Did you miss the JLC LIVE conference and trade show in Providence, Rhode Island, last week? Too bad — but here's a look at one of the entertaining, and educational, moments from the show. As they have in years past, Simpson Strong-Tie put on a live demonstration to illustrate what can happen if the fasteners holding a deck ledger to a building fail in service. Take a look.

Simpson Strong-Tie Deck Collapse Demo, JLC LIVE March 2016

Live from JLC LIVE, Simpson Strong-Tie demonstrating what can happen if the deck ledger structural connection to the house fails in service.

Posted by JLC: The Journal of Light Construction on Friday, March 18, 2016

Fun is fun, and nobody was hurt in this demonstration, of course. But actual deck collapses in the real world often cause injury, and sometimes death — so understanding the critical connections required for a strong deck is a significant responsibility for builders. One of the best ways to educate yourself on strong deck ledger attachments (besides, of course, reading Hanley Wood's Professional Deck Builder magazine) is to consult the deck details handout published by the Fairfax County, Virginia, building department (see PDF: "Fairfax County, Virginia, Typical Deck Details, Based on the 2012 Virginia Residential Code"). Fairfax County engineers were involved in a multi-year effort to revise and update the International Residential Code's prescriptive requirements for deck construction, and the county typically adopts the most current International Code in a timely way. So it's usually a good bet that the jurisdiction's requirements and public information are complete and up to date.