Monday marked the sixth anniversary of a Lincoln Park porch collapse that killed 13 people and injured more than 50 others. While an excessive amount of people (100) were congregated on the porch the night of June 29, 2003, a city investigation revealed that the third-story porch at 713 W. Wrightwood Avenue had not been constructed properly. The porch jutted out too far past the building and was also too large. Shortly after the crash, inspectors across the city cited roughly 1, 200 landlords for their own dangerous porches.
While this faulty porch ended in tragedy, there are plenty of precautions you can take to ensure your Chicago home is up to standards and safe. This is also something to keep in mind as out when checking out Chicago homes for sale. You should always get a trusted inspector to look at your porch for wear and damage. A porch may seem sturdy, put as pointed out above, its dimensions may be off. This is particularly important if the property has been vacant for some time. If you prefer to do a general inspection prior to hiring a profession, which is recommended, look for split or rotting wood, water damage, missing or rusting hardware, shaky beams and railings.
Chicago homeowners should note that you are required by law to maintain your porch or deck. So if you notice any of the criteria above, contact a professional immediately. If you’re interested in getting a porch built for your Chicago home, pre-approved designs are available on the City of Chicago’s Web site. Or, if you are working with a designer, make sure he/she comes with references and can give you past examples of work.
One thing homeowners and potential homeowners should remember is this: porches should not be used as gathering places. The Lincoln Park porch that collapsed was holding 100 people at the time, and it was only made to hold 25. So find out the maximum capacity for your porch and stick to it. Your safety is more important than any party.
If you are interested in having a porch inspected, please contact real estate agent Sheldon Salnick at (312) 498-5080 or [email protected] for inspector/contractor recommendations. And remember, never purchase a piece of Chicago real estate without having it looked at by a trusted professional.