Contractor offering free deck inspections to promote safety in wake of recent collapses

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SWANSBORO, N.C. (WNCT) – In the wake of two recent deck collapses this summer, one Swansboro man has stepped up to raise awareness about deck safety.

Zachry Nichols, a licensed general contracter said he was prompted to take action after the July 4th deck collapse sending 24 people to the hospital.

In the past month, he has offered free deck inspections for seniors 70 years old or older, as well as handicapped residents in the Swansboro – Emerald Isle area.

He said he’s inspected about 25 homes and about 80 percent of them needed some sort of extensive repairs.

“When a deck looks safe from the top of it, and the boards look like they’re okay they’re not cracked, there are other parts of the deck that really need to be inspected,” said Nichols.

That’s why he says getting other outdoor structures such as stairways, porch railings and wheelchair ramps inspected is just as important.

“I felt strongly about going to the Town of Swansboro Commissioners and asking them to declare May as check your deck month,” said Nichols.

“Since this is the beginning of the summer season, it’s a wonderful time for people to become aware that that is the time they should check different components of their deck.”

He encourages all home owners to have their decks and outdoor structures checked annually, but urges those that live at beach front properties to be more vigilant.

“Those decks that I’ve observed in the beach communities show a lot of rust on the fasteners and nails, a lot of the wood has deteriorated to the point that it is cracking, that it shows wood decay.”

But he wants folks to be aware that building inspectors in Western Carteret County will now require a building permit for any type of deck system repairs.

Nichols will be continuing the free deck inspections and increase them not only for seniors and disabled, but commercial businesses as well.

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