Snow Weighs an Average of 15-20#’s per cubic foot.
Failure to Clear off Decks of Snow Blamed for Many Collapses
Repeated Loading/Unloading Can Cause Great Stress to Framing
Deck Expert Bill Leys Recommends Getting Decks Inspected as Weather Permits Before Spring & Summer Use
Record breaking snow falls, especially out west have created havoc on buildings, especially roofs and decks. Snow has been credited with collapsing roofs and decks after heavy buildups that overload the decks and roofs weight carrying abilities. According to a Google search, snow weighs an average of 15-20#’s per cubic foot.
Decks on the other hand, are often designed to handle 50#’s per square foot of area. So a deck of a size 10′ x 20′ or 200 square feet, should hold 10,000 pounds. Now pile on 4 feet of snow at 80#’s per square feet using 20#’s per cubic foot. At 80″‘s per square foot, that 200 square foot deck may have 16,000 pounds of snow on it. While it might remain standing, the question becomes, what happens with repeated loading and unloading of huge amounts of weight?
That’s really going to depend on a number of things-like how old is the deck, has it been maintained etc. A newer deck is probably better equipped to handle the huge stress placed on it. Older decks with some wear and tear and degradation are likely to become likely victims of failure.
So what can you do to help avoid stressing your deck’s weight limits to their maximum & beyond? Clear off snow as soon as possible. Maybe it has to be cleared of twice or three times in a day depending on snowfall amounts. Look at the deck carefully to see if it’s sagging or swaying. Those are signs of danger and a contractor should be called immediately to assess it. Don’t use decks that sag or sway.
Even if somehow your deck in snow country doesn’t collapse this winter, that doesn’t mean it’s ok to use before summer hits. Deck Expert Bill Leys recommends that decks of every type be inspected this spring by an engineer, an experienced deck contractor, or an independent consultant who won’t be bidding on any repair work.
Following the collapse of the balcony in Berkeley, that killed 6 and seriously injured 7 others, the California Building Safety Commission adopted me regulations on building and waterproofing Elevated Exterior Elements EEE for short.
The adoption of these emergency regulations will increase balcony safety standards by increasing load design, using decay resistant wood and Inspections of waterproofing before covering with other materials, such as a concrete overburden.
Testimony from the Irish families and victims has helped cause these changes. Jackie Donohue, mother of one child killed in the collapse has been leading the charge in bringing changes to balcony construction along with requiring inspections.
After Berkeley adopted ordinates requiring inspections, over 800 balconies in that city alone have been found to be deficient.
Multiple Classifications of Contractors Can Waterproof Decks, But Few Have to Pass a Written Proficiency Test
D-12 Synthetic Products Classification Doesn’t Require a Proficiency Test
Manufacturer’s Accept D-12 License’s to Become Authorized Applicators
If you want to be a general contractor, plumber, electrician, earth mover, well driller, roofer.. CSLB requires you to have 3 years certifiable experience in that trade, plus take a legal exam on CSLB and state contracting laws AND pass a 3 hour test on your proficiency in that trade. You have to prove you know what your doing before they give you a license to do it. There’s a risk to consumers from people who don’t know what their doing. CSLB goes out of their way to run sting operations on unlicensed contractors, running press releases and posting hidden videos of their stings.
However, if you want to be a contractor that installs waterproofing for foundation walls and decks, decks like say the balcony in Berkeley, you don’t need a license that has a test that proves you have some knowledge; you can obtain a D-12 Synthetic Products license like this author has. A D-12 Synthetic products contractor does not have to pass a written test of proficiency in the subject of waterproofing! You just need to apply for it if your licensed in another trade and add it to your classifications and start waterproofing decks and foundations as most of the deck manufacturer’s accept the D-12 classification to sell and install their products.
How do I know this? Because I have/had a D12 license classification with which I used it to waterproof decks and balconies. But I’m not the only one, there are many contractors out there waterproofing decks using a D12, as well as using a C8 (concrete) or a C33 painting license improperly apparently, and CSLB seems to have a lassez faire attitude about this issue.
Contractors State License Board Outlines New 2017 Laws Affecting California’s Construction IndustrySACRAMENTO — The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is providing a round-up of new state laws affecting California’s construction industry that take effect in the new year.
Assembly Bill (AB) 1793 modifies the criteria the courts use to determine if a contractor substantially complied with licensing law under Business and Professions Code (BPC) section 7031. This allows a client to not pay a contractor and to demand the return of compensation paid for work completed if the contractor was unlicensed at any time during the course of work. The new legislation provides the court a modified set of criteria to use when determining if a contractor “substantially complied” with licensure requirements and acted promptly and in good faith to remedy the lapse in licensure once known.
Senate Bill (SB) 1209 provides for enhanced complaint disclosure of legal actions taken against licensees. Under the provisions of this legislation, citations issued against a licensed contractor follow that contractor if he or she is issued another license and allows for the public disclosure of these citations.
AB 2486 requires that by January 1, 2019, CLSB create a system that allows consumers to search CSLB’s website for a licensed contractor either by zip code or geographic area, which should make it easier for consumers to identify and hire properly licensed contractors.
In an effort to establish further safety measures around underground excavation, SB 661 enacts the Dig Safe Act of 2016, and makes several changes to existing requirements for excavation procedures. These include requiring that excavators delineate an area to be excavated prior to notifying an appropriate regional notification center and establishing the California Underground Facilities Safe Excavation Advisory Board within the Office of the State Fire Marshall.
AB 2286 authorizes CSLB to raise its various fees, resulting in what will be the first fee increase since 2011, and only the second fee increase since 1993. The 10 percent fee increase will ensure that CSLB has enough funds to operate in the coming years. Increases that take effect July 1, 2017 include: The application fee for an original license in a single classification will increase from $300 to $330; the renewal fee for an active license will increase from $360 to $400; and the registration and renewal fee for a Home Improvement Salesperson will increase from $75 to $83.
CSLB will provide the industry more information on the upcoming fee increase in the spring.
Waterproof decorative pedestrian decking systems beats wood & composite in looks, maintenance, costs & lifespan.