Decks have seen little attention from building codes over the years, despite the fact that they often bear the weight of parties and public gatherings. The catastrophic consequences of this oversight are easy to find: Just try Googling "deck collapse" and you'll find story after story of injuries and deaths resulting from poorly constructed decks.

This doesn't surprise me. As a building inspector who is also a former deck contractor, I've seen the realities of deck construction from both sides. The fact is, you can't build a safe deck straight from the IRC. That's partly because most of the code's structural provisions have to do with platform and balloon framing, both of which rely on...

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