Website Sponsor:

Simpson Strong Tie Demos

The Simpson Strong-Tie Deck Demo Progam are live, interactive demonstrations presented by top industry experts.

These demos and sessions cover a range of topics. Like all sessions in the Show Floor Education, the Simpson Strong-Tie Demos are free to attend - included with any registration pass. The sessions will occur in the Simpson Strong-Tie Demo area on the show floor.

Day 1: Monday, November 13

  • 11:00 a.m. – Footings, Posts and Beams
  • 12:15 p.m. – Resisting Rot, Decay and Corrosion
  • 1:15 p.m.  – Dr. Decks
  • 2:30 p.m. – Ledgers
  • 3:30 p.m. - Lateral, Connections, Joists, Railings and Stairs


Day 2: Tuesday, November 14

  • 11:00 a.m. – Footings, Posts and Beams
  • 1:30 p.m. – Resisting Rot, Decay and Corrosion
  • 2:30 p.m. – Ledgers
  • 3:30 p.m. - Lateral, Connections, Joists, Railings and Stairs

Day 3: Wednesday, November 15

  • 11:00 a.m. – Footings, Posts and Beams
  • 12:00 p.m. – Ledgers
  • 1:00 p.m. - Lateral, Connections, Joists, Railings and Stairs

Decks Done Right Presentation Series

Footings, Posts and Beams– Building a safe and strong deck starts at the ground level, and that means having a sound concrete footing with the proper post base that supports the post and loading above.  This steel embedded base properly attaches the post to the footing to resist lateral and uplift forces, and as the post continues up to the beam, proper connections must be made to support the deck loads from above.  In this session, you learn how to properly find minimum footing sizes as prescribed by the code and will find out about the variety of post bases and metal connectors offered when constructing your deck beginning at the foundation level.

Ledgers – One of the most important and primary connections on your deck is that of the ledger back to the home structure. Though a common cause of deck failure is when the ledger pulls away from the primary structure, resulting in complete collapse, when this critical wood member and the fasteners that attach it to the home are properly constructed, the load path is completed to help restrain the deck from collapse.  Learn about the code requirements and the fasteners and connectors that are necessary in order to maintain support from the deck all the way back into the primary structure.

Lateral Connections, Joists, Railings and Stairs – For decks that are partially supported by your home, or any adjacent structure, the connection between the deck and that structure is vital.  So when lateral forces such as wind, earthquake, or the forces caused by people on the deck surface moving back and forth are imparted on the deck, code requires that decks be restrained to the house to resist these forces.  We will discuss the lateral load connectors and fasteners required to keep your deck connected to your home when these forces occur, as well as the joist members that are supported by the ledger.

A crucial connection pertaining to deck safety that is often inadequately constructed is the guard post and railing connection both surrounding the perimeter of your deck and the guard and fall protection of the stairs.  Code requirements for railing height, resisting forces, post connection, holdown detailing and guardrail infill to name a few are several items that are not always put together properly. Learn what to look for when making sure that these members and connections are fastened and connected properly, and find out more about stair stringers, treads, guard opening limitations as well as the forces that these areas must be able to resist.

Resisting Rot, Decay and Corrosion – Most deck experts say that the average life expectancy of a typical deck is somewhere between 10 to 20 years. When decks are exposed to the elements, deterioration, rot, decay and corrosion can occur on both the wood members and steel connectors and fasteners.  We will discuss the primary warning signs to look for on an existing deck, as well as learn more about the different coatings and steel specifications in addition to the various types of wood treatment that we should expect to see under some of the different weather, location and outdoor conditions.

Dr. Decks –a.k.a. Jason Russell, has been a deck builder for over 30 years and over that time has established a reputation of providing high quality and creative builds, while providing outstanding service to his customers. His passion for creating the ideal outdoor living spacing on every deck project he is a part of is apparent in the finished product he delivers. Dr. Decks will host a live Q & A / general discussion session in the Simpson Strong-Tie booth where he plans to discuss and field questions on some of the more interesting and complicated builds he has been a part of as well as talk about his experience building with Simpson Strong-Tie product. His presence on social media has also grown greatly over the last several years where the Dr. not only shares insight on the decks that he builds but has also helped spread awareness on the proper ways to build code compliant decks.  

Instructor Bios

Simpson Strong-Tie: Scott Fischer
Scott is a licensed professional engineer in the state of California and has worked with Simpson Strong-Tie since 2006 where he is a Senior R&D Engineer and has been the spokesperson for the Deck Safety Demonstration and Decks Done Right presentation series for the past nine years.  Currently he is the lead engineer for the Strong-Rod Systems product line where he designs, develops and manages products for the Anchor Tiedown System (ATS) and the Uplift Restraint System (URS).  He has also worked on the concrete cast-in-place connectors and anchors product line and helped develop the current acceptance criteria as well as performed the testing and code report requirements needed for those products.  Prior to joining Simpson Strong-Tie, Scott worked for nine years as a consulting engineer where he specialized in the design and analysis of concrete structures, including post-tensioned slab design, concrete lateral systems and foundation design.  Scott received his bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. 

Simpson Strong-Tie: Rachel Holland
Rachel Holland is a licensed professional engineer in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. She joined Simpson Strong-Tie in 2011, spending her first five years at the company as a Branch Engineer supporting the Northwest U.S. region and the next five years as an R&D Engineer working to develop numerous new products. During her time in R&D, she was responsible for straps, hurricane ties, and deck connectors. Her product innovations include the creation of the BVLZ, the only retrofit solution for ledgers through brick veneer.  In her newest role as the Engineering Supervisor for the Southwestern U.S. region, Rachel provides technical support and continues contributing to the educational efforts by Simpson Strong-Tie through lunch and learns, workshops, and webinars. Prior to joining Simpson Strong-Tie, Rachel worked as a consulting engineer, specializing in residential design. Rachel has a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, an MBA, and is a  named inventor on multiple patents.

Simpson Strong-Tie: Billy Viars

Billy Viars is the Education and Training Manager for the Southeast with Simpson Strong-Tie Company, where he has been employed for over 25 years.  He is responsible for developing, maintaining, and delivering educational content at workshops, webinars, and various other formats.  Billy also provides technical support to customers and field representatives alike on topics such as building codes, product usage, and product testing.  Additionally, he is active with the Deck Code Coalition in conjunction with the International Residential Code.  He works with many organizations to provide continuing education programs across the US and in recent years throughout the Caribbean and South America as well.

Guest Speaker: Jason Russell – AKA Dr. Decks

Jason Russell is the Wild Child of deck building and design. His creative out-of-the-box thinking has brought to life the most amazing, innovative and award winning one-of-a-kind outdoor living spaces. He is known worldwide as Dr. Decks. 

Because Jason has adapted some of the world’s most current technology and robotics into his builds, it has fueled him into the World of Small  Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Also known as drones, Jason is using this exciting technology to grab a new perspective on Outdoor Living. Couple this with an affliction for two wheeled steel horses and you can see that this is no ordinary carpenter on a mission to dominate the World of Outdoor Living.

Jason lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where he's been building custom decks under the alias of Dr. Decks LLC for the past 32 years. Jason is a Master Artist when it comes to heat modification of man-made deck board and railing products. He adds these works of art to his decks to create unique, awe-inspiring masterpieces. This is why he is labeled by his peers as "The Rebel Carpenter".  

Jason has inspired an entire new generation of builders through his social media channels to be more than ordinary and not to be afraid to fail. Paying it forward has granted Jason a massive following on Instagram with over 320,000 followers and he is the most organically followed specialty deck builder on the site in the world. Jason resides in Tacoma, WA with his beautiful wife Kiki and talented son Calvin.