Last month, we were proud to announce that Jeff Mudd, the owner of Best-Rate Repair, earned his certification as a Deck Master Professional from the North American Deck & Railing Association. In order to receive this certification, Jeff had to complete four advanced courses and pass a test for each course. The courses were:
- Understanding the Existing Structure
- Structural Design I – Ledgers and Lateral Loads
- Structural Design II – A Trip Down the Load Path
- Non-Structural Provisions
We think it’s important that you understand the knowledge and credentials of a contractor before hiring him or her to work on your home. With that in mind, we wanted to let you know all the things Jeff had to learn to earn his certification.
The first course in the certification program educates contractors on the relationship between a deck and the existing building that it will attach to. Every building a contractor works on must meet specific building, plumbing, mechanical, electrical and gas codes, and it’s important for a contractor to be fully aware of these codes before performing any work. This course guides contractors on how to fully integrate a deck with a home.
Structural Design I
Deck builders must have a very strong understanding of different lumber properties and an appreciation for various loading designs. Decks must be able to support a lot of weight for many years as well as stand up to the elements. Different woods respond differently to construction techniques. This course looks at these issues and also provides a detailed review of ledger attachments, flashing methods and structural consideration. The ledger and flashing of a deck are critical to keeping a deck attached to the home. Many deck accidents occur when the ledger gives way and the deck collapses away from a home. You can see why this course is so important!
Structural Design II
This course adds onto the content in the Structural Design I course and provides detailed information about decking, joists, beams, posts and foundations – all critical components of a deck. If a joist is weak, a beam is out of place or a post isn’t planted deep enough any one of these issues could spell disaster for the deck. This course also looks at the entire structural system of a deck as a whole, so contractors can appreciate the part every feature plays in the completed design.
Non Structural Provisions
There’s more to building a deck than just getting the structure right. A knowledgeable deck builder must also be aware of the non-structural building code regulations for components like stairs, ramps, landings and handrails. Builders also learn how to build decks that can accommodate extra amenities that many clients ask for, like hot tubs, lighting, gas-fired equipment, piping and new doors.
As you can see, this certification wasn’t easy, but the additional knowledge was well worth the effort. We’re all very proud of Jeff, and he is eager to show off his new skills on his next deck construction project in San Diego. Will it be for your home?