deck safety in Halifax

Did you Know? May is Deck Safety Month

Did You Know? May Is Deck Safety Month

HRM has had its share of deck collapses in recent years. These events highlight the importance of building to current code standards, as well as annual inspections and maintenance. Once you know what to look for, it’s easy to spot the issues and take steps to correct them.

Code Compliance when Building Decks in the HRM

Building code standards are frequently updated and revised to reflect updated information and technology. What was acceptable in the past likely would not be compliant or safe by today’s standards. The most common areas that fail inspections are stairs, railings, and guardrails, as well as flashing, the connection to the house/structure, and footings.

  • Depending on the height of your deck from the ground, the railing should be 36-42” high
  • Stairs have a range of acceptable dimensions for the rise and tread which vary depending on the application
  • Spacing in guardrails should be less than 4”
  • Footings extending past the frost line are required for all decks attached to a house
  • The ledger board should be bolted to the house
  • Flashing should be installed above and behind the ledger board to prevent water penetration

Check out this permit application guideline for decks from HRM.


Annual Inspections & Deck Maintenance

Annual inspections and maintenance can help prolong your deck’s life, maintain structural integrity, and prevent injuries. If you think there’s a problem or you’re unsure you should always bring in a professional to have a look.

  • Visually inspect the wood for splitting or decaying
  • Make sure the flashing is intact and no water or debris are accumulating
  • Verify that the ledger board is fastened and secured to the house and that the fasteners are in good condition (no rust or corrosion)
  • Deck, stairs, and railings should not move, they should be secure with no wobbling or swaying
  • Regularly clean up leaves and debris as they can be slipping hazards and also promote mildew and deterioration
  • Keep snow to a minimum and shovel as needed to prevent overloading the structure

Check out this 10-Point Deck Safety Checklist for homeowners from The North American Deck and Railing Association.

Examples of a Failing Deck that are not Code Compliant in HRM

Raised Deck Surface with No Safety Railing

Raised Deck Surface with No Railings

Incorrect Railing Installation Unable to Handle Strong Winds

Railing Unable to Handle Strong Winds

Deck with no Safety Railing

Deck with No Safety Railing

No Railing on Both Sides of Stairs

No Railing on Both Sides of Stairs

Improper Deck Footings

Improper Deck Footings

No Joists or Hangers, No Lag Bolts

Improper Connection to House or Wall

Concrete Footings Cracking/Breaking

Improper Deck Footings

Improper Deck Footings


We take pride in the design and installation of the decks we build. That’s why we take care of everything, including the permit application, for you. Each project is built to be safe and structurally sound, adhering to both the current National Building Code and HRM standards. If you have concerns or need your deck replaced, give us a call for a complimentary assessment and/or quote.

Deck Collapses

Deck Collapses | Permits Are No-Nonsense in Halifax

Decks Collapsing In Halifax Make Permits a MUST!

Who needs a permit you ask, we do if we are building a project for you. All-Craft does not take chances with your deck or your safety. With every job we build, we take pride in the design, the look and the safety. So #1 rule when hiring a Pro, always confirm about permits (click for a copy of the HRM guideline brochure for building a deck) and insurance, if they blow you off, tell you not to worry about them, that they are a waste of time, then you should run, and fast. Decks seem to be one of the top 10 do-it-yourself projects. However, when it comes to building a deck there are many things that only a professional deck contractor will know.  A professional is specialized in the work, and has worked on many styles of the structures and with many different materials. When dealing with a professional in HRM, they will also know the in’s and out’s of why you need a permit and who you deal with for your permits.

The reason HRM has a permit office, and requests plans is to make sure safety is first for the homeowner and that your project is 100% to guidelines. Major areas that fail inspections when building a deck project are: stairs, railings and the way your deck is fastened to your home, or the structure. beam and joint size and guard rail openings. Other considerations that play a roll in designing your deck to meet regulations are boundary line, easement of right-of-way, and where your deck can be built and what not to cover with your deck. This is why, when your professional registers your project, an inspector is assigned and inspects the building process. If your deck is found not to have been built with a permit, and inspections, HRM will fine you and take you to court.  As well, they will make you dismantle your project, losing your materials and your initial investment.

Halifax has now felt the wrath of decks that have not been built correctly or maintained. Halifax says 1 in 10 decks fails inspection. At least two builders have been hit with financial penalties under this new no-nonsense system.



Are you concerned that your deck might not meet regulation or that it is in danger of possibly collapsing?

Give us a call to come for a complimentary assessment to see if you are safe on your outdoor living space, summer is for fun not falling!