Welcome to Summer deck construction season from Terry Rech, the Building Inspector for the Town of Wheatland.
Decks are often a project considered achievable by homeowners with some level of construction aptitude. While this is generally the case, decks are not simple and the Building Code seems to grow in complexity each cycle. This is not a condemnation of the building code, but rather, a reflection of events that occur that force greater scrutiny. The changes normally involve a greater level of life safety and/or building longevity. Major concerns/details are related to:
post spacing, size of carrying beams and their attachment to the post support structure
size and spacing of floor joists dictated by spans proposed
deck attachment and prevention of water intrusion to the house
spacing of floor joists based on type or orientation of finished decking
adequate support and safety for guard /rail systems
comfortable, secure and safe stair systems
The most comprehensive deck document is put out by the American Wood Council. The Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide can be downloaded as a PDf file.
The first pass through may make your eyes glaze over however, it is a great document and has saved me a lot of syllables when chatting at the counter discussing deck design. If you are considering a deck project, whether you are building it or are contracting it’s build, it is worth the view.
Two final notes:
Decks are structures and subject to setback requirements per the zoning district where you are located so a survey map is required for a permit
Decks adjacent to pools have another layer of safety concerns and therefore additional barricade requirements that need to be addressed in detail.
Happy summer and outdoor relaxation on your new safe deck!