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Posted by: Samuel Hirshfield on July 22, 2015
Whether you’re building a pergola, deck, outdoor shed, gazebo, or any other outdoor structure – careful planning and preparation can go a long way to ensure safety, both during work and after the project is complete.
Here’s a quick run-down of what you should know to keep your structure secure and safe.
Before you start any outdoor structure project, be sure to call 811. This is a free service available across the United States that provides assistance prior to beginning projects that involve digging – connecting you with utility companies to identify the location of pipes, lines or underground cables.
Structures need to be supported by footings, which help to prevent settling and movement by protecting the posts and beams of the structure from rot, frost heave or other issues that can be caused by direct contact with soil.
Movement of ¼ inch or less is acceptable, and expected, but if your footings are dug incorrectly, movements of an inch or more can occur – ultimately causing structural damage.
You will most likely find that your city or town has code regulations on footing size, depth and material. Be sure to check your local building code prior to beginning any project, and obtain a building permit as required.
It also may be helpful to use a power auger to dig footings. This can make an often tedious and hard job easier and quicker.
There are many factors to take into consideration when determining the design of your structure and needed support beams or floor joists – including type of wood, grade and size of lumber, and load. Beam span maximums are based on a maximum anticipated live load. While 40 pounds is the average live load for a deck, for example, live loads can range upwards from 30 pounds per square foot.
Length and spacing of joists are also important parts of this calculation. The longer the joist, the greater area of the structure the joist supports, and then, the beam supports.
Be sure to check your local building code before beginning construction, obtaining permits and inspections as required. Depending on your situation, you may also need to contact a structural engineer.
When it comes to structural safety, always err on the side of caution!
What have you done to ensure that your outdoor structures are safely and securely built?
* Pricing subject to change at certain locations.
The documentation within this section provides general safety information and operating instructions by equipment type. Specific controls, functionality and operating instructions can vary by brand, model and year. It is up to you, the operator, to ensure your own safety. This documentation is secondary to the manufacturer’s instructions provided to you within the operations manual located on each machine. If an operations manual is not available on the machine, please contact our 24/7 Customer Care Center at 1-888-COMPACT. The manuals can also be viewed and downloaded from our website at the following address http://compactpowerrents.com/Safety/.
Product specifications and prices are subject to change without notice or obligation. The photographs and/or drawings in this document are for illustrative purposes only. Refer to the appropriate Operator’s Manual for instructions on the proper use of this equipment. Failure to follow the appropriate Operator's Manual when using our equipment or to otherwise act irresponsibly may result in serious injury or death.