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  1. #1
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    Default Deck/Ice Skating Rink

    Ok so inspected my clients possible future house he other day and the entire back deck was an ice rink. Even the steps leading up to the deck were covered in ice. Now this wouldn't be too concerning if it were a brutally cold snowy day in Maine but this was just barely a freezing morning due in a Jersey and nothing else had ice on it this morning except for cars that haven't been started yet and this deck. It didn't even rain it was just the morning condensation and the back yard being completely in the shade all morning. My question is.... First... how should I word is in my inspection report...and second... is there anything I can recommend to this client to solve this problem like some type of paint or finish or are they just going to have an ice rink in their back yard half of the year ?!? Thanks so much for your help in advance guys!!!!

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Deck/Ice Skating Rink

    If its a weather condition that caused the hazard than I would not be writing anything about it in the report. I would certainly talk to them about the concern with dew icing on the deck that can happen. Although, the steps have no handrail that I can see. A code compliant graspable handrail would certainly be called for in the written report.

    Related to this condition. Years ago I was taking care of my neighbors dog while they were on a trip. I would enter the house via the rear wooden deck. I slipped on frozen dew and fell back, catching my fall with my left hand behind my back. I hurt my left shoulder and til this day, still have not fully recovered from that injury.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Deck/Ice Skating Rink

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    If its a weather condition that caused the hazard than I would not be writing anything about it in the report. I would certainly talk to them about the concern with dew icing on the deck that can happen. Although, the steps have no handrail that I can see. A code compliant graspable handrail would certainly be called for in the written report.

    Related to this condition. Years ago I was taking care of my neighbors dog while they were on a trip. I would enter the house via the rear wooden deck. I slipped on frozen dew and fell back, catching my fall with my left hand behind my back. I hurt my left shoulder and til this day, still have not fully recovered from that injury.
    Thank you very much for the help!! But it's only three steps I thought a railing was only require for four or more or 30" +?? No ?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Deck/Ice Skating Rink

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Scheuerer View Post
    Thank you very much for the help!! But it's only three steps I thought a railing was only require for four or more or 30" +?? No ?
    The pic looks like 4 risers.

    Personally, if I saw an icy or otherwise slippery deck, I would mention it in my report.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Deck/Ice Skating Rink

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Scheuerer View Post
    Thank you very much for the help!! But it's only three steps I thought a railing was only require for four or more or 30" +?? No ?
    The face of the deck counts as a riser too. There are 4 risers in the picture which requires a handrail. Don't count the number of steps, count the number of step "risers".

    - - - Updated - - -

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    The pic looks like 4 risers.

    Personally, if I saw an icy or otherwise slippery deck, I would mention it in my report.

    If it was slippery because of wet organic growth like we sometimes see, that I would write up.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Deck/Ice Skating Rink

    Regardless of what SOP you are using, a good thorough inspector who is serving his client as best possible should definitely note this in the report.
    This is about providing your client with a safety related point of information that could save their life. Adding a cautionary sentence or two doesn't take that long (if in your opinion it does then you are in the wrong business).
    The fact that this is even a question raises concerns. Its not like the ice is that obvious to see for everyone; especially a kid running out the door or grandpa who wants to be helpful and take out the garbage.
    This situation is no different than noting ponding outside of doorways that will turn into ice once it gets cold out.
    Its only the first two weeks of the new year and I've already gotten a phone call from another attorney who wants to go after an HI because that guys report 'doesn't seem to say anything at all'.
    Provide your clients with relevant information dammit, not just checkbox crap.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Deck/Ice Skating Rink

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    Regardless of what SOP you are using, a good thorough inspector who is serving his client as best possible should definitely note this in the report.
    This is about providing your client with a safety related point of information that could save their life. Adding a cautionary sentence or two doesn't take that long (if in your opinion it does then you are in the wrong business).
    The fact that this is even a question raises concerns. Its not like the ice is that obvious to see for everyone; especially a kid running out the door or grandpa who wants to be helpful and take out the garbage.
    This situation is no different than noting ponding outside of doorways that will turn into ice once it gets cold out.
    Its only the first two weeks of the new year and I've already gotten a phone call from another attorney who wants to go after an HI because that guys report 'doesn't seem to say anything at all'.
    Provide your clients with relevant information dammit, not just checkbox crap.

    GEEZE!!! You're an angry little elf aren't ya? lol thanks for the input I greatly appreciate it!! Honestly the question was never wether or not I should put it in my report if you read my original post it was how should I go about wording this and is there any solution I should recommend. Im fresh new born baby young handsome home inspector so this is all a learning process for me. That is why I post on here so I can learn and better help my clients thanks again for the input though


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Deck/Ice Skating Rink

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    The pic looks like 4 risers.

    Personally, if I saw an icy or otherwise slippery deck, I would mention it in my report.
    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    The face of the deck counts as a riser too. There are 4 risers in the picture which requires a handrail. Don't count the number of steps, count the number of step "risers".

    If it was slippery because of wet organic growth like we sometimes see, that I would write up.
    I would write it up if it was slippery for either/any reason and state why it was slippery (ice, slime growth, etc).

    The reason that deck and stair iced over before the ground did is the same reason bridges ice over before the roads do - those signs are likely before every bridge in New Jersey 'Caution Bridge Ices Before Road Does' (or something to that affect).

    As pointed out, there are 4 'steps' - when you 'step up three times from the ground' are you on the deck yet? Nope, you still have one more 'step up' to make to get to the deck.

    Instead of thinking "steps", think "risers" - anytime you go from one level to anther there has to be some type of "riser" there, a slope (which may not be steep enough to be a "ramp"), a ramp (which is a slope that is >1:20 but not greater than 1:12 - which is the maximum slope allowed for a ramp), or a vertical riser.

    The codes address stairs as "risers" and "treads", thinking of them that way allows the code to make sense - four or more risers and a handrail is required.

    Greater than 30 inches above the grade and a guard is required - if those 4 risers are greater than 7-1/2" each, then the deck is greater than 30 inches high and requires a guard (it has a guard), however, a stair which has a total rise of greater than that same 30 inches also requires a guard. It is quite possible that a guard (guard rail) is also required at the sides of that stair.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Deck/Ice Skating Rink

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I would write it up if it was slippery for either/any reason and state why it was slippery (ice, slime growth, etc).

    The reason that deck and stair iced over before the ground did is the same reason bridges ice over before the roads do - those signs are likely before every bridge in New Jersey 'Caution Bridge Ices Before Road Does' (or something to that affect).

    As pointed out, there are 4 'steps' - when you 'step up three times from the ground' are you on the deck yet? Nope, you still have one more 'step up' to make to get to the deck.

    Instead of thinking "steps", think "risers" - anytime you go from one level to anther there has to be some type of "riser" there, a slope (which may not be steep enough to be a "ramp"), a ramp (which is a slope that is >1:20 but not greater than 1:12 - which is the maximum slope allowed for a ramp), or a vertical riser.

    The codes address stairs as "risers" and "treads", thinking of them that way allows the code to make sense - four or more risers and a handrail is required.

    Greater than 30 inches above the grade and a guard is required - if those 4 risers are greater than 7-1/2" each, then the deck is greater than 30 inches high and requires a guard (it has a guard), however, a stair which has a total rise of greater than that same 30 inches also requires a guard. It is quite possible that a guard (guard rail) is also required at the sides of that stair.

    you're the man Jerry Thanks again!!


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Deck/Ice Skating Rink

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Scheuerer View Post
    Honestly the question was never wether or not I should put it in my report if you read my original post it was how should I go about wording this and is there any solution I should recommend.
    Hi Aaron,

    It is difficult to provide wording to another inspector. One inspector might prefer bullet points, another inspector might use narrative description. One might use classifications like "SAFETY HAZARD - CORRECTIONS ADVISED", another inspector might state what is the specific concern. It kind of depends on how you write your reports.

    If it were me, I would take a pic (as you did), note that the deck was slippery, comment that this was currently due to a coating of ice; however, other conditions can cause a deck to be slippery and recommend caution and corrections, as needed. Providing a specific solution is tricky because you end up with the liability on the effectiveness of your solution.

    But, that's my opinion.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Deck/Ice Skating Rink

    Think, speak and write in simple English. Report what you see.
    Write it the way you would say it to them in person.
    If you do not know the cause, just say so.
    If you have a concern, just state it.
    If you do not know the solution do not offer one. If you offer a solution you have to be able to back it up with experience and take the liability for what you offer.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Deck/Ice Skating Rink

    thank all of you guys very much!!


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Deck/Ice Skating Rink

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    Regardless of what SOP you are using, a good thorough inspector who is serving his client as best possible should definitely note this in the report.
    This is about providing your client with a safety related point of information that could save their life. Adding a cautionary sentence or two doesn't take that long (if in your opinion it does then you are in the wrong business).
    The fact that this is even a question raises concerns. Its not like the ice is that obvious to see for everyone; especially a kid running out the door or grandpa who wants to be helpful and take out the garbage.
    This situation is no different than noting ponding outside of doorways that will turn into ice once it gets cold out.
    Its only the first two weeks of the new year and I've already gotten a phone call from another attorney who wants to go after an HI because that guys report 'doesn't seem to say anything at all'.
    Provide your clients with relevant information dammit, not just checkbox crap.
    I'm pretty sure you wrote this in response to what I said, so point well taken. I can promise you this, I'm not a check box crap inspector


  14. #14
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    Jul 2014
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    AZ
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    Default Re: Deck/Ice Skating Rink

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Scheuerer View Post
    GEEZE!!! You're an angry little elf aren't ya? lol thanks for the input I greatly appreciate it!! Honestly the question was never wether or not I should put it in my report if you read my original post it was how should I go about wording this and is there any solution I should recommend. Im fresh new born baby young handsome home inspector so this is all a learning process for me. That is why I post on here so I can learn and better help my clients thanks again for the input though
    Good heavens- the only one angry here is you. I found his commentary both helpful and kind. I believe your response was not only ungracious, but rather over-reactionary.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Deck/Ice Skating Rink

    Quote Originally Posted by kristin morgan View Post
    Good heavens- the only one angry here is you. I found his commentary both helpful and kind. I believe your response was not only ungracious, but rather over-reactionary.
    I think you misread his post, that or you may have been on the hunt for something to jump on.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Deck/Ice Skating Rink

    I don't know about Jersey, but here in the rainy Pacific Northwest, smooth wooden decks and steps like this one are going to be very slippery most of the time because of algae or mould or sometimes frost or ice. This condition only ends during a spell of warm dry weather. If the potential purchaser is from the area they will be aware of this, but to cover the possibility that purchasers may not be aware, the slipperiness should absolutely be mentioned in the report. For a cheap solution I have ended up nailing asphalt roofing strips on the wooden steps and deck areas you must cross to get in and out. Some folks use wire mesh.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    If its a weather condition that caused the hazard than I would not be writing anything about it in the report. I would certainly talk to them about the concern with dew icing on the deck that can happen. Although, the steps have no handrail that I can see. A code compliant graspable handrail would certainly be called for in the written report.

    Related to this condition. Years ago I was taking care of my neighbors dog while they were on a trip. I would enter the house via the rear wooden deck. I slipped on frozen dew and fell back, catching my fall with my left hand behind my back. I hurt my left shoulder and til this day, still have not fully recovered from that injury.



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