Two prominent trade associations representing the decking industry have joined forces in a move that may help composite lumber products and manufacturers gain clout with building code organizations.
The Washington-based Composite Lumber Manufacturers Association and the Meridian, Idaho-based North American Deck and Railing Association Inc. have formed what they are calling a ``strategic working alliance.'' The alliance will fight code issues and distribute engineering and marketing information to both composite board makers and pressure-treated lumber deck companies.
``This provides our members access and credibility,'' said Russell Snyder, CLMA executive director, in an Oct. 31 telephone interview. ``It's a huge opportunity to work with the largest share of the market.''
Code language and approvals are a big part of the motivation, Snyder said. ``If we can get contractors and manufacturers agreeing on code language, it will become easier for composite lumber to get into the market [and provide] the best applications for safety on decks,'' he said.
NADRA Executive Vice President Michael Beaudry said his organization represents the entire decking industry - including composites.
``I'd like to say we can handle it all, but we can't,'' he said. ``When you look within composites, they have a set of obstacles just like everyone else.
``This will provide a united voice for the whole industry, and [CLMA members] are going to help themselves by making sure the composite message is clear.''
Beaudry said he hopes cooperation between the organizations ultimately will lead to solid industry data that can be shared with the entire decking industry.
``No one really knows the real numbers,'' he said. ``As different pieces of the industry are put together under one group, we might start getting a real clear understanding of how big this industry is.''