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How building codes will make your summer safer


As we wrap up Building Safety Week, here are just a few ways that building codes will keep you and your family safe as you look ahead to those summer projects and activities:

Grill Safety5. Grilling safety – The most current fire safety codes prohibit the use of charcoal and gas grills on combustible porches or within 10 feet of combustible construction. When grilling, cook away from siding, deck railings, eaves, overhead power lines and overhanging branches; periodically remove grease; use proper starter fluid and store it safely; check propane hoses for leaks; do not move hot grills; and dispose of used charcoal properly.

4. Protection from electric shock – Building safety codes for pools and spas require proper electrical grounding, bonding and protection by GFI (ground fault interrupter) circuits. They turn off the power to the outlet before someone can be harmed. All outdoor outlets are required to have GFI circuits.

3. Safe porches, decks and balconies – Porches can collapse if they are improperly constructed or improperly maintained. Building or repairing to code, which usually requires a building permit and inspection, will help increase the likelihood the porch is safe. Hazards to look for include porches nailed to buildings instead of attached with anchors or bolts; split or rotting wood; wobbly handrails or guardrails; loose, missing or rusting hardware; missing, damaged or loose support beams and planking; poor end support of the porch deck, joists or girders; swaying or unstable porches.

2. Pool and spa drain covers – Building safety codes require pool and spa drains to have a cover or grate to protect from entrapment or suction. Without the cover, hair or body parts may be trapped, causing serious injury or drowning.

1. Pool fences and alarms – Building safety codes require at least a four-foot-high fence around in-ground and above-ground pools holding more than 24 inches of water. Gates must be self-closing and self-latching and doors with direct access to pools must have alarms.

For more information on outdoor projects you may be planning for summer, check out our brochure Guide to Fences, Decks and Outdoor Projects, or call us at (503) 823-7300.

Thank you for celebrating Building Safety Week with the Bureau of Development Services this week!

Alisa Cour

Public Information Manager


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