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.

NTA joins the International Code Council’s family of solutions

The acquisition will add laboratory and testing capabilities to the Code Council service offerings and will foster innovation by streamlining the time-to-market for product manufacturers

Nappanee, IN – The International Code Council announced today that it has acquired NTA, a leading provider of testing services, product certification, inspection, engineering, off-site construction plan review, and code evaluation. The Indiana-based company will significantly expand the services the Code Council provides by adding major laboratory and testing capabilities.

NTA currently serves residential and commercial builders, code officials, manufacturers and suppliers throughout the building industry. The company has offices and a testing laboratory in Nappanee, Indiana, and will soon break ground on a new testing campus in Bryan, Texas. Additional information about the new facility will be available soon.

“NTA joining the Code Council will bring their exceptional testing capabilities to our suite of services,” said Code Council Chief Executive Officer Dominic Sims, CBO. “This acquisition helps us to better fulfill our building safety mission and serve our members and clients.”

NTA maintains one of the largest manufacturing inspection workforces in the market, and its inspection professionals currently hold hundreds of Code Council certifications. Its network of auditors enables it to provide review and inspection of in-plant quality control procedures, ensuring consistent quality of products for code compliance.

“Since its founding in 1976, NTA has stood for quality and integrity,” said David A. Tompos, President and CEO of NTA. “We are a family-owned company, and entering into this partnership makes us a member of a larger family of companies. We are proud to be a part of the Code Council and are excited about the opportunities this relationship will open up for both companies.”

“ICC Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) is thrilled about this new acquisition,” stated ICC-ES President Shahin Moinian, P.E. “We are a global leader in technical evaluations of building products, and the addition of NTA to the family of solutions will allow us to further streamline the time-to-market for product manufacturers by offering testing services in house.”

Representatives from the Code Council and NTA signed the agreement today at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana.


About the International Code Council
The International Code Council is a nonprofit association that provides a wide range of building safety solutions including product evaluation, accreditation, certification, codification, and training. It develops model codes and standards used worldwide to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures.

About NTA, Inc.
NTA, Inc. provides code evaluation, product certification, inspection, engineering, off-site construction plan review, and testing services, as well as independent quality and standards compliance verification for many building products.


Download the PDF Verison

Contact: Madison Neal
(202) 754-1173
mneal@iccsafe.org

NADRA Code Update

July 3rd, 2019

By: Glenn Mathewson

To finish a marathon, you’ve got to push through the last mile.  Such is the same with developing a new edition of the International Residential Code.  Thousands of people are currently running a marathon toward the 2021 IRC, and though they are halfway through, there’s no telling who (or who’s proposals) will make it to the finish line.  While it’s too soon to start cheering, it’s not to soon to feel confident and strong, and that’s how the NADRA and Deck Code Coalition proposals are looking.

With the publishing of the final report from the Committee Action Hearings, the public can not only see the results of the hearing, but also a summary of the comments made by the committee.  There are three result categories, but since those aren’t “final” results, the comments should be the focus.  The committee comments could be looked at as spectators cheering on or booing the runners.  They provide direction, encouragement, and suggestions, much like “you got this! Keep going! You’re so close”.  Unfortunately, sometimes the comments can feel more like “you’re never going to make it! Give up now!  You look so tired!”

The race is not over until you pass the finish line, and sometimes people get a second wind.  That’s what the next phase of the code modification process can offer—a second chance.  Regardless of the committee result, every proposal can receive a public comment modification, and if received, the proposal will be heard again at the final hearings, where a final vote will be made…but not really.  The final vote is actually made online a few weeks after the hearing.  In this vote, only governmental ICC members can cast the final thumbs up or thumbs down.   These members could vote down a proposal approved by the committee, and likewise, the members could turn around a proposal disapproved by the committee.

Public comments to the committee results are due July 24th and these will be the catalyst for the next step in the process.  A proposal that does not receive a public comment is almost certain to be finalized as-is in the “bulk vote” where the governmental members vote for the entire package of proposals.  Having not received any disagreement from the public, the assumption is that the committee opinion is good to go.  Here is the part to pay close attention to:

If the committee result for a proposal is not challenged by July 24th, consider it done.  If there is something you don’t like, silence is equivalent to support.

So let me put it this way…  “Speak now or forever hold your peace”.

Okay…that’s not exactly true, but you would have to hold it until the 2024 IRC code development hearings where everything is on the table again.

Thanks to select NADRA members that have financially supported NADRA representation in the code modification process, I am working alongside other professionals in the Deck Code Coaltion and we are preparing public comments.  We are running this marathon until the end.  I hope you are on the sidelines cheering us on.  Here are the results and comments from the Committee Action Hearings that have us in a runner’s high.  You can view all the Group B ICC documents and the live video from the Group B hearing at this link:  https://www.iccsafe.org/products-and-services/i-codes/code-development/

RB184: Disapproved

Committee Reason:  There were multiple corrections expressed in a modification that the committee felt was too extensive. The wording in Section 507.4 is confusing. The committee urges that the corrections should be brought forward in a public comment. The collaborative effort, and inclusion of engineers in the effort, was a positive aspect for this proposal. (Vote: 10-1)

RB185: Approved As Modified

Committee Reason: The modification to Section R507.10.1.2 removed ‘approved’ because this adjective cannot be applied to manufacture’s instructions. The modification to Section to R507.10.2 reworded the two sentences for clarity. The modification to Section R507.10.4 removes ‘approved’ because this would be confusing to the homeowner. The proposal provided good general prescriptive language for guards that will reduce the need for engineering of guards. The committee had several suggestions for better wording that should come forward in a public comment: Add ‘also’ to Section R312.1.4; ‘design’ instead of ‘construction’ in Section 507.10; revise ‘prevent’ to ‘limit’ in Section R507.10.1.1; joists are part of the deck framing, so the language in Section R507.10.1 is confusing. (Vote: 9-2)

RB186: Approved As Modified

Committee Reason: The modification restores rivets and puts in the term ‘glulam’ to be consistent with the term used in ASTM F1667. Adding the Class D is appropriate for this product. (Vote: 11-0)

RB187: Approved As Submitted

Committee Reason: The committee felt that the overall proposal is a good reorganization that add clarity to the code requirements. Item 3 in Section R507.3.3 is an alternative means that is currently allowed in Chapter 1. (Vote: 11-0)

RB188: Approved As Submitted

Committee Reason: This revision will clarify the engineering option for deck beams where fastened together. (Vote: 11-0)

RB189: Approved As Submitted

Committee Reason: This change clarifies the cantilever limitations. (Vote: 11-0)

RB190: Approved As Submitted

Committee Reason: The proposed footnote allows for a design that does not use the full cantilever, which will allow for a more efficient design. If you do not use this option, the table is more conservative. The commentary should include an example. (Vote: 11-0)

RB191: Approved As Submitted

Committee Reason: The revisions add clarification to the code and allows for better design practice for wood decking. (Vote 11-0)


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 Code Update

February 2019

By Glenn Mathewson

Thanks to the support of NADRA members we have shared our knowledge with others in the campfire discussions regarding deck code proposals for the 2021 International Residential Code.  There were 9 proposals submitted with our assistance and approval. The Deck Code Coalition is an informal group of generous professionals from a variety of backgrounds. Led by the steadfast efforts of Mr. Charles Banjai, a now retired code official and long-time contributor to code development, NADRA was able to work with these professionals toward well-developed deck codes.   While some disagreement remains and some is yet to be decided, it appears the majority of these proposals have broad support. Here is a brief rundown of what was submitted.

  1. Decking spans for single-span and two-span conditions.
  2. Ledger, joist, and beam design tables up to 50, 60 & 70 psf snow loads.
  3. Beam cantilever wording corrected.  Mostly clerical.
  4. Relocation of footing depth and frost protection provisions.  Mostly clerical, so interpretation can be more consistent and understood.
  5. Separates guards and handrails on the load table so future, more appropriate, minimum design loads can be determined for each independently.
  6. Provisions requiring guard post attachment to be secured to adjacent members in the deck framing.  Sets minimum guard post at 4×4 and with no notches permitted.
  7. Clarifies that multi-ply beams must be fastened together.
  8. An adjustment factor to allow longer beam spans when the joists do not cantilever beyond the beam and for various distances of cantilever.  This will allow more flexible use of the beam span table.
  9. Add an appendix for guard post connection details and for future provisions regarding specific deck designs.

While this milestone in the code development process is exciting, it’s just the beginning.  Anyone can submit a proposal and there are plenty of people interested in decks. Here are the next steps:

  1. On March 4th ICC will publish all of the proposed changes.  Previous years leave expectations at well over a thousand pages of proposals to review for deck-related provisions.  
  2. Once identified, the membership will need to decide. What’s good, what needs work, what is dangerous?
  3. Research and communication with others follows.  
  4. Then reaching out to the proponents of topics of concern to share and discuss, in hopes that agreement and compromise for better code can be achieved before the hearing.  
  5. Before the Albuquerque hearings this May, testimony has to be prepared in hope as the winning words for the committee.
  6. After these preparations, the hearing will commence and it will end, and the committee results will be published.  
  7. Next, all the research and networking will happen again as public comments are prepared and submitted.
  8. This is only to be followed by all the public comments being published and the review of all the surprises will begin again.
  9. Finally, all will conclude at the final hearings in October 2019.

If you are in the decking industry, we need your help.  The ideas are being discussed and the rules are being made.  You shouldn’t stand on the sidelines any longer. We need you in the game. There are two ways you can help in a big way.

1. Offer your time: To volunteer time, please email Info@NADRA.org and we will work with you and the code committee to see how we can best utilize your skills – most likely, helping to review the proposals in March.

2. Offer your monetary support: To contribute to the fundraising initiative, follow this link here to see what our goal and how the funds are being used to keep this effort moving forward. 

Major changes to ICC Guardrail Performance Criteria – Additional testing methods plus safety factor increased on AC-273

 

 

Update from NADRA’s Code Committee: 

You may have read this last week in our release revealing these new rules or criteria changes from ICC, however we feel it is necessary that we get the word out about these changes once more; and help bring clarity to the subject. This is an overhaul to AC-273 with big changes. These changes require manufactures and testing agencies alike to alter their testing methods to additional trials such as resembling “worse-case scenarios” to calculating scores with a grander safety factor. We urge everyone to take the time and get to know what is required; and contact your testing agency on how these changes will affect your railing (guardrail) program.  In addition, many in the industry have been discussing the likelihood that similar changes may be impending to AC-174; if you have any information on this please contact the NADRA code committee.

Your NADRA Code Committee has posted the statements of both NTA and ADI (Intertek) . See attached statements below:

Significant changes to ICC-ES AC273 for Handrail and Guards by NTA. Click to enlarge. 

Significant changes for metal guardrails ICC-EC acceptance criteria (Ac273) for metal guards by Intertek. Click to enlarge.

Reminder to all Handrail and Guard Manufacturers

Reminder to all handrail and guard manufacturers, in June 2017 ICC-ES approved significant revisions to AC273, Acceptance Criteria for Handrails and Guards.  NADRA recommends if you have an evaluation or code report for your product in accordance with this acceptance criteria you should contact the agency providing the report on how these changes will affect you.

In addition, due to these changes in AC 273, your Code Committee is interested in your input for discussing possible similar updates to AC174.

If you have feedback and information on your positions please send into: info@nadra.org where it will be forwarded to the NADRA Code Committee.

Steve Shields talks about AWPA Modifications

I appreciated the opportunity to participate in the treated wood panel discussion at the recent NADRA meeting.  It provided an opportunity to discuss recent changes to standards that have impacted not only how treated wood is recommended to be used, but have also encouraged more retailers to stock ground contact treated wood so that users can be less concerned about potential misapplication.  Just as important was the opportunity for me to hear comments directly from builders on shortcomings of the treated wood that they have experienced.  I believe that increased involvement of NADRA and other organizations representing retailers and users of treated wood in AWPA can result in continued improvement of standards and better treated wood products for users.

There are new rules for building decks and using treated wood.  Just as the American Wood Council updated its “Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide” in 2014 with new recommendations and methods, the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) has updated its standards with new information on how treated wood is to be used.  As associations involved with developing code requirements or standards that are referenced in the codes, both are continually looking for ways to improve the methods and materials used in wood deck construction.

AWPA is recognized by ANSI as a consensus standard writing organization and its standards are referenced in the International Building Code and International Residential Code.

Products not specifically listed in AWPA standards often use ICC Evaluation Service product reports as a means to demonstrate that products comply with the requirements of the codes.

AWPA has updated standard U1 and now requires that for use of sawn lumber in certain above ground applications that are either (1) subject to ground contact type hazards or (2) critical to the structure and difficult to replace now be treated for ground contact.  These applications include:

a) When there is a reasonable expectation that soil, vegetation, leaf litter or other debris may build up and remain in contact with the component.

b) When the construction itself, other structures or anticipated vegetation growth will not allow air to circulate underneath the construction and between decking boards.

c) When components are installed less than six inches above ground (final grade after landscaping) and supported on permeable building materials (e.g. treated wood or concrete).

d) When components are in direct contact with non-durable untreated wood, or any older construction with any evidence of decay.

e) When components are wetted on a frequent or recurrent basis (e.g., on a freshwater floating dock or by a watering system).

f) When components are used in tropical climates

AWPA M4 requires that treated wood that has been cut, drilled or damaged including abrasions or holes from removal of nails and spikes should be field treated with preservative.  While this has seldom been done in the central and eastern United States, it has been common practice on the west coast and in Canada.  Field treatment helps to protect the interior of the wood which has less treatment than the outer shell.

Preservative end cut solutions shall be used in accordance with the instructions and precautions listed on the product label. Acceptable end cut solutions for outdoor projects referenced in the M4 standard include:

(a) Copper naphthenate. Preferably containing 2.0% copper metal; 1.0% is OK if the higher in not available.

(b) Oxine copper. Containing a minimum 0.675% oxine copper (0.12% copper metal).

If suitable products cannot be found locally, an Amazon search for wood preservatives will give a number of options for copper naphthenate products.  Using the link http://www.chemtch.com/outlast-q8-pressure-treated-wood will take you to the supplier of the oxine copper product in quarts, gallons or 5 gallon pails.  While somewhat more expensive it is clear and has little odor.

AWPA M4 also requires that timbers used as columns should have an original factory end in the ground and that the top be field treated with preservative.

These changes to AWPA have encouraged many retailers to make ground contact treated wood available to their customers.  Builders requesting ground contact treatment will help to ensure this practice continues and provide you with a supply of treated wood product that will be durable regardless of the specific application.

Stephen C. Shields

Steve spent over 43 years in the wood preservation industry with Koppers Company and successor organizations until his retirement as Technical Director of Lonza’s wood protection business in May 2016.  He remains active in the industry, providing technical consulting services as the principal of Wood Protection Consulting, LLC.

He graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Wood Science and Technology and from Akron University in 1982 with a Masters in Business Administration.

Steve’s experience includes sales and customer support for preservative and fire retardant products, product development and research, technical product and plant production support, quality control, code and standards development and technical writing. He has been an active member of many associations including the American Wood Protection Association (1984- ), International Code Congress (and predecessor code organizations 1985- ), National Institute of Building Sciences, Wood Protection Council (1990-93) and the Western Wood Preservers Institute (1994 – 2016).

His primary activities now focus on American Wood Protection Association standard development and task group activities and building code evaluation reports.  He recently was awarded the American Wood Protection Association, Award of Merit for his service and contributions to the organization.

NADRA Education at RIDIJ 2016, Baltimore

What: ND01 – Deck Evaluation/ Inspection Certification Class for Industry Professionals

When: Wednesday, October 5th from 8am – 12pm. Presenter: Jim Mailey.

Cost: NADRA Member Price: $99  / Non-Member Price: $199

This four-hour session will teach the home inspector how to safely inspect a deck using the NADRA Deck Evaluation checklist. This checklist has been developed specifically for home inspectors as a comprehensive tool to be used to properly assess the safety of a deck. At the conclusion of this session, the home inspector will understand how to analyze the following deck components and issues: stairs, footings and posts, joists, joist connections, girders, ledger connections, deck boards, handrail assemblies and guards, recognize proper and improper fasteners, assess hardware or material corrosion, and review the safety standards of all (decks, stairs, guards) structures.

What: ND02 – A Trip Down the Load Path: Updated to 2015 IRC Provisions

When: Wednesday, October 5th from 1pm – 5pm. Presenter: Glenn Mathewson.

Cost: NADRA Member Price: $99  / Non-Member Price: $199

Now updated with all the new 2015 IRC provisions, this course completes the load path started in course 2, Ledgers and Lateral Loads. Decking, joists, beams, posts, foundations and even properties of the earth are covered, so that the entire structural system and related codes can be understood. This course also covers the topics in the NADRA Master Deck Professional-Codes 2015 certification renewal!

Upon completion of this course, attendees will…

Understand the basics of proper deck foundation design and construction.
Comprehend the concept of a load path and how forces are transferred through a structure.
Learn of various standards and sources for validating a deck’s structural system, but without an engineer.

Registration: You can register right here on NADRA’s online event registration portal.

Register Now