Check your deck so it doesn’t collapse this summer

Inspector J.J. Carr checks out a deck in Wake Forest.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Before throwing a cookout this holiday weekend, experts on deck safety are warning about potential dangers.

In June, six people were killed when a balcony collapsed in California.

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Last year, an Indianapolis family sued when their deck unexpectedly gave way.

And two years ago this week, 21 people were sent to the hospital after a deck collapsed at a vacation home in Brunswick County in North Carolina.

Those are scenes Raleigh building inspector Richard Leon Skinner is trying to avoid during the city’s current building boom.

“We’re busy right now,” Skinner said. “We’re doing 40 new single families a week.”

New apartments are popping up everywhere and changing the face of the city. Skinner says new balconies and decks under construction should be safe, thanks to mandatory inspections during construction and modern state building codes that have made building requirements more strict.

J.J. Carr, the inspections director for the town of Wake Forest, said many issues with decks and balconies stem from overloading, aging and build quality. Older decks might be attached to a home using nails, but modern state building codes now forbid that. Now, decks must be attached to a home using bolts.

Experts also recommend having your deck inspected for water damage 10 years after it’s built and then every three years after that.

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