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I don't like them because there always seems to be a headline story of collapses and because many that I come across are a unique design and just don't look right. Attached are pics of this deck about 20' off the ground on a hillside in earthquake country (California). Deck has been there a while but just looks like a moderate quake or maybe an overzealous woodpecker could bring it down. Have a looksie and I appreciate any comments.

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I don't like them because there always seems to be a headline story of collapses and because many that I come across are a unique design and just don't look right. Attached are pics of this deck about 20' off the ground on a hillside in earthquake country (California). Deck has been there a while but just looks like a moderate quake or maybe an overzealous woodpecker could bring it down. Have a looksie and I appreciate any comments.

The first thing that jumps out is the teeter-totter beam at the far outboard end.

The second thing is the slenderness of the posts in their narrow dimension.

Then, I see poor connections between the posts and the beams. I really don't like that Tee-shaped connector in the second picture.

I also wonder about lateral support. When you stand at the end of the deck and sway back & forth, does the deck sway with you?

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There was a deck article in JLC a while back in which the author said that 100 Lbs per square foot of deck was not an unreasonable figure to use for deck design. Do a little measuring and multiply the SF by 100 then consider if the ledger and three spindly legs would be up to holding up that much weight beyond doubt.

BTW, what's holding up that outside corner in the background?

Marc

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I'd be canning that thing as a disaster in waiting.

Just because it's still there isn't a testament to adequacy.

Yup. Pretty amazing you're required to have at least 40 hrs of class training to be considered "competent" by OSHA to build scaffold, but uncle meanswell and cousin thirtypack can do pretty much whatever they feel like when it comes to one of these wooden scaffolds.

It reminds me of the time I sent a laborer to get parts for a pole and knuckle scaffold we were sent to tear down. I had to make it safe to be on before I'd step out on it to take it apart.

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Thanks for all the input. Just re-affirmed the way I felt about it. This is one of those 2 million dollar properties that has undergone "extensive renovation" including the deck. They made it pretty up top with new composite surfacing and rails but left the original substandard structure supports. Oh and they included a nice bench against the guardrail at the highest point just so the kids can have a nice platform to plunge from. Pic attached.

To answer Marc's question, the far corner is cantilevered off the house.

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