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!
Recap of 2013 Group B Committee Action Hearing (Dallas, TX)
Last week the IRC code hearings were held in Dallas, TX. NADRA’s Technical Advisor, Glenn Mathewson represented the association on numerous proposals. This work is just beginning & your support is NEEDED on key issues that WILL effect your businesses and will effect this industry. Your support is encouraged so these efforts can continue on behalf of the membership and industry the association serves. NADRA Headquarters and the entire board would like to personally thank Glenn Mathewson for his time and efforts at these hearings.
Recap of 2013 Group B Committee Action Hearing (Dallas) – By NADRA Technical Advisor, Glenn Mathewson:
Take Action: Now that the ICC Committee Action Hearings are over, be sure to follow the link about the public comment hearings. The first recap of an approved proposal is a good example of WHY we need your support so we can continue to be heard at these hearings!
Here is a recap of proposed changes due to NADRA’s efforts at the hearings:
On Monday, April 22nd, the proposals to the pool and spa code were heard. SP47-13 was disapproved. Here was the proposal: “Walking surfaces of decks within 4 feet of a pool or spa that are not equivalent in the strength, durability and slip resistance of the surface of a concrete deck shall be prohibited. Wooden walking surfaces and carpeted walking surfaces shall not be placed within 4 feet of a pool.”
“RB143-13, proposing to return to measuring the height of a deck at the very edge of the deck (for determining if guards are required) was defeated with the help of NADRA. Our professionals stood by the actual hazard and the current code that requires that height to be measured at a point three feet horizontally from the deck edge. We know where our customers will hit the ground if they fall, and it is not directly at the edge of the deck. With integrity for our industry and an understanding of the actual determination of hazard, we stood, we spoke and we were heard.”
“RB145-13 proposing to eliminate the requirement to measure guard height from a fixed bench seat was approved. This requirement in the 2009 and 2012 IRC effectively put an end to bench seating. While some with small children may prefer not to have a bench against guards, the majority of our membership believe that is an individual choice, not a minimum standard. The architectural liberties of our customers are one step closer to returning to them. Other professional associations had helpful testimony to this goal, but our intimate perspective of how this affected our industry came only from us. This approval supports a balance between minimum design and safety, the latter of which can always be improved by the personal choice of the homeowner or builder.”
“RB75-13 proposed that all decks, detached or attached, ground level or upper level, regardless of materials, would be prohibited from being less than five feet from property lines to prohibit fire spread. NADRA stood and shared the reality that many noncombustible decking and framing materials are available. We explained that low level decks have different dynamics of fire spread than upper level decks. We described how this proposal would unnecessarily put the decking market at an unfair disadvantage to patio pavers and flagstone for ground level decks. The committee heard our sole voice on these concerns and unanimously disapproved the proposal. NADRA made it clear that work is needed to figure out how decks contribute to fire spread and how to regulate it in the code, but not to do it without us in the conversation. We plan to work with these proponents during the public comment period so we can get this issue figured out the right way.”
“RB74-13 proposed some serious consequences to the decking industry regarding placement of stairs. While well intentioned for other purposes, it was dangerously flawed. Imagine a deck connecting between a house and a detached garage. This proposal would have prohibited any stairs within five feet of the garage. Huh? No wide steps from house to garage on one side of the deck, even for a few steps to the backyard. NADRA stood against this proposal and the committee unanimously agreed and disapproved the proposal.”
“NADRA’S proposal, RB58-13, for replacing all use of the term “guardrails” for the IRC defined term “guard” has been approved as submitted unanimously by the committee. This simple change secures architectural freedom for guards, and that they don’t have to have a “rail”. On with the custom work of kitchens counters, planters, benches or whatever other feature that can be built to the requirements of a guard.”
“RB6-13 was approved. The size limit of 200sf for requiring a permit on low level decks was approved. This will allow more under bid decks to be built poorly, putting our professionals (who build right regardless of permits) at an unfair disadvantage. I encourage our members to support a public comment to disapprove this at final action.”