Ross regularly contributes to the Bendigo Weekly Newspaper writing his column Building issues, informing readers of building changes and ideas within the industry.

Ross also performs Pre Purchase House Inspections for people wishing to be well informed prior to purchasing a home.

Before We Speak

Deck Building Essentials

Bendigo Master builder Ross Batson explains deck building essentials.

Now that the sun has come out and the warmer weather is here most people look to outside for their entertaining space.
Decks have become a very popular option for this with the warm smooth feel and stunning looks that both enhance the feel of the home and the lifestyle of the home owner.

There are a few important things to consider if you intend to build a deck.

Firstly it is very important to get a building permit as it is against the law to build without one no matter what the size of it. There are many reasons for this; firstly there are stumps, hand rails and steps to consider with very specific regulations as to how they must be built. Steps have specific sizing requirements of height and length that if built wrongly will cause people to stumble or fall when climbing them. Balustrade needs to be made with thought to sizes of the gaps as a baby’s head will fit through a size greater than 125mm thus also causing a risk of fall. There are rules to abide by about privacy of neighbours and fire regulations. These are all taken into account in the permit stage.

I’m forecasting there will be a push for the registration of all decks after 2 decks collapsed only this week, hospitalising people.

Looking after a deck is an important thing to be aware of when considering one as there is annual up keep. The most important thing is remembering to re oil the deck every year, my suggestion to remember is to re oil it during Melbourne cup week, there’s also a clever marketing campaign suggesting “Decksember” is the month to do it. The simple thing that indicates to me is that if rain stops beading it needs re applying.

There are several choices as to timber type, a budget deck made of treated pine which is easier to build is less robust long term, Jarrah and Merbau whilst more expensive and harder to lay will give a superior job with a longer life.
Something to consider though is that the merbau is sourced from Indonesia and Borneo; whilst it is claimed the timber is from legal forestation, there is an underlying belief that this logging also destroying the Orang-outang’s habitat.

There is an ethical alternative however by using Australian Black wood or Spotted gum, these are more expensive but look magnificent and also meet the new fire regulations.

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