NADRA Produces Check Your Deck® Video Campaign to Educate Consumers about Deck Safety Month®
In 2006 NADRA, The North American Deck and Railing Association declared May as Deck Safety
Month®. NADRA's Deck safety program is an effort to save lives and prevent injuries.
After 7 years of promoting May as Deck Safety Month®, the association decided on a new method of reaching the masses this year.
The new video was produced using images and text to drive a strong message to consumers about NADRA's Check Your Deck® evaluation
forms and the 10-point checklist. The video can be found on NADRA's website at www.NADRA.org. The association posted the video to
their YouTube channel and to various Social Media Networks.
Michael Beaudry, Executive VP of 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 education programs and certifications
for home inspectors, code officials, engineers, architects, builders, distributors, lumberyards and manufacturers to improve proper
installation practices along with checklists and safety awareness information for consumers to follow."
The video can be used in making the consumer aware of the necessity of choosing a professional deck contractor, providing regular
maintenance and inspection, and knowing the limits of the deck structure.
The number of deck failures and resulting injuries has been increasing at an alarming rate. 40 million decks in the United States
are over 20 years old, so it's crucial for homeowners to check their decks. The purpose of the new video is to reach more people
in a shorter amount of time.
"I think NADRA drives home the message that decks don't last forever, they need to be maintained, and they need to be inspected.
As we turn to our decks for outdoor living, we must be aware of the hazards that can be created...and avoided." Says Glenn Mathewson,
NADRA's Technical Advisor & Master Code Professional.
NADRA is dedicated to increasing public awareness of the necessity for regular inspection and maintenance of existing decks and proper
installation of new decks. NADRA encourages you to redistribute the new video on your websites and different social media outlets.
Heather Beaudry, NADRA's National Program Coordinator and Social Media advocate states: "Technology and social media have made sharing
news second-nature to so many people. Social Media is word-of-mouth marketing, powered by technology in twenty twelve. Now that we have
produced a video like this, NADRA members, and now homeowners can follow, friend, tweet, share, like, post, and even pin this new video!
We can go viral, even on a non-profits budget! How cool is THAT?!"
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 programs
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.