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Dangerous deck


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I was hired by an owner to evaluate various cracks that they were concerned about. All of the cracks were typical shrinkage type cracks. Most of the cracks were hairline cracks in block foundation walls-and I mean hairline. It took me a while to convince the owner that the cracks were not a concern.

When I went around the back of the house I took one look at the deck and told her that it could collapse at any time. she told me the deck was very sound. Even after showing her the concerns I had a very hard time convincing her that this was serious. We walked up the deck steps and I looked over to the bad side. She immediately walked right over the that area. They have owned the house 21 years and the deck was already built, so it was not like she was trying to defend someones work. Hard to figure out some people.

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Looks like about four inches of fall back toward the house too.

We might guess there has never been a crowd on it.

Good call. I did not mention that, but I thought someone might point it out. The deck actually dropped very little at the house. It looks like the footings heaved out of the ground.

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Why do people hire experts and then disregard all the advice they paid for and the stuff they got as a bonus?

Any thoughts on what liabilities would be if you had not 'looked around the corner' and seen the condition of the deck? I hope we are all using good contracts when we are doing 'targeted or focused' inspections and list specifically what we will be looking at and the exclusions.

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Why do people hire experts and then disregard all the advice they paid for and the stuff they got as a bonus?

Any thoughts on what liabilities would be if you had not 'looked around the corner' and seen the condition of the deck? I hope we are all using good contracts when we are doing 'targeted or focused' inspections and list specifically what we will be looking at and the exclusions.

As a structural engineer I am in a little different position than a home inspector. I often get called out to evaluate specific concerns. while present I sometimes see other things. In a case like this I obviously had to bring this to the owners attention. Since I often do not know the extent of my inspection before the inspection I handle the limitations in the report by stating that I was hired to only evaluate the conditions listed in the report. Disclaimers are never a sure thing, but being clear about what you did or did not inspect is very important.

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Looks like about four inches of fall back toward the house too.

We might guess there has never been a crowd on it.

Good call. I did not mention that, but I thought someone might point it out. The deck actually dropped very little at the house. It looks like the footings heaved out of the ground.

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I think it's time to celebrate the life of that deck with a dance and a BBQ. [:)]
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That would never happen here, where the frost line is nominally 12" but is in fact zero.

I thought those were the cute little truncated cement "booties" that were real popular here with deck scammers till only this year the state adopted deck design codes. Before, they were only by reference to a deck manual, sort of like the pirates' code, just "guidelines".

Looks like about four inches of fall back toward the house too.

We might guess there has never been a crowd on it.

Good call. I did not mention that, but I thought someone might point it out. The deck actually dropped very little at the house. It looks like the footings heaved out of the ground.

Click to Enlarge
tn_20151118115023_PB178371%20(1024x683).jpg

80.41 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_20151118115041_PB178372%20(1024x683).jpg

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