The sun is shining and families across the country are spending more time on their porches and decks. It’s an ideal time for you as a contractor to contact your clients and offer a safe deck inspection.
Deck collapses are, unfortunately, not an uncommon occurrence in the United States. According to the International Association of Certified Homeowners, only 40 percent of the 45 million existing decks are estimated to be completely safe.
Most deck collapses occur during summer. So, now is the time to check that structures are compliant with today’s building codes.
To encourage compliant deck design, the American Wood Council (AWC) provides a free Design for CodeAcceptance 6 – Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide (DCA 6). The guide, available in both English and Spanish, offers guidance on what is required under the International Residential Code for safe deck construction as well as some additional recommendations. Several minimum requirements and limitations for wood deck construction include:
Aside from these minimum requirements, the International Code Council and North American Deck and Railing Association suggest inspecting existing decks for signs that a deck needs to be repaired. These include split or deteriorating wood, loose or missing anchors where the deck is attached to the building, and wobbly handrails or guardrails.
Wood, Naturally and AWC want everyone to enjoy their outdoor spaces and take full advantage of the summer season. Deck safety is a vital place to start.
John “Buddy” Showalter, P.E., AWC Vice President of Technology Transfer