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deck bench

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[#1] Posted: 08/30/2009 - 9:45:15 PM
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I wrote this deck bench up as a safety hazard. The drop on the other side is about 14 feet.

Do you write these up?



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John Dirks Jr - Arundel Home Inspection LLC - MD license: 29827
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[#2] Posted: 08/30/2009 - 10:01:03 PM
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Absolutely. I write it up if it's four feet.
Joe Hancaviz
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[#3] Posted: 08/31/2009 - 02:47:07 AM
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I also write them up. Never seen anyone change them.
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deck bench
[#4] Posted: 08/31/2009 - 04:26:49 AM
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So, you guys think that the back of the bench should be 36 inches above the seat? What about the adjacent rail?
Chad Fabry
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[#5] Posted: 08/31/2009 - 07:42:51 AM
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Someone was obviously concerned about that bench when they installed it. When I see these, the opening below the seat is never covered and there is almost always a gap in the back rest that violates the 4" sphere rule. I might advise my client to be cautious when there are children on the deck, but I wouldn't write up that bench in my report.

It's hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like those are metal bench brackets. All of the ones I have seen tend to be very bouncy, and I would be critical of the way they are attached regardless of how far above grade they are.

Tom

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[#6] Posted: 08/31/2009 - 08:47:42 AM
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I understand the concern about someone standing on the bench and falling over. But I wonder would it raise the same concern if it were not attached? How about if there was no bench, and there were chairs next to the railing? It is possible for someone to stand on a chair. Then again, it's also possible for someone to sit (or stand) on top of the rail and fall over. WHere does it end?

Is there code that would apply for this scenerio?

Steven Turetsky, UID#16000002314
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[#7] Posted: 08/31/2009 - 11:14:44 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by Chad Fabry

So, you guys think that the back of the bench should be 36 inches above the seat?

I do.

Quote: What about the adjacent rail?

The portion within reach of a kid standing on the bench.

Joe Hancaviz
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[#8] Posted: 08/31/2009 - 11:27:14 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by StevenT

I understand the concern about someone standing on the bench and falling over. But I wonder would it raise the same concern if it were not attached?

If the bench looked like it was original to the deck and was going to stay after the sale, I'd write it up.

Quote: How about if there was no bench, and there were chairs next to the railing? It is possible for someone to stand on a chair.

A chair isn't part of the property. It wouldn't be there when the buyer took possession.

Quote: Then again, it's also possible for someone to sit (or stand) on top of the rail and fall over. Where does it end?

A kid would have to climb the rail or push something next to it to get up on it. THAT, I can't control.

Quote: Is there code that would apply for this scenerio?

Not that I've found. But if there's a reasonable possibility of something being a hazard, I write it up regardless - wouldn't you?

Joe Hancaviz
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[#9] Posted: 08/31/2009 - 11:35:14 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by John Dirks Jr

I wrote this deck bench up as a safety hazard. The drop on the other side is about 14 feet.

Do you write these up?



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I don't see no bench. I see a narrow deck without an adequate guardrail.

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[#10] Posted: 08/31/2009 - 12:17:03 PM
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I never thought about this stuff much until one day a few years ago I was doing a rooftop deck on the 17th floor of a downtown high rise.

There were all these multi-level decks and railings (designed by one of those celebrity designer types) that went right up to the edge of the roof; when viewed as decks they were amazingly cool, but viewed another way, they created a literal stairway up to the edge of the 17th floor roof.

As I was pointing this out, the customers young daughter starting running up the "stairs", and got within a couple "risers" of the roof edge before her paniced father caught her. Given another couple seconds, she'd have been at, or over, the edge.

There's no particularly good argument for not pointing out poorly designed deck guardrails.

Some law schools have entire curriculums based on deck litigation. There's a reason.

Kurt in Chicago

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[#11] Posted: 08/31/2009 - 6:03:36 PM
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This topic is well plowed ground over on the code forum.

It is not technically a code violation but is an obvious common-sense violation. Tag it, flag it, and flog it.

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[#12] Posted: 08/31/2009 - 6:15:22 PM
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I write them up whenever I see them. I tell my client why I am concerned, and let them know that if small children will occupy the home, they may want to do something about it.

Forteen feet is quite a ways to fall. Then again, kids bounce well compared to adults.

Brandon

Portland Home Inspector
   
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