Freestanding deck question

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  #41  
Old 10-19-04, 11:51 AM
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Razz --

How far above grade a deck can be before railings are required is a point that local authorities have some discrescion to change. UBC requires railings on any deck that is over 30" high. Local officials can use a lower (but not a higher) number. And they have to use the 4" ball rule -- a 4" ball cannot pass through the railing at any point, EXCEPT for the triangle formed by the tread, riser, and bottom rail of the railing. a 6" ball cannot pass through that triangle.
 
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  #42  
Old 10-20-04, 06:44 AM
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Railing heights

International Residential Code (IRC 2003) states that railings are not required on any deck 30 inches or less in height:

"R312.1 GUARDS REQUIRED. Porches ,balconies or raised floor surfaces located more than 30 inches above the floor or grade below shall have guards....."

If Icemancmth's deck is 30 or less inches high, his code may not require any railings.
 

Last edited by homebild; 10-20-04 at 12:42 PM.
  #43  
Old 10-20-04, 01:13 PM
Icemancomth
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Deck Under 30 Inches

Hi Homebild,

My deck from grade up is 27 inches on the side and 29 inches on the back. I thought about putting a railing all around even thought I am no required to. But my kids are in their teens and the pool is half way into the ground I saw no need to. They follow the pool rules. The pool coping is about the same height of the deck.


Razz, FYI, a lawsuit from whom? No mater what, you are always legally responsible for something stupid someone would do on your property. Today people file lawsuit at a drop of a hat. Even with your deck, no matter how it was built, you can be sued if some one injures themselves.
 
  #44  
Old 10-20-04, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Icemancomth
Razz, FYI, a lawsuit from whom? No mater what, you are always legally responsible for something stupid someone would do on your property. Today people file lawsuit at a drop of a hat. Even with your deck, no matter how it was built, you can be sued if some one injures themselves.

True, you can be sued for anything. But if the plaintiff fell off your deck not built to code, you lose. And your homeowner's policy won't protect you against non-permitted structures either. That's why I mentioned it. I abandoned a deck project because the city wouldn't approve my design, a 24" elevated hexagonal freestanding deck with steps, no railing. Your design may be legal where you are, but not everywhere.
 
  #45  
Old 10-20-04, 06:38 PM
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Right, Razz

And simply because code 'allows' something ridiculous does not mean that one's insurer will protect the same against an injury or fault because they were just plain 'negligent' despite what code minimums required.

Same can be said for Dek-Bloks since Dek-Bloks do not meet code for:

1) Minimum platform heights for emergency egress and rescue opening platform heights. IRC code requires a height of no greater or less than 1.5" from threshold to deck height for any emergency egress or resuce opening door. Bottom line: Dek Bloks cannot be used in these cases.

2)Stairs: Dek Bloks cannot be used in stairs attached to egress or emergency opening because the frost heaving from 1-4 inches causes the stairs to be unusable.

3)Wind loads: Where Dek Bloks cannot assure minimum code wind load requirements for their location, they cannot be used. This is in MOST cases.

Bottom line for Dek Bloks is that they cannot be nor should be approved for most applications.

They cannot be approved for:

a)Slopes where the movement of soil will automatically cause them to fail

b)Where water runoff will cause their bases to fail.

c)Where SOILS do not allow them

d) Where they cannot meet minimum wind or other load anchorage to permanent ground frost level placement

e) and so on.


The BOTTOM line in Icemancmth's case is that these Dek Bloks have YET to be proven to be acceptable according to his local code or by building code at large.

In fact, Iceman, has yet to establish that his goofy deck design has been 'cheaper' than any basic 6 post normal post-below-frostline design which remains perfectly normal for a deck of his nature...

It's apparant that Iceman wants to defend his position despite it being compeletly indefensible from a code or manufacturer's viewpoint.

But, So be it.

That's Iceman and it isn't the first time he has been totally wrong.

We have like 5 professional builders and code officers on this forum DISAGREEING with Iceman and NONE agreeing with his position...

Go figure.
 
  #46  
Old 10-20-04, 08:38 PM
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What's with you guys?!

Ok, it’s time I say something here as this is getting to be bizarre.

Fact 1. Jst has only responded twice since he/she posted. Did he/she get the information requested?

Fact 2. Since Dekblocks was mentioned, those that appear to have experience jumped on Icemancomth as if he did something wrong. He obtained a building permit, it was approved and he built it. Looks nice but questionable to my way of building it. I would actually do frost footings – never have to worry about heaving. Then again – Dekblcoks allows for easy removal and relocation. It’s up to the end user what is best/cheapest for them and ALLOWED by the City.

Fact 3. Since I do agree that the IRC 2003 says lots of things, it is a “guide” only but I wish it were used more as the preference than as a sub-guide. As a Residential Building Designer, guess who hears the surprises first when going to City Hall? So much for paying $45 for a book that is used when it seems convenient. What is good in one City may not be allowed in another, even if they are right next door to each other!

Fact 4. Dekblocks have great advertising – it IMPLIES that it is approved all over. Fact is Dekblocks do not determine where or what is applicable to where you live. That’s like some plans available via the internet, there is always that small print – “May not be applicable to your local building codes – Consult with them before proceeding.”

Fact 5. Dekblocks sells a great product for certain applications. We know this. We understand that “frost” plays a vital role in what can happen to anything floating, and YES, when it is attached to a permanent structure done right. What Icemancomth had done, even though I question it, the frost level there may not be much but if it does heave too much one winter, kiss that pool rim goodbye!

Fact 6. I see that the debate has gone from what IRC says as “gospel” to what the local City Officials approve. Guess who wins every time? Not IRC! Is this really necessary to quote Sections when a permit was obtained and the project is done? It’s frivolous to mention it now.

Fact 7. It’s simple, making a suggestion to Jst to call the local building official resolves all this chit-chat and confrontation, however cordial. I doubt that any permit has been obtained nor has any plans been done. Anybody think about this?

Fact 8. Who we are, what kind of experience we have or what we think we know doesn’t justify a debate. It’s what is being asked, how we respond and what we can do to help, don’t we all agree?

Fact 9. Discussing the cost of what it takes to build something is one that is up for debate – does it really matter – California is sure not Detroit nor the East coast. I can build this for that but you can build cheaper, we’ll isn’t that a surprise!? One suggestion never got brought up, best to get bids, at least 3 – if it costs to much to hire it out, do it yourself!

Fact 10. The construction of a deck and what lumber can or can’t do or what Code says I need to do is up for debate but not here. I can build a deck that is “bounce free” – what that takes is more than 6 posts, better construction methods and better material. 6 posts can do it by canting on the edges. It can and has been done. Of course it costs more to build something much sturdier but it can be built as suggested. The issue is the “Code is the MINIMUM standards allowed for construction”. We can build cheap homes, decks, whatever all day by just adhereing to the Code but Quality is not written in the Code and the differences are many. How we build, what we expect to pay for is all up to the beholder. Isn’t this really the way it is?

End of story – Does this help everyone?
 
  #47  
Old 10-21-04, 04:52 AM
Icemancomth
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It Helps Me

Yes it helps me. And you a right on the mark.

Thanks,

Iceman
 
  #48  
Old 10-21-04, 05:33 AM
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This has been fun reading.

Did anyone look at Mr. Iceman's deck plan? He got his building permit. He built his deck. Obviously it wasn't inspected, or it was and they didn't care since it was not attached to the house.

The plans called for concrete piers that appear to be about 36 inches long.
He opted to use Deck-blocks or whatever.

fred
 
  #49  
Old 10-21-04, 06:27 AM
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Fred,

I didn't look at the plans and really didn't care too. The deck was built, inspected and approved. I can only accept what was told. True, you and I would not have done it this way.

I have been so disappointed lately with municipalities that don't follow IRC and add in things that you wouldn't expect that it is making it harder to know what is what.

I haven't been over here for quite awhile and was asked to take a look. Glad you're having fun reading.
 
  #50  
Old 10-21-04, 08:06 PM
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I don't know WHO to answer first!!

Doug -- Facts 1 thru 10 -- right on!! You have to build the deck to the code that you are governed by. Doesn't matter what the IRC or BOCA says if your local guys are operating under the UBC!!! THAT'S THE WAY YOU BUILD IT!! And vica versa!!

Costs?? We won't get into that. Far and away TOO MANY variables involved!!

Fred -- Attached or not attached, as long as the inspector signed it off that it was built 'per the plans', it doesn't matter. Yes, it has been one very interesting discussion. Here in CA, I 'could' attach the deck to the house if I so chose to do so (and I generally DON'T!!). But IF this house were a mobile or modular, I COULDN'T attach the deck -- it HAS to be free-standing.

Homebild -- good point!! Just because the bldg. dept. says it's OK, who KNOWS how the insurance co. is going to look at it.

Iceman -- railings on a deck above 30" are required. Sometimes they are just the 'finishing touch' on decks that are 29" or less above grade.

RAZZ -- the lawsuits come from whoever go hurt on the deck, or any atty that walked by and decided that 'somebody MIGHT be able to be hurt' -- but THAT'S another CA thing!!!

(Alphabetical order, so as not to hurt anybodies feelings!! Did THAT work??)
 
  #51  
Old 10-21-04, 08:38 PM
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Lefty,

Not bad at all.

Now, have we helped Jst or left Jst hanging?
 
  #52  
Old 10-21-04, 09:23 PM
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Doug,

I've no clue!!

There are SO many different ways to build a deck, and SO many different codes that could apply -- and every jurisdiction has their own way that they want things done. I know that if I went back to the east coast or Detroit and built a deck the way I have always built a deck here in CA, I'd get run out of town. And if you, or Homebild came to the left coast and built a deck, the same thing would happen. Hell, I have enough trouble just going from one County to the next around here, or just getting out of the County and into one of the Cities. (And they all 5 operate under the "SAME" UBC!!)

Jst -- find out how YOUR local bldg. dept. wants the deck built and do it THAT way!!
 
  #53  
Old 10-23-04, 11:14 PM
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My final 2 cents and thanks to Doug Aleshire

I asked Doug to place his comments in this thread since he is skilled in project design and am grateful for his insight.

I will leave this thread with the statement that I still disagree completely with Incemancmth's views on the use of Dek-Bloks and his allegation that they can and even should be used in place of properly set frost footers.

Dek-Bloks are NO proper replacement for frost footers under any circumstance and there are too many exemptions and objections that can be made against there use (even if allowed by code) to even consider them.

And forget not that building codes are 'minimum codes', or, put another way, building codes are the very LEAST standard to which one must comply to build a (ahem) "safe" and "sound" structure.

That never means that building to code or having code 'approval' means you have the best or even the most optimal building plan you can achieve.

In most cases, "building to code" in actuality means building to the very WORST possible conditions you can get away with and yet still get the plan approved. Building to 'code', therefore is rarely building to acceptable engineering, architectural or sane building practice.

Only thing this discussion has confirmed to me is that Dek-Bloks should be avoided under most circumstances in pretty much all regions where ground freezing, soil conditions, seismic activity, wind loads, structural stability and permanence is ever an issue.

Won't find me recommending nor ever using Dek-Bloks since they are not a product I wish to have the reputation of me and my company associated with....and I will continue to advise my own customers against them.

Ciao`
 
  #54  
Old 10-24-04, 03:01 AM
Icemancomth
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Check out what others have said...

Found these articles from Popular Mechanics,Beconstructive,Swimming-pools –a-us on using Dek-blocks for a freestanding pool deck…interesting. Just copy and past the link :

http://www.kfoxtv.com/homeimprovement/1619035/detail.html

http://www.beconstructive.com/consumer/weekend_deck.asp

http://www.swimming-pools-r.us.com/deck-plans.html

http://www.decorprecast.com/code/HowTo/HTDekBlock.html

http://yeungstuff.com/life/deck/

All I am stating is that you can use Dek-block for a floating deck.From 4 inches off the ground to 60 inches. I happen to use them for my pool deck. My deck raise about an inch during the winter because of ground heave. Had no problem with these blocks. Just do a Google search for dek block or dek block photos to see that I am not alone on this subject.
 
  #55  
Old 10-24-04, 10:32 AM
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How much are they paying you to post dek-blocks links over and over? This topic has been dragging on for well over a week and its going noplace. You have 5+ people who agree dek-blocks are not a good idea in snow area and one person who is posting link after link promoting it. Let it die already..........
 
  #56  
Old 10-24-04, 10:45 AM
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Hellrazor,

I agree.

Done deal.
 
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