Porches and decks are meant to be for relaxation and fun. When you think of heading out to the porch you probably think of putting together a nice bar-b-que with your family. Firing up the grill, adding the meat and the fixings and sitting back and taking in the beautiful day. Or perhaps your personal use of the porch is sitting in comfy deck chairs and watching the sun set with your best friend or lover. Unfortunately, sometimes these structures that are meant for relaxation and fun result in tragedy and loss.
Porches and decks can turn into deadly places to hang out when they collapse. Porch collapses happen all over the United States in a variety of different places. Serious injury or death can happen during porch/deck collapses at:
• Apartment buildings-this has been a particular problem with complexes that were built during the 1950s and 1960s when building codes were not as stringent and the methods for porch design were fairly new.
• Houses-a porch collapse can be a nightmare for both home owners or landlords who are then responsible for the collapse and injury of a renter.
• Office buildings-when office buildings have structures that collapse, the building owner can be held responsible for every injury that occurs.
• Public areas such as parks-huge porches are common in public parks where visitors will bar-b-que for fun with the family or for birthdays. These places have a particularly large risk of collapse as they will have many, many people use them throughout the day and are often fairly old as well.
The Main Causes of Porch Collapses
There are many reasons that tragedy can strike when people are enjoying a porch, balcony or deck. It is important to always be aware of the possibility for collapse. If you ever have a strange feeling about a porch, balcony or deck, take the safest route and simply avoid stepping onto it. It may be old or rickety. But the reason does not matter, you and your families’ safety does.
Some of the top reasons for collapse include:
• Poor design-this is often true if someone who does not know what they are doing builds the structure. A professional should always be hired when building a porch or deck.
• Over capacity
• Poor construction
• Failure to re-inspect