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"It looked like a battlefield," shouted the headline of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution for April 9, 1995. There was no field of combat involved, however. The scene of this eye-catching story was the backyard of a prominent Atlanta citizen in a well-to-do neighborhood: His deck had collapsed during a party, with 63 people on top. Sixty-three people may seem like a lot, but some easy calculations show that the load on the deck was no more than the building codes say a deck should safely support. The collapsed structure was 25 feet long and extended 12 feet out from the house: 300 square feet of deck. The codes typically require that decks be able to support the