Wooden Deck Home Inspection
In South Africa plans for wooden decks must be approved by the local municipality. Timber structures must be designed and built in accordance with (SANS) 10163, which governs the structural use of timber, SANS 10082 (Timber Frame Buildings) and SANS 10043 (Solid Wood Decking).
A wooden deck that is more than 1.5m off the ground should be designed by an engineer with experience in timber construction
Elevated decks which have not been designed by an engineer and constructed in accordance with the South African building standards can be very dangerous – especially if overloaded.
Most wooden decks in South Africa are either cantilevered off an existing building or supported by a pole and beam structure. A wide variety of imported hardwoods and treated South African pine are used for decking planks. Synthetic (plastic) decking is also becoming increasingly popular.
HouseCheck inspectors will inspect a deck installation as regards the general condition of the timber and fasteners and in particular the compliance with the national building standards for balustrades and stairways (found in SANS 10400-Parts B,D & M) Where there is any doubt as regards the compliance or structural integrity of a deck HouseCheck will advise further investigation by a structural engineer.
A home inspector should check:
The basic deck structure. “Bounce” when the deck is walked upon is an indication of a structural issue. Are there any indications of non-compliance in design or construction, or of deck instability?
Is there any sign of wood rot in the decking plans, balustrades, poles, beams and ledger boards?
Has suitable (compliant) timber been used to construct the deck?
Are the fasteners corroded? Stainless steel or brass screws and galvanised bolts and brackets are recommended for outdoor deck construction in South Africa.
Are the balustrades safe and in accordance with regulations? The balustrade should be at least 1.2m high and the space between the balusters should be a maximum of 100mm.
That there is at least 450mm of space below the decking for air to flow around the timber.
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