2C — February 18 - March 17, 2022 — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal


O wners , D evelopers & M anagers

Michael J. Sladki, P.E., ECS Safety on Deck: 6 Lessons Learned That Will Protect Coastal Properties


n the Summer of 2020, two residential decks collapsed in Virginia Beach, result-

Structural forensics are the tools used to determine the cause of structural failures and prevent them in the fu- ture. Visual observations by a structural engineer are one of most effective methods used in structural forensics. After performing over 100 deck in- spections across the coast this checklist of common issues has emerged: 1) Connectors Ledger boards are required to be attached to the struc- ture with bolts or lag screws. Typically, these ledgers are also

constructed with a lip board to be used as a bearing point for joists. In many cases, these ledgers and lip boards are only attached with nails. Given the highly corrosive salt environ- ment, the nails found are often corroded, almost to the point of complete section loss. 2) Lateral connections Current code requires posi- tive lateral attachment of the deck to the structure. Often, this connection is found miss- ing, which allows the joists to slip off the ledger lip sup- port, either due to shrinkage,

natural curling/warping of the joist and lateral move- ment. This is one of the most common ways that a deck will fail. 3) Beam bearing Beams should be secured to piles with through-bolts and should be supported in a bear- ing condition. In many cases, beams are found simply bolted to the side of the pile with no bearing support. In the highly corrosive environment, bolts with the appearance of only minor corrosion on the head are found to be completely

disintegrated in the middle 4) Beam splices Beam splices should occur at locations of support and all piles of the beam should be se- curely fastened to one another. In many cases, piles observed are only nailed together (see above about nails in the cor- rosive environment). In other cases, beam splices occur at mid-span of the beam, which is structurally unsafe. 5) Handrails In many cases railing posts consist of a notched 4x4 with a single bolt into the band board. While this connection may seem secure during initial construction, it quickly loosens and becomes a safety hazard. 6) Bay Windows Bay windows are typically constructed by cantilevering the floor joists over the lower- level wall. When designed with the intent of a future deck being installed, the joists will be sized properly to account for this future load. However, if not designed properly, the deck may overload the structure and create a critical issue with the building structure itself. Given that original drawings and design for the home are often not available, a much more de- tailed investigation is required. Should you notice any of these issues, contact ECS to assist with these critically important safety inspections. Michael Sladki is vice presi- dent, principal & engineer at ECSMid-Atlantic, LLC. MAREJ Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s handles sale of 29-unit apartment ALTAVISTA, VA — Cush- man & Wakefield | Thal - himer’s Capital Markets Group, represented the seller, MGW Properties, LLC, in the marketing and sale of a 29- unit apartment community located at 1200 Avondale Dr. in the town of Altavista. The property was sold to a local investment group, NBS Real Estate, LLC, who intends to pursue a value-add strategy through renovations. The sale was finalized on January 12, 2022 for $1,505,000. ClayTaylor, CCIM of Cush- man &Wakefield | Thalhimer represented the seller MAREJ

ing in mul- tiple injuries. I n r e - sponse, the City of Vir- ginia Beach p a s s e d a zoning ordi- nance requir- ing owners of

Michael J. Sladki

short-term rental properties to have their decks inspected by a licensed structural engineer every three years.

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