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

AWPA U1 Standard Revisions Appealed

 

AWPA U1 Standard Revisions Appealed Due To Lack of Data and Data Omission

Sunbelt Forest Products Appeal AWPA U1 Standard Revisions; Requests Changes Be Rescinded

May 31, 2016, 09:00 ET from Sunbelt Forest Products

 

BARTOW, Fla., May 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Sunbelt Forest Products has announced that it will file, this week, an appeal of the American Wood Protection Association’s (AWPA’s) recent revisions to the U1 standard for above ground outdoor wood applications. The revision recommends the use of ground contact lumber for outdoor structure components that are “difficult to maintain, repair or replace and are critical to the performance and safety of the entire system construction.”

The appeal to the AWPA’s Executive Committee will be based on the fact that important technical data on product performance was omitted during the presentation on the proposed change.

“The proponents of these changes violated Section 5.5 of the AWPA Technical Committee Regulations requiring revisions be based upon relevant and adequate supporting data and Section 7.3, which requires that proposals to adjust standards be accompanied by a written statement that relevant data was not omitted,” said Ken DelleDonne president of Sunbelt Forest Products. During the presentation, proponents (which use a micronized copper azole treatment system for above ground lumber) showed photos of structural failures with above ground treated wood that they claimed were representative of widespread problems. They did not present actual statistical data to back up these claims, however.

“But this spring, when these same proponents were seeking to have micronized treatment standardized by the AWPA, they were suddenly able to produce data showing its efficacy in above ground applications.  This was in direct contrast to the statements they made during the consideration of the revision, and would have likely materially impacted the outcome of the proposal consideration,” DelleDonne added.

“This was four-year-old data that they certainly were familiar with before the submission of the proposal to modify the U1 standard and that should have been presented during the consideration of its revision,” DelleDonne said.  “According to AWPA bylaws, if data is withheld the proponent should be advised to either provide written explanation as to why the data was withheld or to resubmit the proposal at a later date to include relevant data.”

Any explanation for the data omission would be suspect, he said. “It seems highly unlikely that the same proponent who had only pictures to show during the revision presentation was unaware of the existence of this data that would have created legitimate concerns about the need for any changes in the U1 standard.”

“If the AWPA is going to remain the standard bearer for the pressure treated industry, it must recognize the questions about the validity of these important guidelines, questions that are raised by the omission of key existing data, whether intentional or accidental,” DelleDonne said. “The AWPA’s responsibility is to get the standards right on an industry-changing guideline like this one. We need to reconsider the proposal with all the facts, not just a few pieces of select information.”

Causes for concern: Commercialization, environmental impact and unnecessary costs

Sunbelt Forest Products is also expressing some misgivings about the possible commercialization of the AWPA U1 standard by members who could benefit from the changes. DelleDonne said the issue is important because the revised U1 ground contact standards have caused confusion in the industry and have caused unwarranted price increases. They could also be harmful to the environment long term.

“Some retailers and wood treatment companies appear to be under the mistaken impression that all treated wood used in outdoor applications must meet ground contact standards. But this is not the case,” he continued. Most recently, the AWPA T1 Education Task Force, a subgroup of the Technical Committee, worked in conjunction with the Softwood Lumber Board and Western Wood Preservers Institute to produce an infographic on the recent U1 standard revision that shows very clearly that joists and beams can use lumber treated to UC3B above ground, exterior construction standards.

Despite this graphic, certain producers and suppliers are forcing their retail and contractor customers to switch to all ground-contact wood because they say it is required by the AWPA revision. When only ground contact wood is available, retailers and contractors are forced to pay higher costs not only for the more heavily treated lumber but also for the more robust fasteners required with such wood. There are also environmental concerns, since ground contact lumber contains more copper than wood treated for above ground use.

“Large treaters, representing 70% of the total market, have used this revision as the basis for forcing their customers to all ground contact material, resulting in a 15% increase or more in retail prices,” DelleDonne said. “The rationale for the revisions was said to be misapplication of above ground treated products by consumers, however, our data shows misapplication occurs significantly less than 1% annually, making the revisions unnecessary and a costly correction to a problem that occurs once out of millions of successful installations.”

He also noted that even if there is a problem, it may be related to the type of treatment used for above ground wood. Companies that treat wood with Ecolife, ACQ and CAC have not experienced the quantity of problems that the non- AWPA standardized micronized treatment customers are reporting with their above ground lumber.

There are also concerns about the adoption of the revised AWPA standard by the International Building Code (IBC) and the International Residential Code (IRC). Both serve as the basis for state and local building codes in the U.S. and both reference AWPA Standard U1 in their requirements for deck construction.

“We are on a slippery slope of adding significant cost and environmental implications to the entire building construction industry on a revision based entirely upon irrelevant, incomplete data,” said DelleDonne. “The whole issue needs more discussion–and discussion backed this time by all available hard data.”

Specific requests in appeal

Sunbelt Forest Products will formally request several actions in its appeal of the revision to the Executive Committee:

  • Rescind the AWPA Standard U1 2015 revisions relating to above ground and ground contact due to lack of relevant data and procedural abeyance resulting from data omission
  • Resubmit the revision proposal at a later date including ALL relevant data.
  • Immediately withdraw, prior to official printing, the U1 2015 revisions relating to above ground contact from the AWPA’s 2016 Book of Standards
  • Notify the ICC to withdraw ICC AC326 Revisions as the AWPA U1 standard is in question due to data omission and lack of relevant data.
  • Notify the IBC and IRC that the revisions to AWPA U1 standard is in question due to data omission and lack of relevant data.

The AWPA by-laws state the Executive Committee will give written notification of its decision. Given the immediate ramifications of the proposed revisions, Sunbelt Forest Products is going to request expedited consideration of its appeal.

Sunbelt Forest Products of Bartow, Florida, a wholly owned subsidiary of PalletOne, Inc., is one of the largest pressure treaters in the Southeast. Operating three locations in Alabama and Florida, Sunbelt’s manufacturing capabilities exceed 300 million board feet of pressure treated wood per year.

 

SOURCE Sunbelt Forest Products

 

AWPA and ICC Approve New Treated Wood Standards

NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Michael Beaudry
NADRA Executive VP
215-679-4884
Info@NADRA.org
 

 AWPA and ICC Approve New Treated Wood Standards

ICC-ES AC326 – The  ICC final effective date of implementation is July 15, 2016.

Quakertown, PA (February 16th, 2016) Many of you may or may not be aware of the discussions that have been taking place regarding potential changes to Treated Wood Standards moving many structural and critical items to a Ground Contact treatment retention level.

Those New Standards have now passed the AWPA (American Wood Protection Association) and the ICC (International Code Council). The ICC final effective date of implementation is July 15, 2016.

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.

This mission includes the promotion of proper deck construction, deck safety and ultimately serving the best interest of the consumer. While the Association is made up of professionals from all industry segments, we are aware that consumers use a significant amount of treated wood in DIY projects. The consumer is usually not knowledgeable enough to be able to know the proper uses for which treated wood product they are buying and therefore misuse and misapplication can occur.

Ground Contact treatment is necessary for physically above-ground material when:

  • Soil or other debris may build up and stay in contact with the wood
  • There is insufficient ventilation to allow air circulation around the wood
  • Material is installed <6 inches above the ground
  • Material is installed in contact with non-durable untreated or older construction with any evidence of decay
  • Wood is subject to frequent or recurring wetting
  • Wood is used in tropical climates
  • The wood is both:
    • Difficult to maintain, repair or replace and
    • Critical to the performance and safety of the entire system

Joists and beams for decks and docks fit both of these final criteria and therefore require Ground Contact treatment. Other Ground Contact applications include Ledgers, Posts, Step Stringers and Decking used at Ground Level and on Walkways.

ICC-ES AC326 Sample Table - The ICC final effective date is July 15, 2016

NADRA looks forward to the implementation of the New Standards as a step forward in the industry to providing those who enjoy Outdoor Living with a better, safer improved product and experience.

If you have questions, comments or concerns regarding these changes, please fill out the online form found HERE

Please visit www.NADRA.org to learn more about your Association, it’s mission, education and services that it provides to industry professionals and consumers.

ABOUT NADRA

NADRA is made up of deck builders, inspectors, manufacturers, dealers/distributors, wholesalers, retailers, lumberyards, outdoor living professionals and service providers to the deck and railing industry. By working together, we can be one voice for the industry and deliver a clear message to the consumer and the code development bodies. NADRA serves as a trade association with emphasis on safe building practices, and deck safety.

 ###

Copyright 2016,  The North American Deck and Railing Association, NADRA.  This material may not be  rewritten or redistributed without following these instructions:

If you would like to use this Press Release, please include Info@NADRA.org in your communication. Use only an excerpt, followed by this exact link to read the Press Release in its entirety: http://bit.ly/AWPAICCNewTreatedWoodStandards  Thank you!

Title: Revisions for 2018 IRC

Title: Revisions for 2018 IRC

If you have specific questions, comments or concerns let us know by filling out the form found below:

Below are 2 documents from the Deck Code Coalition, which contains a detailed list of each item they are recommending for revision with the 2018 IRC with comments and highlights in the “ICC Format”, as well as a “clean” copy of the rewritten code sections with the updates included.

Please note that these documents are still “under construction”, and further revisions and improvements to wording should be included. However, the DCC has offered to share this preliminary information with NADRA members in an effort to build broader agreement and unity in how we are working to improve the code we all work under.

Composite Changes

R507 Rewrite

If you have specific questions, comments or concerns let us know by filling out a form found HERE

Thank You,
Matt Breyer
NADRA’s chair for our Code & Education Committee

 

NADRA Events Happening at DeckExpo

DeckExpo is just days away! Here is an easy-to-follow guide to all things NADRA happening during our time in Chicago.

If you want to make a difference while getting the most of your NADRA membership, GET INVOLVED! If you are interested in the work the Association is doing in the areas of growth, code and education, GET INVOLVED!  Please take a look and register/RSVP for the meetings below.

See you soon!

Sincerely, Your Home Team at NADRA Headquarters

  • Oct. 15 — 7:30 a.m.: Structural Design II — A Trip Down the Load Path /NADRA Master Deck Professional Codes and Standards / Register HERE
  • Oct. 16 — 7:30 a.m.: NonStructural Provisions/NADRA Master Deck Professional Codes and Standards / Register HERE
  • Oct. 17 — 8 a.m.: Outdoor Living Design and Sales/NADRA Master Deck Professional Codes and Standards / Register HERE
  • Wednesday, October 16th, 2013: 6:00pm NADRA Main Event at Howl at The Moon, 2013 National Deck Competition Winners Announced!  /Registration details can be found HERE
  • Thursday, October 17th, 2013: 11:00am NADRA Code Meeting, Glenn Mathewson – Code Summary of 2015 IRC Code Hearings/Location: NADRA Office, Room E256 /  Register via Facebook HERE
  • Thursday, October 17th, 2013: 12:30pm NADRA Education Committee Meeting / Location: NADRA Office, Room E256 / Register via Facebook HERE
  • Thursday, October 17th, 2013: 1:30pm NADRA Code Committee Meeting / Location: NADRA Office, Room E256 / Register via Facebook HERE
  • Thursday, October 17th, 2013: 2:30pm NADRA Membership / Growth Committee Meeting / Location: NADRA Office, Room E256 / Register via Facebook HERE
  • Thursday, October 17th, 2013: 5:00pm NADRA Annual Meeting / Location: NADRA Office, Room E256 / Register via Facebook HERE
  • Friday, October 18th, 2013: 10:00am NADRA / VisionScape, John Porco – Design and Sales Program Overview / Register via Facebook HERE
  • Friday, October 18th, 2013: 11:30am NADRA / Milford Enterprise, Jeff Atkins- Dealer Merchandising in the buildings and materials industry program / Register via Facebook HERE

 

The 2015 IRC is Complete, Glenn Mathewson

NADRA attended the Public Comment Hearings on October 4th, 2013 to serve and protect the decking industry in the development of the 2015 IRC.  I’m happy to say that we did that job well, and have little to fear in the new provisions now decided.  Here’s a review of the topics we spoke on.

RB6: Approved at first hearing and turned to disapproved at final hearing. 

Approved in the first hearing, this proposal would have removed the maximum 200 square foot area for low-­‐level decks to not require a permit, as well as allow them to be attached to houses. With deck codes so rapidly changing, this is not the time to reduce verification and put an economic gap between decks built correctly by professionals and those built by others. More importantly, the larger the deck, the more probable hazards there can be and the more our industry will be tarnished with “horror story” projects. We spoke against this deregulation that was approved in the first hearings and a 2/3 majority overturned it. We started the hearings out showing that we aren’t just in it for ourselves, but for our industry.

Read full recap HERE.

By: Glenn Mathewson, MCP

NADRA Technical Advisor

Your Future; This Week

October 1st, 2013

Your Future; This Week

As this hits your inbox, I’m likely in route to Atlantic City, New Jersey to represent, support and defend the decking industry.  This week, your future will be decided in the 2015 International Residential Code.  On my last day to prepare before leaving Colorado, I’m nervous, but excited.  Most of all, I’m proud.  I’m proud because we’ve achieved one of the most important aspects of code development…recognition.  The code development process is complicated, cumbersome, and difficult just at published face value, but there is also a professional, dare I say social, aspect to it.  Recognition, respect and trust are vital to this work.  Here is where I feel NADRA has succeeded, and this will be the foundation for all code development work now and into the future.  Every year this process occurs for different codes, and every three years for the IRC.

There’s a lot at stake this year in code development.  Will you be installing hold-downs on every guard post, or will you be free from installing them on every ledger?  Will all decks be outright prohibited from within 5 feet of property lines?  Will there finally be joist, beam and post sizing provisions available to ease design validation?

What won’t be at stake this year is NADRA.  We have demonstrated our commitment to our vision and mission statement for code development, and we have been appreciated for it.

Vision: Safe decks with well-thought-out engineering and a common sense practical approach to code requirements.

Code Mission Statement: To advance and protect industry interests in the code development arena and to promote member involvement; to promote governmental and agency reliance on NADRA as a voice for the industry; to create and maintain relationships with key government agencies and code officials; to be a forum for the discussion, study, and investigation of proposed and existing model code development, federal and state legislation and programs, and to report such findings to the Board of Directors and the Membership.

We have contributed heavily to an informal discussion group regarding deck codes and during the committee hearings in May.  We have worked with other professionals and organizations on shared proposals, and we have provided assistance to proposals of others.  We have made it clear that we are here, ready and willing to be a part of any discussion, work, or progress regarding the standards of the decking and railing industry.  We expect to be a part of it.

While we may not exactly know the course the decking industry is sailing, we are in the pilot’s cabin.  However the votes go on Thursday and Friday of this week, we know that we we’re heard and respected.  We ARE the voice of the decking industry, and we have been and will continue to speak.  However, we are also the ears of the industry, as we cannot speak for it without first listening the to all segments.  With no cards up our sleeves and no hidden agendas, we have opened ourselves up to listen and respond honestly to all that are willing to share their opinions, ideas, concerns and experiences.  We have asked for compromise and mutual understanding.  We have encouraged learning from each other and finding common ground.  We have respected the segments of the industry, all of which deserve such, and regardless of our agreement or not.

This has been a good year for NADRA in code development, and I am proud to have been at the heart of it.  Thank you, NADRA members and the industry at large, for your support of my work, our work.  Thank you for trusting me with this job.

I’ll do my best to keep you informed on hearings live through my Facebook and Twitter accounts, but you can certainly expect a full recap after the hearings…after a long nap.

Glenn Mathewson, MCP

NADRA Technical Advisor

When There’s No Public Comment

September 18th, 2013

When There’s No Public Comment

NADRA Technical Advisor – Glenn Mathewson

 

If a proposal in the IRC code development process doesn’t receive a public comment, the vote from the first hearing is generally the final result.  With the recent publishing of the public comments, we can now see what the 2015 IRC is starting to look like.  It’s been a lot of work keeping up with the high-profile deck code proposals on the table this summer, like the monstrous 268 with a depth of un-agreed-upon prescriptive code provisions that would rock the industry or the one that already has…the lateral load anchor.  Those most certainly received public comment, but there were other less glamorous proposals regarding our industry that did not.

NADRA had a simple proposal, RB 58, suggesting to change all wording of “guardrail” to “guard”, to seek consistency with the IRC defined term “guard”.  The definition for guard allows any assembly that meets the performance and geometric requirements.  This proposal was approved by the committee and received no public comment to challenge it.  With this code modification, no safety to deck guards was compromised and the cost to construction did not increase.  However, a more clear description of the architectural playing field was provided.  A win for all, and “rails” for those that want them.

NADRA was asked to support proposal RB 145 from the Colorado Chapter of the International Code Council, seeking to remove the requirement for measuring guard height from fixed seating.  We gave great testimony in support during the hearings, as did the Minnesota Building Officials Chapter.  All proponents agreed that deck safety and backyard freedom must be balanced on the scale, and this regulation was too far a reach for a building code.  The committee agreed, and no one challenged it.  Should the bulk vote go as it always does at the final hearing, built-in bench seats will no longer affect guard height.  Developing IRC provisions (minimum standards of construction) is different than developing best practices or appropriately accommodating your clients.  Take care to evaluate the needs of your client and help them find the level of safety that’s right for them.  If their kids are jumping on the couch while your designing their deck…maybe don’t suggest those benches.

Even if NADRA’s proposal for deck and joist span tables, RB 264, is not approved at the final hearing, the flexibility it provided for blocking at dropped beams will still be accommodated by the NAHB’s proposal RB 247.  With no public comment, the first approval will likely stand, and blocks between joists cantilevered no more than two feet will no longer be required.  This may be very helpful for deck drainage systems and for minimizing locations for trapped water and decay.  Keep in mind that without blocking, the material connected to the top and bottom of the joist is what resists the rotational force the joist is subjected to.  Be sure you’ve got good connections to the beam below, and be careful about using a concealed fastening system for the decking that only relies on friction.  The blocking served a purpose; the argument for the code modification is that in short cantilevers these connections can do the job.

The proposal RB 253, which would have prohibited supporting joists from the bottom half of another member, was turned down, and did not receive comment.  While perhaps a rare design necessity, this proposal would have restricted opportunity for some deck design, but without clear evidence of the benefit.  However, coming from the American Wood Council, there’s certainly an engineering basis for their proposal.  Though a short-spanning 2×6 likely won’t rip the bottom half of a 2×12 beam apart, I’m sure a creative designer could come up with a loading condition that could be questionable.

RB 260 proposed that the “permitted” hold down anchors for lateral loads must be installed at the outer 24 inches of the ledger.  This proposal was approved and received no direct public comment.  However, in light of the recent research from Washington State University, NADRA submitted a public comment modification to remove this anchor detail altogether.  If you haven’t seen the video, take a look.  It will be worth your 13.5 minutes.  Click HERE to view.  If not successful, at least the new location for the permitted anchors, at the ends of the ledger, would be at the highest point of load concentration per the WSU testing.  One small bit of real science to a detail not otherwise scientifically justified.

There is a lot to be learned in the code modification process.  While we may not all agree on every proposal, they usually all have a justification reasonable to someone or some group.  Don’t take that lightly.  Take what can be learned from ideas and experiences of professionals looking to increase the minimum standard…and use it to increase the knowledge behind your best standard.

Never forget the difference between minimum standard and best standard, and the freedom and the market that thrive on the distinction.

BUILDING CODE OR PRODUCT CATALOG?

August 21, 2013 – Glenn Mathewson, NADRA Technical Advisor

How many hold-down anchors does it take to build a deck?

The development of the 2015 IRC is halfway through, and there’s likely going to be some new regulations for the construction industry to adjust to.  For the decking industry, there’s lobbying working to create new building codes around specific product lines.  We’ve already seen the costly results of including “permitted” details in the code depicting specific products.  The lateral load anchor detail, that was published this way in the 2009 IRC, is quickly read as “required” by many building departments.  Now, as new research is revealing that ledgers fair quite well without lateral anchors, there is a proposal seeking to “permit” the use of anchors on every guard post in the 2015 IRC.  Will history be repeated and this also be read as “required”?

Proposals like this risk turning a standards document into something that looks more like a product catalog.  More importantly, this lobbying, if successful, adds significant time and cost to deck installations in an increasingly competitive industry, while at the same time limiting design options and architectural freedom.

There’s a lot on the table this year in the development of the 2015 IRC.  NADRA has submitted a public comment modification that reveals new information about ledger connection performance and seeks to remove the 1500 lb. lateral-load anchor detail from the IRC.  At the same time, NADRA is fighting against proposal 268 that seeks to include new requirements for guard construction, complete with pictures of specific hardware.

LATERAL LOAD REQUIREMENTS-RB263

Proposal 263 seeks to include an exception to the lateral-load anchor for decks that are less than 30” above grade.  While sensible, an exception to something merely “permitted” does not make much sense, and implies that what is permitted is actually required.

 With new and exciting test results from Washington State University, NADRA’s public comment to RB263 attempts to remove the lateral-load anchor not only for low-level decks, but completely from the IRC.  It turns out…people can only generate so much lateral load, and lag screwed ledgers can resist a whole lot more…four times more, and the test was stopped before the ledger ever failed.  With a force four times greater than humans could generate, deflecting the deck 17 inches to the side, ripping the joists down the center…the ledger with nothing but lag screws held.  The rim joist in the house held.  The necessity of a 1500 lb. anchor clearly serves questionable value.

Does this detail belong as a minimum standard of deck construction now that the performance of a lag-screwed deck ledger is known to be quite sufficient?

Read Full Article HERE

See  RB 268 details HERE

GIVING VOICE TO NADRA MEMBERS

 If the issues of increased costs, inflexible design, and heavy-handed industry regulation with no material benefit matters to you, consider joining me at the code hearing in Atlantic City NJ on October 3 and 4th.  Your presence, your voice, your attention and your passion will make a difference…after all…it is YOUR industry.  Stand up and fight for it, but don’t do it alone.  If you want to know more or get more involved, please contact me at glennmathewson@nadra.org.  Together we can bring truth and insight to the development of the building codes.