Engineer warns on dodgy decks

2010-03-30 00:00

A COLLAPSED deck at an uMlazi tavern on Sunday is the third reported case of a collapsed deck in KwaZulu-Natal in four months.

In December last year, a deck overlooking a lake collapsed during a wedding at a local wedding and conference venue near Pietermaritzburg, leaving the bride and guests sopping wet. The couple declined to have their story published when approached by The Witness recently.

Earlier this month, The Witness reported that at a wedding at Dragon Peaks in the Drakensberg, 80 guests fell into the water below when the deck they were standing on gave way.

Due to the increasing popularity of wooden decks, “do-it-yourself” deck companies have sprung up all over the country and private contractors offer the service at competitive rates.

However, engineer Preben Naidoo of Preben Naidoo and Associates, said the stipulations for erecting a structure like a deck are stringent, especially when it comes to South African safety standards.

“There is a specific loading code from the SABS,” he said. “The client needs to look into the function of the structure.”

According to Naidoo, various aspects — like how much weight the deck must hold and the purpose it will serve — must be considered.

He also said all structures need to be built with the permission of the municipality and an engineer’s certificate of compliance.

“By law, all developments must have this certificate,” he said.

“These are only approved once the site has been thoroughly inspected by an engineer.”







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