**<H4>[FONT=Verdana]It seems to me that Decks are far bigger a concern then Home Inspections .</H4><H4> I get about 10 a week on bad decks that come to my mail box and very few mails about Bad Home Inspections </H4><H4> What Can Happen To Old Or Poorly Constructed Decks](http://www.merchantcircle.com/blogs/Everflashing.651-491-0383/2011/2/What-Can-Happen-To-Old-Or-Poorly-Constructed-Decks/699989)</H4>In a recent article published in The Los Angeles Times, July 6th. of last year, a tragic deck collapse resulting in serious injury and death, is reported.
The deck was part of a three story apartment complex in a Birmingham suburb. Seven party-goers is all it took to create this tragic event.
Unfortunately, this is an all to common occurrence now days. Reports are continually surfacing, confirming the growing frequency of these serious, life threatening collapses.
Over the past several years, much has been done to address deck and stair safety issues, but we still have a long way to go.
One glaring example of the failure in deck and stair safety protocol is the industry standard of permitting “hot dipped galvanized” anchors, screws, hangers and other hardware to be in direct contact with ACQ, pressure treated wood.
The galvanic corrosion created between the high copper content of the wood and the galvanizing is so severe that the normal industry standard of G90 galvanizing will corrode in as little as 12 months and G185, such as Z-Max® can be gone in 24 months.
The industry (including code officials) has adopted G185 as a fall back position with no engineering testing available to substantiate the validity or longevity of this adoption……this is a “knee jerk” reaction and is an accident waiting to happen.
Without a barrier between the pressure treated wood and galvanized hardware, serious corrosion is inevitable.
Take for example the recent study released from Legacy Services that examined the number of injuries caused by outdoor decks and porches from 2003 to 2007.
The report states that 224,000 people were injured nationally due to a deck or porch over the study period. Nearly 15 percent of these injuries were a result of a structural failure or collapse.
The report concluded that of the 224,00 injuries, 33,000 were a result of a structural failure or collapse. The estimate for “serious” injuries resulting from those failures exceeds 18,000. Serious injuries included head trauma, concussion, major fractures, such as those associated with the back, and paralysis.
Wood decks are constantly exposed to the elements and they have a limited life span of 10-15 years. It’s important to have your deck and deck stairs inspected so that signs of wood decay and deterioration can be repaired.
Other codes address “rail post support” safety.
A rail post per code regulations is required to support a lateral load of 200 lbs.
This is a poorly enforced area of the code and with many inspectors content with the bump test. If it doesn’t move too much when they bump it with their hip, the rail will pass inspection.
Many rail posts are simply lagged or nailed to the rim joists and post which are mounted directly to the deck surface will simply not meet code.
The tragedy is, there are systems available on the market that correctly address this problem. Simpson, USP and Deck-Loc have brackets which will meet code for rim joist