Return to normality brings Insurance Concerns about business maintenance
With COVID restrictions and mask mandates easing up in many states, venues are seeing an increase in bookings. Businesses are excited to reopen in the coming summer and customers are hurrying to fill up their social calendars. Also, summer weather turns on the preference for open spaces inviting businesses from restaurants, bars, and venues to open their outdoor facilities.
The scenario however brings numerous complications. Many venues and restaurants were closed for months. Consequently, there have been recent cases of home and business decks collapsing. This brings up the question of whether they have the right insurance coverage for these situations.
Insurance protection as we return to normalcy
Because of a lack of use, there has been an increase in the number of these decks collapsing under the weight of people on top of them.
In Ohio, a party of over two dozen people was catching up when a deck attached to the home collapsed sending four people to the hospital.
In Malibu, California, nine people sustained injuries when a balcony collapsed and fell 15 feet to the rocks below. Investigators claimed the integrity of the deck was in question and that combined with the weight of so many people caused the collapse.
Another case involving a restaurant deck that was built without a permit sent 11 people to the hospital. The restaurant has been told not to use the remaining portion of their deck, but this case has brought up a lot of questions about the safety of these outdoor venues. Many are asking if accidents like this are avoidable and if these structures are regularly inspected.
A couple of months ago the NY Post Newspaper published an article about a tragedy where seven college students died and four were injured during an incident in Bolivia. A railing on a balcony collapsed, sending them falling from the fourth floor. “We regret the tragedy that occurred at the Public University of #ElAlto (UPEA), where there were several deaths and injuries,” wrote Bolivian President Luis Arce. After this tragedy, a debate began centered around insurance and similar situations.
How to Prevent Damage and Liability Risk of Deck Rot
For venues with raised decks, there are some steps to follow to avoid this damaging situation. One of the most important steps is to make sure owners have the right insurance coverage in place. Not only will this protect from damages, lawsuits, and the cost of repairs, but it will also ensure customers have coverage in case of injury. It is important to review homeowners’ insurance policies as well.
If you are an owner of a business, take note of these useful tips when getting back in the game!
Making sure you have the right insurance coverage in place to cover the cost of an accident is important, but you also need to ensure the safety of your guests. Any existing structures should be inspected regularly to ensure they are safe, and no damage is present that could cause a collapse. When building a new structure, you need to make sure they meet safety requirements and are built with structural integrity.
Your deck’s initial construction must pass Building Codes and Standards. Search online for a reputable deck specialist near you to perform a comprehensive inspection. Remember that all constructions not only must be built according to codes and standards but also that all the right materials were used during construction.
This is especially important when it comes to the lumber used to build your deck. In an ongoing court case of a wooden deck collapse, it was found that the wrong type of lumber for outdoor use was to blame along with poor upkeep. Cedar, redwood, or pressure-treated woods are preferred because of their durability and resistance to moisture.
Park Insurance also found that in an Ohio case, the wrong type of wood was used and necessary repairs were not performed. The investment in quality materials and upkeep will pay off via the avoidance of an eventual collapse. Otherwise, an inspection will result in a few smaller and low-cost (relative to risk) repairs and/or replacement of deck footing along with compromised pilings and deck boards.
It is impossible to predict when these situations could happen, but one of the best ways to ensure protection is with the right insurance coverage. Visit our blog section for more information and if you have any questions, fill out this short form and a member of our team will contact you shortly.