Traditionally, every summer tends to bring with it a fresh crop of news items describing the sudden collapse of a deck at a shorefront home, as aging decks see a seasonal increase in heavy vacation and holiday traffic. But according to a report in the Press of Atlantic City, the days when deck collapses were a routine occurrence are fading into history, as improved construction codes take hold (see: “Deck collapses a part of the shore's past,” by Richard Degener).
“A review of Press archives shows outdoor deck collapses used to happen pretty regularly,” the paper reports. “They would garner headlines for weeks as the injured were treated, fingers were pointed and lawsuits were filed. Thankfully, injuries were mostly minor and there are no records of fatalities. In recent years, they have stopped happening, as building codes got stricter and towns ramped up inspection efforts. It’s a case of government doing something right.”
But in North Carolina, unsafe decks are very much on the public’s mind in the here and now, according to a report in the Wilmington Star-News (see: “Deck safety gets local attention in new construction,” by Adam Wagner). The recent collapse of a deck in Emerald Isle, NC, caused major injuries and hospitalized dozens. That disaster brought to mind other recent examples, the Star News reports: “In July 2013, 21 people were injured after a second-story deck collapsed in Ocean Isle Beach when the group gathered for a picture. Three years earlier, in June 2010, seven were hurt when an Ocean Boulevard home's lower deck collapsed in Holden Beach.”
As in New Jersey, the response has been to reform building codes and to ramp up local inspection efforts. “After the 2010 incident, Holden Beach began offering free deck inspections,” the paper reports. “Typically, about 10 to 15 homeowners a year request the service.”