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NADRA'S DECK SAFETY PROGRAM
An effort to save lives, and prevent injuries

Is Your Deck Safe?

2012 Deck Safety - Deck Evaluation Form

2012 Deck Safety - Consumer Checklist

2009 Deck Safety - Simulated Deck Collapse - NADRA WWA Chapter

2009 Deck Safety - Simulated Deck Collapse - Simpson


May is Deck Safety Month

Improving Deck Safety - 2011

Dealers can save lives and prevent accidents while expanding their sales by encouraging customers to refurbish the millions of unsafe decks nationwide.
By Craig A. Shutt, a senior contributing editor of LBM Journal, has nearly 30 years of experience covering the LBM industry.

Building material dealers looking to expand their deck sales can accomplish that goal while helping customers avoid future problems and even prevent injuries. By encouraging consumers to have their decks inspected and having contractors suggest an inspection during other work, dealers can tap into a large inventory of decks that need to be repaired or brought up to adequate struc- tural-integrity levels. "Our number-one priority to the public is to ensure that the decks they and their families enjoy are safe," says Mike Beaudry, executive vice president of the North American Deck & Railing Association in Quakertown, Pa. To bring awareness to this issue, NADRA has cre- ated campaigns and educational pro- grams for builders, lumberyards and manufacturers aimed at upgrading deficient decks to ensure they are safe. The biggest concern is deck collapse and railing failures, he notes. These failures occur for a variety of reasons, especially due to old age, poor maintenance, improper building methods or exceed- ing load capacity. Heavy snow loads during the winter in northern regions can weaken the deck, necessitating an inspection in the spring before high levels of activity return.

Large Inventory of Older Decks
Older decks especially need scrutiny, he says. "Many were built before code requirements were in place to protect consumers. Some of these decks may have deck-to-house attachments using only nails. Others have become weakened through the years, and the owners don't realize how close to collapse they may be."

"Deck failures can be avoided," he says. "It's a matter of making the consumer aware of the necessity of choosing a pro- fessional deck contractor, providing regu- lar maintenance and inspection and knowing the limits of the deck structure." The problems will continue to grow, he notes, as there are more than 40 million decks in the country that are more than 20 years old. "That represents a tremendous opportunity for dealers," he points out. "By making homeowners and businesses aware of the need to have their decks and porches repaired, we help prevent or reduce these needless injuries and deaths. While we do, we can tap into the large market that is currently underserved."

Inspection Forms Available
NADRA has begun building relation- ships to include reciprocal agreements with the three major inspection associ- ations, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the National Asso- ciation of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) and its international branch (INTER NACHI), which have more than 25,000 home inspectors. The inspectors use a four-page deck-inspection form created by NADRA to ensure every part of the deck is reviewed.

The inspection form includes eight key areas: ledger connections, posts and footings, post-to-beam connections, joists and joist connections, stairs, deck boards, handrail assemblies and guards and miscellaneous. Each section asks key questions about structural supports and connections, such as post sizes, fastener types and specific design aspects as well as any visible indications of corrosion or weakness. Hints for what to look for and what is not allowed also are provided. The checklist provides homeowners with guidelines for what areas need to be repaired, and they or the contractor can show this report to a dealer to get the materials needed to restore its condition. The group also offers a separate one-page Consumer Checklist that lists 10 key signs that the homeowner's deck needs attention. The 10 key areas outlined are split or decaying wood, flashing, loose or corroded fasteners, railings and banisters, stairs, cleaning and maintenance, grills/firepits/chimneys/heaters/candles, lighting and electrical, outdoor furniture and storage, and surrounding trees.

Both forms can be downloaded above and can be distributed to homeowners and contractors who come into the store. "If dealers can put these pieces into the hands of contractors who are in the home performing work already, there's a great chance they can make homeowners aware of the need to examine their deck and upgrade it."

In addition, researchers at Virginia Tech University, in cooperation with the International Code Council have produced a "Manual for Inspection of Residential Wood Decks and Balconies." The manual, intended for use by home inspectors, renovation contractors, consulting engineers, homebuilders and building-code officials, includes inspection-planning needs, what to look for, structural calculations and formats for reports.

Says Frank Woeste, a deck-safety expert at Virginia Tech who helped develop the inspection manual, "I'm aware of deck collapses when no one is on them, demonstrating the need for homeowners to determine their deck's structural integrity." The manual can be ordered from the NADRA Web page. Encouraging homeowners and contractors to be aware of deck deficiencies can help prevent accidents and boost dealers' sales at the same time, notes Beaudry. "By doing the right thing, we begin to tap into the large inventory of existing decks that need our products and services, doubling or tripling the number of deck projects in a year while also protecting homeowners from harm. Together, we can reach out and make a difference."

Craig A. Shutt, a senior contributing editor of LBM Journal, has nearly 30 years of experience covering the LBM industry.


May 2009 (ARA) - Your deck is the perfect place to enjoy the warm weather with friends and loved ones. But an unsafe deck could possibly collapse, causing serious injuries to you and your guests.

The number of deck failures and resulting injuries has been increasing at an alarming rate. Between 2000 and 2008, there were at least 30 deaths reported as a direct result of deck collapses, and more than 75 percent of people on a deck when it collapses are injured or killed. With 40 million decks in the United States that are more than 20 years old, it's important for homeowners to check their deck.

The North American Deck and Railing Association is dedicated to increasing public awareness of the necessity for regular inspection and maintenance of existing decks and proper installation of new decks.

A key element of enjoying your deck for years to come is making sure it is safe and code compliant. NADRA's "10-Point Consumer Safety Checklist" is an efficient way to take a good look at the different parts of your deck, with an eye to what might need maintenance, repair or replacement. Safety first, fun second -- make sure your deck is safe to enjoy.

You might also consider a professional inspection. "A professional inspection will examine every inch of your deck, provide information on your deck's capacity limits, identify any dangerous problem areas and give you a map of what to keep your eye on in the future. If your deck is older, this might include a regular deck inspection schedule," says Mike Beaudry, executive vice president for NADRA.

Older decks require closer scrutiny. Many of these decks were built before code requirements were in place to protect consumers. Some of these decks may have deck-to-house attachments using only nails. If your deck is older, it is even more important to have it inspected by either a home inspector (NADRA recommends ASHI-certified home inspectors) or a knowledgeable deck builder (see the listing at nadra.org). NADRA member deck builders are required to adhere to a code of ethics and comply with state licensing and insurance requirements.

If you find your deck is not safe to enjoy, NADRA advises taking immediate action to have it repaired or rebuilt as necessary.

To choose a deck builder, NADRA offers the following tips:

* Ask friends and family members for referrals and contact state and local licensing authorities and trade associations such as NADRA.

* Meet with and carefully evaluate all potential deck builders. Ask to see a portfolio and some samples of the decking and railing materials they prefer to use. Good builders take pride in their work and will be enthusiastic about the possibility of creating a relationship.

* Pay attention to the deck builder's experience, licensing, insurance coverage and professional references.

When hiring a deck builder, there is more to consider than just price. In addition to the tips above, NADRA recommends homeowners contact their city or county building department to speak with an inspector knowledgeable about deck construction.

For more information visit www.nadra.org.

Courtesy of ARAcontent


NADRA'S DECK SAFETY PROGRAM - Article 2008

(ARA) - As spring approaches, thoughts turn to sprucing up the yard, the garden, and spending more time outdoors. Part of gearing up for this time of year is making sure your deck is safe and well-maintained.

A deck can be the perfect place to spend time enjoying the weather with friends and family. A well-built and maintained deck offers a safe haven for outdoor living. However, an improperly built or deteriorated structure can mean disaster. A deck collapse can cause unnecessary, and often serious injuries, and even death. In an effort to save lives and prevent injuries, the North American Deck and Railing Association, Inc. (NADRA) declared May as Deck Safety Month in 2006. Now in its third year, the Deck Safety Month program helps increase public awareness of the necessity for regular inspection and maintenance of existing decks, and proper installation of new decks.

The number of deck failures and resulting injuries has been increasing at an alarming rate. Between 2000 and 2006, there have been at least 30 deaths reported as a direct result of deck collapses and more than 75 percent of people on a deck when it collapses are injured or killed, illuminating just how important it is for homeowners to check their deck. There are 40 million decks in the U.S. that are over 20 years old. At a conservative 1 percent, that means 40,000 decks are currently in need of repair or replacement. Taking that estimate to 10 percent brings the total number of unsafe decks to 4 million.

Mike Beaudry, executive vice president for NADRA states, "Our number one priority to the public is to ensure that the decks they and their families enjoy are safe. NADRA takes this responsibility seriously and has created campaigns and educational programs for the builders, lumberyards, and manufacturers to improve proper installation practices along with checklists and safety awareness information for consumers to follow."

Reasons for a deck collapsing can range from age of the deck, poor maintenance and exceeding load capacity to improper building methods. Deck failures can be avoided. It's a matter of making the consumer aware of the necessity of choosing a professional deck contractor, regular maintenance and inspection, and knowing the limits of the deck structure.

Its time to Check Your Deck! Homeowners should visit NADRA's website at www.NADRA.org for the Check Your Deck - 10-Point safety checklist. "May is a great time to make your deck-check," Beaudry says. "In parts of the country where there's a lot of snow and ice, your deck could have developed a trouble spot over the winter." Beaudry adds, "If you've never had your deck professionally inspected, make that appointment. A professional inspection will examine every inch of your deck, educate you on your deck's capacity limits, identify any problem areas, and give you a map of what to keep your eye on in the future. If your deck is older, this might include a regular deck inspection schedule."

If you find your deck is not safe to enjoy, NADRA advises taking immediate action to have it repaired or rebuilt as necessary and recommends the following tips to choose a deck builder.

* Ask friends and family members for referrals and contact state and local licensing authorities and trade associations such as NADRA.
* Meet with and carefully evaluate all potential deck builders. Ask to see a portfolio and some samples of the decking and railing materials they prefer to use. Good builders take pride in their work and will be enthusiastic about the possibility of creating a relationship.
* Pay attention to the deck builder's experience, licensing, insurance coverage and professional references.

A key element of enjoying your deck for years to come is making sure it is safe and code compliant. When hiring a deck builder, there is more to consider than just price. In addition to the tips above, NADRA recommends homeowners contact their city or county building department to speak with an inspector with knowledge in deck construction.

For more information on Deck Safety Month, the Check Your Deck program and finding a reputable deck builder, visit www.nadra.org.

NADRA, Deck Safety Month, and Check Your Deck are registered trademarks of North American Deck and Railing Association. All rights reserved.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

NADRA'S DECK SAFETY PROGRAM - Article 2007

Tips for a Safe Summer Season on Your Deck

April 23, 2007 (ARA Content) - Gas prices are on the rise again, the number of people traveling is down and families are choosing to spend more time at home enjoying their decks. And with so many accessories available that make the yard an oasis -- from solar fountains and fire pit tables to stainless gas grills -- the deck extends the living space and creates an at-home vacation spot.

Whether for entertainment, family time or just quiet enjoyment, a well-built deck offers a safe haven for outdoor living. A deck offers increased square footage and better pay back than a kitchen or bath remodel. As with any sound investment, it's important to do proper maintenance to preserve the integrity of the deck.

The number of deck failures and resulting injuries has been increasing at an alarming rate. Between August 2004 and December 2005, the U.S. news media reported 225 injuries and one fatality from deck collapses caused by ledger connection failures. Many more deck failures -- with and without injuries -- went unreported in the media.

In an effort to save lives and prevent injuries, the North American Deck and Railing Association, Inc. (NADRA) declared May as the first Deck Safety Month in 2006. Now in its second year, the purpose of the promotion is to increase public awareness of the necessity for regular inspection and maintenance of existing decks, and proper installation of new decks.

Reasons for a deck collapsing range from age of the deck, poor maintenance, exceeding load capacity to improper building methods. Deck failures can be avoided. It's a matter of making the consumer aware of the necessity of choosing a professional deck contractor, regular maintenance and inspection, and knowing the limits of the deck structure.

Mike Beaudry, executive vice president for NADRA states, "A simple, annual deck inspection doesn't take long or require special tools, but it's a great investment. It can help prevent unnecessary accidents, and keep a deck a safe place. Each May, we will encourage homeowners to get an annual deck inspection, with the goal of reducing the number of deck injuries suffered each year."

"May is a great time to make a deck-check," Beaudry continues, "especially in locations where there's a lot of snow and ice, as a deck could develop a trouble spot over the winter. A professional inspection will examine every inch of a deck, evaluate the deck's capacity limits, identify problem areas and provide a map of what to keep your eye on in the future."

Researchers at Virginia Tech University in cooperation with the International Code Council have produced a "Manual for the Inspection of Residential Wood Decks and Balconies." The manual is intended for use by homeowners, home inspectors, contractors, engineers and builders interested in the inspection of residential wood decks. Frank Woeste, a deck-safety expert of Virginia Tech, who helped develop the inspection manual, notes, "I'm aware of deck collapses with no one on them, further demonstrating the need for homeowners to get involved and interested in their deck's structural integrity."

Complete a deck check every May for Deck Safety Month, and you'll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your family and friends can safely enjoy your deck all summer long. NADRA's 10-Point Deck Inspection Checklist is available here.

For extra safety, check out any deck accessories you use. As with any source of fire or heat, such as grills, fire pits, heaters of any kind and candles, make sure they are safely placed away from flammable surfaces, use caution and follow manufacturers' directions. Make sure steps and pathways are well lit and all lighting, electrical outlets and appliances are up to code, in good condition and childproof if necessary.

Test all deck furniture for sturdiness. Childproof storage boxes and benches. Store all dangerous products safely away from children, including barbecue lighter fluids and matches. If you have trees surrounding your deck, look for decaying or broken limbs that could fall on the deck.

Courtesy of ARA Content.

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Photo of Deck Collapse

Photo courtesy of Simpson Strong-Tie.

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Related Articles, News and Info:

Deck Collapse Article

All Decked Out

Deck Inspections - A Matter of Life and Death

Who Is Qualified To Inspect Your Deck?

"Summer Issue 2006 - Wood Design Focus - Deck Design and Construction"
providing supplemental information to the "Manual for the Inspection of Residential Wood Decks and Balconies"


Glenn Mathewson introduces his Deck Construction Code Book

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