Deck Issue questions

Hey Guys, I was hoping you guys could help. I inspected a deck that had some issues, but I wanted make sure that these are building code issues. 1st off the deck was built using 2 x4 for joist. I’ve seen in the code that it can be used if the span is 6’ 7" or less. Please confirm on that one. Also, They installed a post for a railing 12" prior to the railing ending. I could not find any information on this question. Only that the handrail needs to be graspable (which it is not) . They have also spliced together the post for the railing. Which the didn’t have a long enough 4x4 and cut in half for about 8-10 inches. I think that is just shotty craftsmanship, but again I could find anything detailing that in the code.


Why, are you performing a code inspection? What code are you inspecting from? What state? What year?

No, it’s not a code inspection. State is South Carolina. A business built this deck recently within the last few months, but the work is just horrendous and wanted to make sure I had all my information straight.

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Is it a commercial property?

JJ’s link above is what I use as a standard. (I do not reference the standard in my report, but I suppose you could for informational purposes.)

Not commercial property but was called in specifically for a deck inspection. The person is disabled and wanted to make sure it is ADA acceptable also.

IRC does have deck codes. You need to find out what codes are adopted in your locality. Call for permits issued (if required). Some counties publish their own deck standards (usually adopted from one of the sources listed, but you need to know what one).

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It has a ramp? Lift?

Sounds like they did not pull a permit and they want you to clean up the mess so they can go after the contractor?

Yes, be very adept at the needs for ADA, if that is what you agreed to with your client.


Pictures may help you if you have some.

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It is a deck that has a lift on the side of it that is installed

Yes, please post pictures.

As you’ve already pointed out the handrail is not graspable. But you need to know your local adopted codes. Handrails could have been written out locally. Isn’t that lift supposed to have some gaurdrails?

Here’s where they spliced the 4x4s together

Write hard.

Any pictures of the ledger or is it a free standing deck?

Obviously built over an old stoop unconventionally.

Plenty of issues there.

Spliced/notched guard posts
Undersized materials
Lack of thru bolts.
Sidewalk does not look wide enough
Threshold leading into the house is likely too high
Missing handrails

These are things I would call out. I’m not a code inspector.

ADA is another pile of worms.


It is attached to the house, but very difficult to access to due to an old porch being underneath. No lag bolts connected to the house, couldn’t see any flashing.

Thanks, I am on the same page and did call out. just wanted another set off eyes to make sure I was correct. Thanks for all the responses and help. Really appreciate it

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All so, inadequate tread nosing.


The DCA6-2015, as previously referenced, seems to be the most thorough authoritative standard. If you are going to be doing more deck specific inspections, in addition to what Nachi has I also recommend the ASHI Advanced Deck Inspection course. It refers to both IRC and DCA6 throughout the entire course and provides guidance on how to inspect decks to a recognized standard beyond a typical home inspection. When you are done, you’ll realize that there is pretty much no deck in existence that doesn’t have defects.