NADRA Update: Best Practices, Labels, and Safety
As the voice of the decking industry, the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) represents manufacturers, retailers, installers, and all industry professionals. That responsibility includes promoting safe practices, ensuring consumers have clear, consistent information about products and installation, and representing the industry in the building code process. Here are a few of the key issues NADRA is focusing on in 2017:
Pressure Treated Lumber
Last year the American Wood Protection Association updated its standards clarifying when and where certain types of treated lumber can be used for a deck. NADRA, the leading deck building association in the U.S., is working with members and industry pros at large to better understand the level of awareness they have on these changes, as well as how they are applying these standards. Designing and building with the number of different types of pressure treated lumber requires the attention of all industry pros, so they understand the right products to use in the construction applications they are designed for.
The association will continue to work on this important area in the year ahead. This includes working toward a set of NADRA best construction practices to help guide manufacturers, dealers, installers, and end users on installation techniques.
CPAC Product Labeling
NADRA’s Consumer Product Awareness Charter (CPAC) is a labeling program we are developing to help level the playing field in how consumers and builders understand and compare different decking materials. Ideally, it also provides a way for the industry to regulate itself.
With the initiative, buyers will be able to look at the end tag, sticker, or tear-off sheet of a decking product and see how the product fares across four or five characteristics. As a result, they can more easily make apples-to-apples comparisons on key attributes such as color retention and heat resistance. The information will be presented consistently from brand to brand and based on independent reviews of each manufacturer’s testing. We expect this to be a minimal cost impact for manufacturers, while providing dealers with a powerful tool to help grow sales and encourage consumer confidence in the materials they select, leading to greater material sales with higher satisfaction across the industry.
We are excited about this program, expected to officially roll out by end of 2017, because we’ve seen similar successful programs in other categories. For example, the vinyl siding industry used a similar strategy to combat low-quality products that were damaging the reputation of their product category as a whole.
Communicating safe decking standards remains a top priority for NADRA. We continue to focus our efforts on educating both pros and consumers on proper deck installation practices as well as on consistent deck inspections. Our Check Your Deck program, for example, reminds homeowners that just because a deck looks sturdy and feels sturdy, it’s still important to walk around and check each area of their deck from all sides, at least once a year. They should look for corrosion or loose fasteners, check for rot and deterioration, ensure railings are well secured, and more. When in doubt, we encourage consumers to call an expert to conduct a professional inspection.
The NADRA website offers numerous deck safety tools for both consumers and pros, including an illustrated inspection guide, a 10-point deck safety checklist, a directory of inspectors, and a members-only professional decking safety toolkit. These and other resources can be found and downloaded at www.nadra.org.
A new focus area for us this year is fostering outreach and engagement to improve communication on all levels of the industry. One of those areas is encouraging lumber dealers to interact not only with the manufacturers they currently sell; this is the best way to fully understand what innovations are coming down the pike and what’s next for our ever- evolving industry. Dealers can leverage NADRA events for these networking and education opportunities. We also encourage LBM dealers to get involved on committees at the regional or national level. You’re not just a number; your membership brings ample opportunities for interaction that can pay dividends in your local market, and the industry at large.
Whether you’re already a NADRA member or are thinking about it, head over to www.nadra.org to take advantage of our educational resources that can elevate your deck expertise and sales.