Saturday, October 25, 2014

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City Offers Free Deck Inspection Program

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If you're a homeowner with a deck or porch, a new program from the Department of Buildings means you can get your structure inspected for free. NY1’s Jill Urban filed the following report.

Decks and porches are wonderful summer amenities for any homeowner but they are structures just like buildings and need to be checked for safety. That’s why the Department of Buildings is offering a program to keep people safe.

“From now until Aug. 1, the Department of Buildings will come out and inspect your deck," says Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri. "We will not write violations as part of the program. We are here to help you to make sure you have a safe summer.”

The department’s No-Penalty Deck and Porch Inspection Program was launched a few years ago after a deck collapsed from too much weight.

LiMandri says many people neglect to inspect the integrity of their decks and porches regularly. Over time, wood deteriorates and with storms and the freeze thaw cycle, a deck or porch can become destabilized.

As part of the program, a homeowner can have an expert come to their home for a free and qualified inspection.

“All we are looking for is do you have foundation, proper foundation?" LiMandri says. "Are all the joints, are they using screws, not nails? Are you using bolts? Are the handrails at 42 inches? Are they sturdy? Is the spacing between the rails approximately five inches? You want to make sure no baby could get injured. Those are the kinds of things that we are out there to look for.”

If there is a problem, the inspector will give a checklist of what needs to be done to repair it and will let the owner know whether the structure can be used at all. Again, there will be no penalties or fines issued if there is a problem.

To schedule an inspection, residents can simply call 311.

For More Information

For steps required by New York City in order to install a deck or porch and for tips on maintaining a deck or porch, visit this link. For city requirements for decks, porches and swimming pools, visit this link.

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