Q. In the article "Building Safer Decks" (6/11), Glenn Mathewson notes that the IRC's prescriptive bolting schedule is limited to uniformly distributed loads and that you may be able to use a tighter fastener schedule to account for a doubled joist that carries a headered opening for steps. Some code inspectors treat the double joist as a girder carrying a point load and don't permit attachment to the ledger board at all, based on IRC section R502.2.2.2, "Alternate Deck Ledger Connections," which says, "Girders supporting deck joists shall not be supported on deck ledgers or band joists." I'm wondering how Glenn applies R502.2.2.2?

A. Former deck-builder Glenn Mathewson, now a building inspector in Westminster, Colo., responds: While the new ledger bolting table in the 2009 code is useful, I'm less impressed with some of the other new deck-related provisions. As for the prohibition you ask about, I've researched its intent and how it came to be in the code, and I...

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