June 3, 2015

Department of Buildings Reminds Building Owners to Keep Decks and Porches Safe For Outdoor Use

Repair and Maintain Structures In Accordance with Chicago Building Code

Mimi Simon, Department of Buildings     
312.744.7384 mimi.simon@cityofchicago.org

For Immediate Release
June 3, 2015 

As we quickly move into the warmer months in Chicago, the Department of Buildings reminds residents to take time this spring and early summer to inspect decks, porches, balconies and stairs for needed repairs and to always use decks and porches safely during the warm summer months.

"Property owners need to be mindful of building maintenance, including checking decks and porches for any wear and tear and immediately addressing unsafe conditions," said Buildings Commissioner Felicia Davis. "Safety doesn’t end with an inspection, and we remind residents to properly use decks and porches during the summer and limit the number of people on these structures."

Residents should check for important signs of deterioration, including:

  • Split or rotting wood, or evidence of water damage
  • Loose, missing or rusting hardware or bolts
  • Loose or missing anchors where the porch attaches to a building
  • Missing, damaged or loose support beams and planking
  • Excessive movement of the structure when walked on
  • Wobbly handrails or guardrails

If problems are identified, stop using the porch, balcony, deck or stairs immediately. Renters should report the concerns to the building owner or property manager. If the problem is not quickly addressed, renters should call 311 and request an inspection. Owners are required by law to make necessary repairs and maintain their property in a safe condition.

The Department of Buildings inspects approximately 5,000 porches each year as part of annual inspections of buildings. Due to greater awareness and stricter code requirements, the number of 311 complaints about potentially dangerous porches has been reduced over the years.

In 2014, the Department of Buildings received 1,923 porch-related complaints and issued 2,405 permits to repair, replace or build new porches. The number of permits issued to repair or build new porches continues to remain consistently above 2,000 each year, an indication that porches are being maintained. In 2012 and 2013, the Department issued 2,028 permits and 2,494 permits respectively.

For more information related to porches, please visit www.deckporchsafety.com.

The Department of Buildings supports the safety and quality of life for the residents and visitors of the City of Chicago through enforcement of the Chicago Building Code. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/bldgs.html or follow us at twitter.com/@chicagoDOB and www.facebook.com/Chicago-Department-of-Buildings.




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