A deck builder is an individual or a building company who tends to specialise in the building, restoration or repair of decks, balconies and balustrades. This can often involve inspecting old decks, which may either have been damaged or simply in need of repair.
There have been many anecdotal reports of deaths and injuries occurring where decks and balconies have either collapsed or have given way under a large weight. Because of the nature of such constructions, they are inevitably high off the ground, and if they are not structurally sound, can actually be quite dangerous.
Most states normally have quite stringent building requirements regarding decks, balconies, balustrades, stairs and elevated windows, which any builder must be aware of, and be able to comply with. Most states will carry up to date registers of professional builders and engineers.
Many houses throughout the country have decks that were built many years ago, often built using techniques that were thought sound at the time, but have since proved to be insecure or have simply rotted or rusted away over time. These defects may become clear in the event of a sale of a property, but for many people who have lived in a house for a long time, they will be unaware how potentially dangerous these areas can be.
Anyone owning a house with a deck or balustrade should be aware of the potential safety issues, especially regarding children. Child safety is a real concern and should be a major consideration when designing and building any type of construction involving a deck or balustrade. The real dangers are where children can climb over parts of a balustrade or climb on top of furniture or chairs that are on the deck and potentially fall over the side onto the ground below.
A deck builder should be used to regularly inspect and check on the safety of the structure of a deck and balustrade and to be able to assess any potential future damage there may be. There are a number of things they need to look for, including damage caused by termites, which can be a major issue in many areas of the country.
In addition, a builder should be able to assess the state of any timber that has been used in the construction of the deck, assess whether it is decaying or rotten and be able to estimate whether or not it is repairable. It is also important to check whether or not the timber has any build-up of soil which can indicate potential issues, and if there is any type of what looks like sawdust around the timber, which is often a sign of termite nests, and that the termites are active.
This is a really important element when building a deck to be able to assess whether or not the deck can withstand specific weights. It is estimated that 13 people standing on a deck or a balcony is a similar weight load to that of a small car. The builder must be able to assess and check that a deck is able to withstand such a significant load.
Inspecting decks and balconies
When a builder is inspecting decks and balconies there are a number of areas they need to look at. Primarily they need to inspect areas where the wood or timber joins other parts of the structure and see what type of joint or support is in place, bearing in mind that techniques used 30 or 40 years ago may not be considered safe or legal today.
The other areas they need to look at are fixings, especially post brackets, checking for signs of rust or decay, bracing, bearers and joints, ledges or poll plates.
For more information, contact a deck builder.