April, 2010
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

May is Deck Safety Month: Resources for You and Your Clients


How safe is your deck?” Is that a question that will catch the attention of your current and, hopefully, future clients?

If so, May is the time to join Simpson Strong-Tie, an ASHI Affiliate Gold Member, and the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) promoting Deck Safety Month and warning homeowners of the danger that may be lurking just outside their doors.

“The deck is the most dangerous part of the house,” says Don Bender, director of the Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory at Washington State University.

“Decks cause more injuries and loss of life than any other part of the home structure. Except for hurricanes and tornadoes, more injuries may be connected to deck failures than all other wood building components and loading cases combined.”

Building your marketing efforts around this campaign in May allows you to once again identify yourself as the knowledgeable professional who can objectively answer that question: How safe is your deck?.

NADRA recommends ASHI

Because the following information is from a NADRA press release, you may use all or part of it in your May is Deck Safety Month promotional materials:

The number of deck failures and resulting injuries has been increasing at an alarming rate. Between 2000 and 2008, there were at least 30 deaths reported as a direct result of deck collapses, and more than 75 percent of people on a deck when it collapses are injured or killed. With 40 million decks in the United States that are more than 20 years old, it’s important for homeowners to check their deck.

“A professional inspection will examine every inch of your deck, provide information on your deck’s capacity limits, identify any dangerous problem areas and give you a map of what to keep your eye on in the future. If your deck is older, this might include a regular deck inspection schedule,” says Mike Beaudry, executive vice president for NADRA.

Older decks require closer scrutiny. Many of these decks were built before code requirements were in place to protect consumers. Some of these decks may have deck-to-house attachments using only nails. If your deck is older, it is even more important to have it inspected by either a home inspector (NADRA recommends ASHI certified home inspectors) or a knowledgeable deck builder (see the listing at nadra.org).

If you find your deck is not safe to enjoy, NADRA advises taking immediate action to have it repaired or rebuilt as necessary.

For more information, visit www.nadra.org.

Free Literature From Simpson Strong-Tie

Simpson Strong-Tie invites ASHI members to download “5 Steps to a Safer and Stronger Deck” from its Web site, add your contact information and include the literature with your own May is Deck Safety Month promotional materials.

Please respect Strong-Tie’s copyright and do not alter the literature. Permission to use the flier is granted with the provision that there are no deletions or changes.

You can be a respected source of home safety information in your community. Start by focusing on decks during May.

Download the brochure at http://www.safestronghome.com/deck/04.asp.

Online bonus

News stories often report that decks fail because of being overloaded with people. Bender, however, disagrees. “Many decks collapse before they reach their code-required design load,” Don Bender, director of the Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory at Washington State University says. “In fact, we’re lucky that we don’t load the decks to their capacity.”

(Excerpted from “Making decks safer,” by Tina Hilding, Washington State University.)

Read the entire article here.


Additional Deck Links

Anyone Can Build a Deck, by Bob Mulloy, ASHI member, published by North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA)

JLC Guide to Decks & Porches, published by The Journal of Light Construction