Porches are outdoor extensions found on the exterior of multi-story buildings. In older structures, they are typically wooden, which provides a feasible setting for a phenomenon known as a porch collapse. Porch collapses, also known as balcony collapses, occur when these verandas give way and fall down. These incidents can be extremely dangerous, especially if the collapsed porch is occupied when it caves in or if people are below it when it falls.
A deck collapse, a slightly different phenomenon, occurs when the outdoor patios of single-family, single-story residences fall down. In many cases of deck collapses, these exterior features were simply nailed onto the sides of houses after they were built, which, of course, created inherently unstable situations.
Causes of Porch Collapses
There are many, different causes of balcony collapses. Commonly, one of the following forces is behind the caving in of a porch:
· Overloading the porch with people
· Overloading the porch with heavy objects, such as appliances, furniture, items in storage, and small pools
· Rotting wood
· Rusted nails, screws, and fasteners
· Poor construction techniques
· Poor construction materials
· Failure to meet building codes
While building codes and sounder construction materials have significantly reduced the chances of a porch collapse in modern buildings, many older apartment complexes and businesses still have balconies at a high risk of falling.
Because of this, a balcony collapse is not a terribly common phenomenon. However, it does occur often enough that codes and inspections specifically targeting porches and balconies, especially in more urban areas.
The Chicago Porch Collapse of 2003
On June 29, 2003, a notorious porch collapse occurred in the city of Chicago. The balcony of a third-story apartment was overloaded with party-goers, and due to excess stress, it collapsed. Occupants fell through the two porches below, which were also occupied, and into the building's basement. As a result, thirteen people died and fifty-seven more were injured.
Following this incident, the city of Chicago ordered the inspection of hundreds of buildings across the municipality. Of these, 1260 were discovered to have signs of structural unsoundness and were either instructed or suggested to have improvements made.
If you or someone you love has suffered injury from a porch or balcony collapse, then you may have the right to damages. The New York City personal injury lawyers of Orlow, Orlow & Orlow, P.C. can help with your situation. To learn more, please visit http://www.newyorkcity-personalinjury.com.