The number of deck failures and resulting injuries has been increasing at an
alarming rate. Between August 2004 and December 2005, the U.S. news media
reported 225 injuries and one fatality from deck collapses caused by ledger
connection failures. Many more deck
failures - with and without injuries - went unreported in the media.
"Clearly, something needs to be done to tackle the growing problem of unsafe decks,"
said Mike Beaudry of the North American Deck and Railing Association. "NADRA is
taking the first step by launching our Deck Safety Program. Each May, we will encourage
homeowners to get an annual deck inspection, with the goal of reducing the number
of deck injuries suffered each year."
Although the International Residential Code does not include specific details on how to
build a deck, researchers at Virginia Tech University in cooperation with the International
Code Council have produced a "Manual for the
Inspection of Residential Wood Decks and
Frank Woeste of Virginia Tech, a deck-safety expert partly responsible for creation of
the inspection manual, noted that "no one has an estimate of total deaths and injuries per
year because most collapses are never reported in the media. I'm aware of deck collapses
with no one on them, further demonstrating the need for homeowners to get involved and
interested in their deck’s structural integrity."
Beaudry said that NADRA plans to use the Deck Safety Program to "promote deck safety
to consumers and create an awareness of the risks of using a structurally deficient
residential deck, thereby reducing the number of deck injuries and deaths that occur
For additional information, or to purchase the inspection manual,