taking a NADRA deck inspection class (the gold standard for deck inspections) or the new ASHI deck inspection specialist course were related to the proper attachment of handrails and deck structure to the house. I also learned many nuances, like post sizes, notching of a post and required hardware.

We already encourage homebuyers to choose ASHI Certified Inspectors to perform their home inspections. After taking NADRA’s class twice, I see there is a tremendous market for stand-alone deck inspections. This can be an area that home inspectors use to expand their services and increase their revenue. Having the NADRA certification gives home inspectors a competitive edge. More importantly, it arms you with the tools and knowledge you will need to perform a superior deck inspection and promote deck safety.

Mark Goodman, ASHI Certified Inspector, ASHI Director and St. Louis ASHI Chapter Past-President
Brewer Inspection Services, Manchester, MO, mark@homeinspectstl.com

As the current president of the ASHI St. Louis Chapter and as a longtime member of the Chapter Education Committee, it was an honor and pleasure to have NADRA at our chapter seminars in 2017 and 2019. Mike Beaudry, representing NADRA, and Jim Maley, the main speaker for the presentation, were true professionals who put on a world-class show for our members. The NADRA class and presentation gave our members a new look at how we inspect and report on decks.

I have 23 years as an ASHI inspector, but I really did not pay that much attention to the color of rust when making a call on the integrity of the deck and the structural connections. Each and every one of our inspectors came out of this class with something they never thought of when inspecting a deck. 

We all know how inspectors are very visual; most inspectors get bored with speakers who just read from a textbook or from the slides of their presentation. So what does NADRA do? It shows actual film of deck failures with people on the decks. Everyone in the class kind of sat up straight with their eyes wide open for that. I was guessing that ASHI inspectors were saying to themselves, “I wonder who was the last inspector to inspect that deck?”

There is no ASHI inspector in this country who wants to answer to any family member that was injured (or worse) on any deck
that he or she inspected. 

“Then there was the issue of a test at the end of the class before  receiving your certification. Did I really see inspectors actually taking notes, in this digital age, to ensure that they passed the test? Yes, all our inspectors were on deck (pun intended) for this presentation. Well done, NADRA, and we look forward to having you visit our chapter again in the future. “

Harry Morrell2020 St. Louis ASHI Chapter President
Allied Building Inspections, harry@allied-inspectors.com

May is Deck Safety Month®

NADRA Encourages you to Check Your Deck® This May

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, 2020) – May is Deck Safety Month®, the perfect time for homeowners to ensure their decks are in top condition for the season ahead. As you are spending more time at home with your loved ones, 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 60 million decks in the U.S. (50m residential and 10m commercial), it is estimated that 30 million decks are past their useful life and need to be replaced or repaired. “It’s crucial for homeowners to have their decks inspected 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.” says Beaudry.
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 NADRA Inspectors Directory.

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 2020 North American Deck and Railing Association. All rights reserved.

Media Contact:

Name: Michael Beaudry
Title: Executive Vice President
Phone: 215-679-4884
Email Address:Info@NADRA.org

National Nail Launches Versatile CAMO® LEVER™ Tool for Fast, Easy Deck Board Bending

Grand Rapids, MI– At CAMO, we know that you don’t have time to wrestle with deck boards –time is precious during installation and crews are getting smaller. Not to mention the strain on the body and potential board damage. As part of the CAMO experience that delivers ease, efficiency and profitability, CAMO® LEVER™ is the only tool needed to bend, straighten or align deck boards to speed up installation. In fact, contractors can build decks up to 5X times faster when they use LEVER with other CAMO innovations like the versatile DRIVE™ stand-up tool for any decking and CAMO EDGE Clip for grooved boards. In these difficult times, the CAMO team knows that COVID-19 is a challenge for deck builders as they try to protect their families and livelihoods. That is why we’re forging ahead with the latest innovation.

Contractors can build decks up to 5X times faster when they use new LEVER with other CAMO innovations like the versatile DRIVE™ stand-up tool for any decking and CAMO EDGE Clips for grooved boards.

LEVER is all about freedom during installation. Without time-consuming set-up, the unique LEVER tool sets in one turn to lock boards in place for fastening with no strain, no hassle. When combined with CAMO EDGE Clips, LEVER speeds up grooved decking installations by locking multiple rows of boards and clips in place for quick fastening. The compact LEVER is also strong enough to straighten any warped board. Smaller crews are not a problem—LEVER eliminates the need to have someone holding boards, or a tool, in place. Lay your boards down, lock them in place with LEVER and you are free to fasten. And the timing of the LEVER launch aligns with the need for one- or two-person installation that allows social distancing on the jobsite to protect worker safety. 

“We are unwavering in our mission to help contractors build a better deck easier and in a faster timeframe–even with smaller crews,” said W. Scott Baker, CEO.  “CAMO LEVER is the latest addition to the family of innovative CAMO products that gives contractors an unparalleled deck-building experience.  We’re dedicated to helping our contractors stay on the job as well as emerge strong from the pandemic.”

The versatile LEVER tool adjusts to single, double and even steel joists and keeps spacing between boards consistent, which, for the discerning deck builder, adds to the beauty of a fastener-free surface. For the best installation experience, lock in a whole field of boards using 2–3 LEVERS across the length of the deck. 

With an MSRP of $99.95, CAMO LEVER is an affordable, easy-to-use innovation that allows contractors to work smarter, with less labor, and helps them build a better deck.

To learn more about the CAMO LEVER, visit camofasteners.com

About CAMO    

CAMO exists to provide the best deck fastening installation experience for hardworking folks who take pride in their work and value their wallet. That’s you. Whether you install decks for a living, offer to help build them with a buddy, or maybe build just one in your lifetime, CAMO products are engineered to save you time and ensure your work looks and performs as you expect it should. CAMO®. The Better Way to Build a Deck. 

For more information or to locate a dealer, visit camofasteners.com or call 1-800-968-6245. Be sure to “Like” @camofasteners on Facebook and @camodeckfasteners on Instagram. Search CAMO Fasteners on YouTube to find our channel or check us out on Pinterest.

A Simple Recipe for Contractors Part Three:

Leveraging Your Photos, By: Bobby Parks

Photos are your visual resume that illustrates your capabilities as a builder and shows your style and creativity through a recorded image history. You’re often being accepted or rejected before you even know you’re being checked out when your website is visited as potential customers are making judgements about you based on the photos they see. The old saying that a photo is worth a thousand words is true as images provide a stronger communication than any words can ever accomplish. Confidence in your ability to deliver the kind of project they want or whether your style is right for a particular prospect is at play. Photos can provide a major layer of credibility and are one of the most impactful sales tools at your disposal making them a key ingredient in the recipe.

Although most contractors use photos,  many don’t incorporate the measures that it takes to fully capitalize on them. Many use unedited photos on cell phones in a disorganized and limited way. Some don’t focus on getting good initial shots or don’t take any at all. Just think about the time and effort you put into marketing, selling, designing, planning, permitting, mobilizing, and physically delivering projects. Why would you not take time to circle back and take pictures of the impressive projects you build and leverage them? Why not take a few simple steps and invest in the appropriate tools to maximize the impact multiple uses can provide? 

In the first two segments of this series (Part 1 & Part 2) I discuss my thoughts on the importance of a contractor’s building philosophy, project delivery types, messaging, referrals, website, and social media. In this third segment I’ll share my thoughts on the importance of leveraging your photos.  

Taking the Photos

You don’t need to use a professional to get good shots. Most will use a phone or iPad which simplifies the process. I still like using a camera and I take shots with the settings on “Auto” and the inner menu set on “RAW”. This allows for easy editing later. Just use common sense. Little things like a ladder leaning against the wall, an extension cord laying on the deck, footprints, or even leaves on the deck become magnified clutter when viewing the photo. Get clean shots and take plenty of them. Drone shots are great as you can pick up the overview angles that truly show the design.

How You Display? Pictures Matters

It’s not only important to take and use photos, it’s also important how you display them to potential customers. Many contractors use photos during a sales call but some don’t utilize them to the extent they should. For example: Showing unedited photos on a cell phone is not the way to do it. Flipping around trying to flash photos on a small screen in front of a customer is not likely to impress them. The images are small and don’t make the impressions that an iPad or larger views are going to provide. Larger views illustrate a clearer vision of what you’re about and shows off quality work much better. In my opinion an iPad may be the most crucial tool investment you make. You buy tools when they’re needed for a job. An iPad is no different and it’s a tool that quickly pays for itself. 

Another great way to show job photos is on a large monitor or television screen. This can be done if you have an office where prospects can come to you and you extend your pc screen. You can even do this at a customer’s home by plugging into their tv. Laptops can be used but iPads are lighter and quicker.

Be Organized:  Create Photo Categories

Be organized and create categories on an iPad such as decks, patios, arbors, porches, pavilions, and before & afters. If you’re delivering hardscape jobs, show patios, outdoor kitchens and fire pits. Remodelers and landscapers can show their categorized projects. If you’re discussing a particular type of project this allows you to show specific job types without bouncing around, it saves time and makes you appear more organized. It assists with a customer’s understanding of what you can do therefore helping create comfort levels and confidence in you as a contractor. 

My approach was to take a group of shots and create a customer photo file. For example, I created a “Customer John Smith Job”  which I loaded the original site photos taken on the first sales call. Once the job was completed I loaded the “after shots” in and followed up with a second file titled “Customer John Smith Selects”.  I copied the select shots that I intended to use from the original file to the select files. These were edited and used in the photo files I showed customers. This boils down what you’re showing and helps with appearing organized and being efficient when displaying what you’ve done and what you’re capable of doing.  It’s creating credibility every time you show a photo. Comfort levels grow when a customer’s confidence in you begins. 

Learn Simple Editing Almost all photos need editing to pop and provide the most impact.  Even a great looking project won’t make the best impressions if it’s a dull shot. Although you could spend time learning editing software, it’s not necessary as all you’ll need can be done in 30 seconds on your phone or iPad with factory installed editing tools. I prefer a free app called Photoshop Express. In some cases as few as two edits on an iPad will do the job. For example; On an iPad or iPhone just click on the “wand” and do a color enhance increase and you’re set. In other cases you may need to lighten the shadows. These simple edits alone can make a huge difference with a photo. (See photos below) You can do other edits like merging grass into the scene and remove items if you’re willing to watch tutorials and learn. Use common sense and don’t forget to remove clutter before taking the shots.  Remember, when using a camera use the “Auto” setting with the inner menu on “RAW. These settings will allow you to do four auto edits and two manual using Photoshop Elements on your PC; you will have great results.  

Before & After minor photo edits

Color enhanced and paint-can clutter removed

Photo Galleries on Website

Having good gallery photos on a website is like using artillery to soften up the beachhead before you launch a frontal assault. Galleries soften up resistance and open the door with upfront credibility. It sets the table for the process that follows. These visuals increase the chance for success, making progress easier to obtain. Again, these should be organized into specific categories. You can even have “featured projects” where you have multiple photos of a specific job that provide a virtual tour.

Picture Videos

Picture videos are a great way to show featured projects. There are many options for easy to use software that allows you to create these one to two minute videos with added music that customers can view. For example I created a 12 minute “Before & After” video that I had the customer watch while I was gathering site information on my first appointment. It kept them in the process while I was outside for the 10 minutes it took to get site information. I did short picture videos to provide a tour of featured projects. These can be posted on your website, YouTube, social media, and emailed to prospects.

Before & After Photos

Before and after shots may be the most effective photos you’ll use. They show your ability to be creative and make an existing situation better. They show how dramatic a change can be and allows a prospect to realize how much difference the right investment can make. 

Photos show before and after and how
dramatic a change can be.

 Photos shows before and after and how dramatic a change can be

Send Before & Afters and Gallery Photos to Customers After Job Completions

Sometimes we start late, the job takes longer than expected, or there’s a problem during the job delivery that we have to recover from. Even if a job starts and finishes on time some customers handle the intrusion aspects differently and may be stressed over the process.  Emailing a visual reminder using before and after photos along with the equivalent of featured project gallery photos to a customer is like medicine that helps the pain go away. It is a dramatic reminder of the positive changes that you’ve delivered, and lessens the effect of most issues that occurred.  Ideally your logo should be on each photo. When photos are shared with customers, work associates, family and friends, through social media, it is clear who is responsible for the work. 

Brochures

Brochures are still a useful tool that photos factor into. These can be left behind after a sales call,  emailed, or accessed through a web link on your website. It’s especially useful when you’re meeting with only one of the decision makers and you don’t want to be confused with others the prospect is meeting with. It’s a simple piece that can be shared with anyone else involved in the decision and helps keep you from being mixed up with anyone else they are getting proposals from. 

Photos show a brochure from my former company

Leveraging Your Photos May Allow You to Charge More

Photos should be utilized on websites, during  sales and consulting sessions, marketing pieces,  brochures, and in follow up communications with customers. They not only open the door to new and often unknown prospects, but assist with sales and business stability and even allow many an opportunity for increased profit. For example; If you are currently having success selling jobs by showing unedited photos on a phone and begin to organize edited versions on an iPad, you can likely start charging 5% more right away because the impressions and confidence this generates can make a huge difference in a customers perception. Your iPad investment will be covered by the increased sales price. 

Adding 5% -10% and selling a job that previously priced out $20,000 project for $21,000 to $22,000 is not a big stretch when a contractor stacks the right layers of credibility in their favor. There is the risk factor for a customer anytime they choose a contractor. If you are perceived with confidence and create strong impressions along with a perceived low or no risk factor because of the credibility you’ve displayed through photos and other means, most you will be able to charge more. 

Operating in Difficult Times

In this series I discuss several key recipe ingredients that work together to create the layers of credibility to provide major benefits for any contractor. All are important. My original decisions on my project delivery types and the way I leveraged off of photos were two of the main aspects that allowed me to accomplish what I did during my years as a contractor. These approaches still apply today. Even during the recession from 2007-2009 I was able to operate and survive a prolonged and challenging period because of the recipe I used. The simple formula provided a solid foundation and ability to survive tough times when others didn’t. We are currently experiencing trying and uncertain times due to the Coronavirus. We will eventually get past this period but some changes will occur. Some things will never be the same because we’ve seen first hand how a contagion can impact an economy. Because it’s happened we can’t help but wonder when will it happen again? I hope and believe this next recovery will be  quicker because the previous underlying fundamentals of the economy are different compared to 2007 and outside this COVID -19 most want to resume where we left off. But the recovery will take a while for some segments and we will likely make changes in the ways we operate. Operating from a simple solid foundation founded by simple recipes as I share, provide a way to maximize profit during a good market, and puts you in a position to survive downturns in a healthier way when they do occur. I hope that there’s something in this series that you’ll find useful and that we’ll all get back on track with our personal and work lives soon. 

Bobby Parks / Instagram: @Bobbyparks007

Copyright Bobby Parks – April 8th, 2020

Question & Answer with NADRA.org

An on-going series of inquiries from consumers & industry professionals sent to Info@NADRA.org.

Question #1:

“I am planning a deck on the back of my home. I am wondering if I am missing something. 

I want to use 6×6 post and notch them for my beam and rim joist as one, then just carry it up to be my hand rail posts also. Other than maybe cost and the extra work of dealing with the heavier pieces this seems like the way to go but I don’t see anyone doing it. Am I missing something as a non professional as to why this would not work?

Other details: Deck height on one end will reach 36 inches. Total deck size will be about 24 feet along the house and a max of 12 feet out away from the house.”

Answer provided by Glenn Mathewson, NADRA Technical Advisor:

Thank you for reaching out to us for assistance.  The NADRA membership supports the organization to offer commentary to those seeking a better understanding of the deck and railing industry.  The International Residential Code (IRC) is a model code developed by the International Code Council.  Government authorities very often reference this document for the regulation of single family homes, but they often make amendments to change the rules.  The guidance herein is only in regard to the unamended model code, as we are unaware of your locally adopted building code.  The subject of guards may or may not be amended.  have reached out to our advisors to provide you assistance.

What you are proposing is not unusual in anyway and can produce a very sound and beautiful deck and guard.  Being a technical subject, it is important we clarify that you are referring to “guards” and not “handrails”.  Handrails are only the graspable rail found beside stairs and ramps to assist in ascending and descending.  A guard is a feature at the edge of an elevated walking surface meant reduce the likelihood of a fall off the edge.  Presuming you are speaking of a guard, we will continue.

According to the 2018 IRC, guards must be designed to resist a 200 lb load placed at the top of the guard, currently in any direction.  To achieve this design load through testing, an ultimate strength of no less than 2.5 x the load must be resisted.  This is a 500 lb test load.  Research has been done on this load for guard post connections and found that a 4×4 post could not be notched at the point of connection.  No testing occurred on a 6×6.  In the development of the next edition of the IRC, the 2021, much discussion was made by industry professionals on the subject of notched guard posts.  A proposal was submitted and approved for this code, based on the research and engineering analysis, that prohibits the notching of 4×4 posts.  In the discussion for this proposal, 6×6 posts were brought up.  When notched to retain at least 3.5 inches of material in the “flange” it was agreed that notching a 6×6 should not be prohibited by code at this time and without further research.  No code provisions were approved with relation to 6×6 posts.

In the absence of prescriptive design methods or provisions provided by the code, a design professional is necessary to validate structural performance. Therefore, we cannot provide you any definitive answer, as there is not yet an established accepted and generic practice to notching 6×6 guard posts. We can tell you that it can be achieved sufficiently, and is a design seen in the industry.  Here are some things to consider as you make your decision:

  • 1) Determine if there are local design standards required by your local building department.
  • 2) Discuss the design with your local building department.
  • 3) The design of your guard assembly as a whole can have an impact on the load resistance the post to beam connection must resist.  Evaluate this.
  • 4) Notching of material must be done with consideration to any knots, wane, or damage to the member near and at the notch location.
  • 5) Do not overcut your notches with a circular saw, as this equates to a deeper notch.
  • 6) If it is preservative treated lumber, you need to field treat the inside of the notch.  If cedar, you do not.
  • 7) At a minimum, do not leave less than 3.5 inches of material remaining in the untouched portion.

We hope this information will be helpful to you in your project.

NADRA Code Update – Proposals RB185-19 and RB301-19 Guard Post Connections

August 29th, 2019

By: Glenn Mathewson

The latest 2018 edition of the International Residential Code provides a complete package of prescriptive structural design tables for decks… sort of…  When we think of structural design, most people imagine the skeleton of ledgers, joists, beams, and posts. At this completion, one might be ready for a “rough frame” inspection.  Install the decking and you’ve got a system that will hold people up, but it won’t keep them up. There’s a critical structural component of elevated decks that’s missing.

Guards.

Guards are barriers required at the edges of raised floors that help keep us from falling off.  They can be rails, cables or pipes. They can be wood, metal, vinyl, or glass. They can be benches, planter boxes, outdoor kitchens, or privacy walls.  Architecturally, they can be practically anything that meets the minimum height, maximum openings, and minimum structural capacity. Indeed, guards are part of the deck structure.  Table 301.5 requires a live load resistance of 200 lbs. in any direction along the top of the guard, but stops there. There is no guidance in the code for how to achieve this.

NADRA supported a proposal with others in the Deck Code Coalition to change that.  After many meetings with discussions ranging from a complete detail of guard construction to not adding anything, compromise (which is not a negative thing) and shared perspectives led us to common ground.  The proposal would prohibit a few notorious problems and provide some general language about the load path. This would be a good start. This is proposal RB185-19, and it was approved at the IRC Committee Action Hearing this March.  Here is a brief, bulleted summary of what it includes.

  • Guard posts must be connected into the deck framing, not just the outer joist or beam, where such member can rotate under load.
  • Guard posts cannot be fastened only into the end-grain of lumber.
  • Guard posts mounted on top of the deck (surface mounted) must be done according the manufacturer installation instruction and must connect to the deck framing or blocking.
  • Wood 4×4 guard posts cannot be notched at the point of connection.

While this will reduce the most egregious guard connections and make a big impact on safety, it still doesn’t provide any assurance of any guard construction capability.  That’s what proposal RB301-19 provides.

With such variety of guard design, it’s difficult to specify one method, and it risks all other designs being considered “noncompliant”.  Something common, however, to many guards is a wood post. This second guard proposal provides a handful of engineered methods to attach a guard post to wood deck framing that will meet the loads required by the IRC.  Methods using hardware and methods using only commodity fasteners are provided for design flexibility. These details are proposed for a new appendix chapter in the IRC, so they are not misunderstood as a strict requirement.  Appendix chapters are optional unless adopted as mandatory by a government. They provide guidance, and that is exactly the intent of the appendix we have proposed. This proposal was not approved at the first hearing, but we received good feedback as to why.  NADRA and the DCC members got back together and kept at it. We submitted a public comment in hopes of earning the ICC governmental membership approval this October at the Final Action Hearings.

Please support RB185-19 and RB301-19 and help us develop quality minimum standards for safe deck design and construction, while balancing affordability and freedom.

Deck Safety Marketing Resources now Available to Help Outdoor Living Industry Boost Business this Spring

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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 – “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.” Says Michael Beaudry, executive vice president of NADRA. 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 Beaudry.

The non-profit trade association offers the following resources for building professionals to leverage during Deck Safety Month® and throughout the year, including:

  • The 2018 official deck safety toolkit. This NADRA-member benefit includes:
    • Deck Safety Month® Logo
    • Check Your Deck® Logo
    • 2018 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 is working diligently with ASHI, The American Society of Home Inspectors, as well as, AIBD, The American Institute of Building Design. The associations are working towards educating and certifying thousands of industry professionals to meet the need for inspecting the millions of decks that are past their useful life. Classes are available for scheduling.
  • 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.”


About NADRA:

The North American Decking and Railing Association is the voice of the decking industry, representing the interests of  deck builders, inspectors, manufacturers, dealers/distributors, lumberyards, wholesalers, retailers, and service providers 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. Visit www.NADRA.org to access all of NADRA’s Deck Safety Month® resources.

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

© Copyright 2018 North American Deck and Railing Association. All rights reserved.

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Decked Out: Sequoia Out Back

By  / April 3, 2018

Sequoia Out Back grows through outdoor living

Sequoia Out Back

Photos by Jim Greipp, Pau Hana Productions

It’s not uncommon for a builder to get into the retail side of the LBM industry. It’s a natural fit for a person already geared toward the trades and looking for a career that may be less physically taxing. For John Keller, owner of Sequoia Out Back, the shift from building decks to selling deck supplies came more out of a need for the right product and pricing.

As the preeminent deck builder in his area, Keller reached a point at which he needed to purchase lumber from wholesalers. To do so, he formed a company to resell the product to himself as a builder. Word soon spread to other deck builders and homeowners that Keller knew good lumber when he saw it, and was able to source it for a good price. Within five years, the lumber company begame bigger than the construction company.

Keller has since given up deck design and building for full time building supply sales, and for years now has referred homeowners to his contractor customers, who make up about 70% of the business from his main store in Hatfield, Penn., as well as a smaller satellite showroom in Warrington, Penn., about a half hour from Sequoia’s headquarters. “We want our products out to the users, but we don’t want to compete with our customers,” Keller says. “We advertise on behalf of them essentially by getting our customers to them.”

Early to composites, outdoor living

“Really, we’re melding two industries into one store. It’s the outdoor living industry with the building material industry. The building material end of it is bigger, but the outdoor living brings people in.”
— John Keller

Keller’s early entry into the composites market helped build a solid foundation to his decking sales success. Early on in his retail career he sold primarily cedar and treated decking, but Keller was quick to recognize the versatility and value of composite products. By the time consumer awareness of composites caught up, Keller had already established himself as a product expert.

“We were one of the go-to places for composites early on,” he says. “Not a lot of the lumberyards in our area had it at that point. Everything was still changing.”

Now in his 22nd year of retail sales, Keller has built upon the decking foundation by integrating outdoor living items into his product mix. In 2008, the company went big into the outdoor living market. Today, Sequoia Out Back is not only known for decks, but for deck furniture, grills and accessory items, fire pits, and outdoor kitchens as well.


indoor display

customer service

warehouse

Sequoia Out Back’s main location features four levels of decks throughout a facility on a 10-acre property that includes a 30,000 square-foot warehouse.

Deck displays

Sequoia Out Back’s main location features four levels of decks throughout a facility on a 10-acre property that includes a 30,000 square-foot warehouse. Each floor in the store is done with decking and railing and the entire store is designed to give customers the experience of walking on decking products that are readily available for sale.

In a sense, the whole store is a display. “Everything looks like a deck or a patio,” Keller says.

Atop the decking on the floors sits all of the casual and outdoor living products that are also available for sale. Most everything throughout the store, from decks, rails, columns, and trim to accessories is sold through the showroom, including the tongue-and-groove ceiling.

Another satellite showroom in nearby Warrington features many of the same products, and Keller hopes to build it out to be a smaller version of the main Hatfield store.

Growth on deck

While serving primarily a 70% contractor customer base, Keller says that doesn’t mean his store mostly sees contractors coming through the door. Primarily, homeowners are sent there by their contractors so they can experience the decking and outdoor products hands-on. Other times, homeowners come in the store specifically to get ideas and ask for connections to local deck builders.

“Our facility really helps everyone pick out products,” Keller says. “Homeowners come in and pick out the product and the contractors come in and purchase it.”

With 25 employees during the seasonably high summer months, Keller says he’s continuing to grow his decking business and is looking forward to expanding his satellite location in Warrington. Business passed pre-Great Recession levels in 2013, and Keller says the company has been growing a steady 10% to 15% year-over-year since. Even during the worst parts of the recession, Sequoia Out Back was able to maintain a flat level of sales.

“I think those numbers probably hold true to most lumberyards in our area,” Keller says. “All the roofing and siding places as well, they have a deck board they sell. In most cases, we stock the majority of that line and we have it in stock and it’s fresh. Everything we have is in stock and stored indoors.”

Keller is the sole owner of the business, and says he sees the company’s success continuing long into the future. As long as he can manage labor needs and make good calls on inventory, he’ll continue to focus on what has made Sequoia Out Back a success.

“The amount of money people are spending in their back yards is now more than it’s ever been,” he says. With that trend expected to continue, Keller is focused on featuring various outdoor furniture displays from low-mid, and up to high-cost.

“Really, we’re melding two industries into one store. It’s the outdoor living industry with the building material industry. The building material end of it is bigger, but the outdoor living brings people in.”

Read the original article here at LBM Journal

Outdoor living continues to drive growth in decking projects.

In Depth: Decks, LBM Journal

By  / April 4, 2018

Outdoor living continues to drive growth in decking projects.

Zuri Decking

Zuri Premium Decking from Royal Building Products comes in five colors—chestnut, walnut, pecan, Brazilia, and Weathered Gray— and two board profiles, and it’s backed by a 25-year color fastness warranty.

Decks are the darling of home improvement. Thanks to a strong housing market, a growing economy, and interest rates that remain low, the decking industry is poised to experience continued growth, and homeowners are poised to take advantage by incorporating more and more deck projects into their building and remodeling plans. According to the 2017 U.S. Houzz Landscape Trends Study, the share of outdoor projects motivated by a recent home purchase increased to 33% in 2017 over last year’s rate of 25%, and 20% of homeowners surveyed indicated that they plan a deck remodel for the coming year.

A major driving factor in this growth is the continued homeowner interest in outdoor living. Homeowners and contractors are increasingly working together to create personalized, unique structures that are reflections of the outdoor living needs of their families, creating immersive, form-meets-function environments. “While decks have been a common sight in most backyards for decades, they are now taking on new meaning,” explains Juliana Rumbaugh, Marketing Communications Manager for Lonza Wood Protection. “Homeowners are embracing outdoor living and entertaining by building elaborate decks that include fireplaces, televisions and full kitchens. Building decks and outdoor structures continues to be a top remodeling project that allows for the extension of living space. Decks are built or expanded upon with the intention of extending the living space to outdoors. Families and friends gather on the deck to visit, enjoy meals together and even watch sporting events.”

Residential construction drives growth

MoistureShield

According to MoistureShield, its new Vision™ deck and trim boards create a modern variegated appearance unlike any other decking product, and the manufacturer anticipates that its new patterning technology developed for Vision decking will eventually enable homeowners, builders or designers to customize the surface of their deck boards.

Following patterns seen in the past few years, growth in the decking segment remains strong and is predicted to stay that way. According to IBISWorld’s U.S. Market Research Report on Deck and Patio Construction published this past November, over the last five years the decking industry experienced 5.4% overall growth as a whole, fueled by improving credit conditions, rising income levels and an increase in total demand for residential housing.

In the Freedonia Group’s recent Wood and Competitive Decking report, demand will reach 3.55 billion linear feet by 2020, worth an estimated $7.1 billion, with growth anticipated for both wood and non-wood decking products. The report goes on to predict that the non-wood share will continue to rise by 4.5% annually and will reach 17.9% by 2020, with wood decking forecasted to increase 1.3% annually through that same time period.

Brent Gwatney, Senior Vice President of Sales for MoistureShield Composite Decking, has high hopes for the coming year. “We’re very optimistic for the 2018 decking season,” he says. “We’ve had strong sales ever since coming off the Great Recession, and this year has many positive indicators. Builder confidence is strong, and the NAHB forecasts 4.6% growth in single-family housing starts for the year. Remodeling activity also is strong, and with the growing popularity of outdoor living, many people are looking to expand or replace their existing decks, or build a new deck.”

Manufacturers seem to agree that the single biggest growth segment in the coming year will be in residential single-family homes, both in new construction and in remodeling. “As the economy continues to strengthen, we see remodeling projects picking up,” says Juliana Rumbaugh, marketing communications manager for Lonza. “We expect an increase of about 4.5% in deck projects in residential, singlefamily homes which continues to grow faster than the other categories.”

Perhaps even more than the new residential construction market, the remodeling segment appears poised for strong growth. “In 2018, we anticipate all deck projects to grow,” says Mike Descoteaux, Marketing Manager for DuraLife Decking and Railing, “however, remodeling projects are especially popular as homeowners continue to gravitate from traditional decking products toward low-maintenance alternatives.”

DuraLife

DuraLife now offers color-matched decking board end caps for its Siesta, MVP, and Starter decking profiles. According to DuraLife, these end caps enhance the appearance of the deck perimeter and provide a more costeffective solution for deck builders than the traditional “picture framing” installation method.

Chris Camfferman, Director of Category Marketing for Deckorators, sees strong remodeling growth over the next twelve months. “We expect the decking and railing market to grow approximately 5% this year. Both new construction and remodeling will drive projects. Deck remodeling continues to be strong as homeowners see investment in the outdoor space adding real value to their homes.” Patrick Barnds, Senior Vice President for AZEK Building Products, agrees. “Single-family residential remodeling is where we expect to see most of that growth being concentrated, which is the single biggest segment of the market these days.”

This is not to say that commercial projects are flat; in fact, some manufacturers see the commercial segment as having the potential to deliver significant gains. As Jessica Hewitt, Director of Marketing for Humboldt Redwood, explains, “For businesses in the entertainment, hospitality, leisure, and sports industries, beautiful outdoors spaces with decks, shade structures, seating, and other amenities enhance the customer experience. Businesses invest in these outdoor spaces to bring in new business and keep current customers coming back.”

Read the original article here on LBM Journal

AZEK® Building Products Partners with Dick’s Decks and Docks to Build a Dock Destroyed by Hurricane Matthew for a Deserving Family in South Carolina

Company Gives Back with AZEK Helping Hands Initiative

 

SKOKIE, IL – AZEK® Building Products, a leader in the development of premium, low maintenance decking, launched the AZEK Helping Hands initiative to give back to a deserving family who could use a new deck or dock after Hurricane Matthew damaged the Southeast Atlantic coast last year. This spring, Heather Doray, a teacher at Beaufort High School was surprised in her classroom, alongside her husband, Rob Kintz, with the announcement that her family was going to get a new dock.

AZEK received submissions from both her aunt and mother, nominating Heather for her charitable personality and dedication to the community. Heather also nominated her husband Rob since the hurricane was a setback for their family and the new dock would be an unbelievable gift for their family. Kintz had been renovating their house on St. Helena Island both before and after the hurricane, even after working long hours as an electrician. After all of the devastation they suffered, AZEK Building Products decided that this family deserved a new dock.

“We were finally able to buy a piece of paradise with a dock, and two years later, hurricane Matthew hit and destroyed it. It was devastating the next day to wake up and see the damage from the storm,” said Kintz. “We did not have the money to pay a dock builder, so the rebuild process would have been a slow one. Not only did AZEK replace the part that was destroyed, but AZEK replaced the entire dock. It means a lot to us that there are still companies out there like AZEK that give back to people in the community.” 

AZEK partnered with Richard Knieriem, owner of Dick’s Decks and Docks, to complete the 2,800 square foot dock that features the TimberTech Docksider™ Collection in Gray.

“We’ve been using TimberTech since we started the business two years ago because I like using composite,” said Knieriem. “We love fixing docks and we love using this product – it’s basically the perfect product – and Heather and Rob will really get to enjoy a beautiful, new dock with this material. I am pleased to have been a part of this great initiative. Helping others is what it is all about.”

About AZEK® Building Products:

AZEK Building Products is a leader in the development of premium, low maintenance exterior building products. Available to a worldwide audience, its product lines span AZEK Trim, Deck, Rail, Moulding, Porch and Pavers as well as capped wood composite Decking and Railing under the TimberTech brand. Both brands, synonymous with quality, style and innovation, are made in America and lead their market areas by continually reinventing product lines and redefining product categories. For more information about AZEK, visit www.azek.com. For more information on TimberTech, visit www.timbertech.com or call 1-877-ASK AZEK.