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Old 11-07-2010, 04:56 AM   #1
walt1122
 
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new second story deck stair, platform question


Hi all, need a little help. It's 5 o'clock Sunday morning and I can't sleep. I'm having a second story deck (14 x 22) built on our garage with apartment above. We live in a part of Tennessee that does NOT have building codes but I require contractors to build to Code or better. Had a couple issues with the contractor already. The usual square, level and plumb concerns (one corner post 1.25 inches lower than the rest) posts not even close to being equidistant from one another. So now I'm sitting here thinking about what the platform looks like. It is dark and cold out but with a flashlight I can see where the platform will go. From the platform the steps will run perpendicular (away from the house) down to a second landing, turn back parallel to the deck and last couple steps will finish at ground level. Is there a section of the Code that talks about how to handle the steps/platform? Right now the contractor has a 40 x 40 inch platform a couple inches down from the main deck, It is that couple inches that bothers me. Shouldn't it be considered as another step? Same height? as a step? The deck boards will run parallel to the house and I would assume the platform will as well and all I see is a trip hazard.
While we are talking code...Should the posts be mechanically connected to the concrete pads right now they are just sitting on them and one post is already starting to rack (twist). Nothing to hold it in place.
And this one is just a pet peeve of mine but the blocking down the center of the joists? Does anyone take the time to either calculate/measure or load the deck to see if the deck boards will cover the blocking and not have this become a maintenance issue when water and debris collect between the deck boards (this guy looked at me as if I were crazy when I brought it up).

thanks for any help, guidance, suggestions, thoughts etc.

Walt


Last edited by walt1122; 11-07-2010 at 04:59 AM.
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:31 AM   #2
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new second story deck stair, platform question


If I understand your situation correctly, the 'dropped' platform is being used as a continuation of the stairs?

Then yes, the drop should match the rises.
Yes, anchor the posts for uplift.
Either drop the blocking down a 1/4" or add it in afterwards. I also add blocking on a diagonal to stiffen the platform against swaying. One in each direction forming a cross.

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Old 11-07-2010, 12:17 PM   #3
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new second story deck stair, platform question


Hi jlhaslip, yes the platform will be the first step allowing a person to leave the deck, and turn to face the remaining steps that in turn will be connected to a second platform to allow a person to turn again and follow these steps to level ground. I know Code is the bare bones minimun but these guys seem unable or unwilling to even comply to that. Another question if I can...I know the steps should be all the same but Code does allow for some variation. I think it is 1/4 or 3/8 s of an inch difference. Do you know the correct allowances. I'm finding up to 1/2 on the steps and the inch or so on the platforms.

thanks

Walt
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Old 11-07-2010, 01:06 PM   #4
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In this area 3/8" is max difference to code.
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Old 11-07-2010, 02:22 PM   #5
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You do have codes.
http://www.reedconstructiondata.com/...des/tennessee/

Is he licensed?
http://www.contractors-license.org/

Sounds like to me anyway the guy knows just enough to be dangerous.
If your losing sleep over this maybe you should stop the work and rethink what you have going on there.
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Old 11-07-2010, 03:09 PM   #6
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new second story deck stair, platform question


I am not certain there is a universal deck code. My town follows the 2006 International Residential Code, and publishes an excellent guide called Design for Code Acceptance, published 2008 by the American Forest & Paper Association. If your locality does not have a code, then you need to define what you mean by "following code". Simpler would be to have an agreement with your contractor that they will:

1. Construct to plans that you will furnish them
2. Alternatively, the contractor will prepare plans in advance that you will approve
3. Alternatively, if you plan to build without plans, you need to specify EXACTLY which codes you want the contractor to follow.

Since the project is well underway, it may be difficult to convince the contractor to prepare plans for work already performed. It may also be difficult to convince them to follow a code they were not informed they had to meet prior to starting the work.

If you had been building in MA, the posts would need to be anchored to the footings, the footings would have to extend to frost line, the steps would need to meet strict criteria for rise, run, width, and variance, and the intermediate landings would have to meet strict criteria for minimum size. Not to mention 20 additional pages of rules, regulations and construction procedures. That said, I don't know how you enforce rules after the fact, especially as you said there are no building codes in your area.
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Old 11-07-2010, 03:51 PM   #7
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new second story deck stair, platform question


....if it looks and feels wrong when you walk up & down them....it probably is
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Old 11-07-2010, 06:49 PM   #8
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new second story deck stair, platform question


Thanks everyone. I'm trying to make the best of a bad situation. I have to babysit this guy and his crew cause it would be almost impossible to get someone else in to finish up his mess and make it right. I already have a ton of work on my plate. Would you believe I had another contractor build our 3 car garage with apartment above who was worse than this bird! Buried electrical junction boxes in walls, Built the first floor of the garage 5 feet out of the ground and we had to pay him to remove three rows of block so we didn't have to bring in half of Georgia to back fill around the house. Plumbing screwed up ( no inspection/cleanout fittings at any of the turns, creak when water runs through drains. Everything he touched he screwed up and he also promised us that he would comply with Codes as prescribed in the other surrounding counties that do have Codes and inspectors. Had to kick him out and I'm trying to fix up his messes. Can't seem to find anyone that is any good.

just glad you guys are around and allow me to use you as a sounding board.

Walt
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Old 11-07-2010, 09:37 PM   #9
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new second story deck stair, platform question


Quote:
Originally Posted by walt1122 View Post
Thanks everyone. I'm trying to make the best of a bad situation. I have to babysit this guy and his crew cause it would be almost impossible to get someone else in to finish up his mess and make it right. I already have a ton of work on my plate. Would you believe I had another contractor build our 3 car garage with apartment above who was worse than this bird! Buried electrical junction boxes in walls, Built the first floor of the garage 5 feet out of the ground and we had to pay him to remove three rows of block so we didn't have to bring in half of Georgia to back fill around the house. Plumbing screwed up ( no inspection/cleanout fittings at any of the turns, creak when water runs through drains. Everything he touched he screwed up and he also promised us that he would comply with Codes as prescribed in the other surrounding counties that do have Codes and inspectors. Had to kick him out and I'm trying to fix up his messes. Can't seem to find anyone that is any good.

just glad you guys are around and allow me to use you as a sounding board.

Walt
Walt, if you don't mind, could you tell us what part of Georgia you are in.

On the creaking pipes, it sounds like he has the pipes tied up and the pipes are flexing as the water weighs them down and the weight is pulling the wire or whatever he has the pipe tied up with and is creaking.
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Old 11-07-2010, 11:39 PM   #10
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new second story deck stair, platform question


http://www.lancova.com/deckinfo.pdf

And the upgrade to 2009: http://www.awc.org/Publications/DCA/...eckarticle.pdf

Gary
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:52 AM   #11
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new second story deck stair, platform question


Hi all, jiju1943 we are in a small subdivision located next to the Savage Gulf nature preserve in Tennessee the nearest town is called Coalmont, And yes, the pipes make that noise cause after I punched a hole through the 1/2 inch ( not 5/8 fire code) in the garage ceiling I see that the plumber butchered the joists so badly getting the pipes though that he left them slighty bent uphill cause there wasnt much meat left to carry the load of the second floor. Another project I will have to fix. Just yesterday the wife wanted me to change out the light fixtures where the new deck is going. The outside lights were not properly grounded the lights had their own grounding wire that was "wrapped" and tied in a "knot" around the bracket that holds the light onto the plastic box and where the ground wire for the romex is screwed to the grounding nut. I also changed a light in the in the bathroom over the sink later on yesterday that they didn't even bother to tie the grounding wire to anything just wrapped it around itself and that was it, no positive ground just the metal of the fixtures to act as the ground.

Unbelievable!!

wish me luck and hope I I find all these screw-ups before their horrible practices kill us in our sleep.

Walt

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