Officials: Use of laminated lumber caused Ottawa County deck collapse

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The Weaver House

WEST OLIVE, Mich. – Officials say that the wrong type of beams were used in the construction of a deck that collapsed and injured several people at Pine Bend Park earlier this month.

Ottawa County Parks officials say that GMB Architecture and Engineering concluded that the structural beams of the deck were Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) and that is the “wrong material to use in the outdoor environment of this deck.”  They report the LVL wood is “not suitable for the absorption of chemicals in the pressure treatment process”, that is used to make wood appropriate for outdoor use.

Officials say that a joint LVL beam sheared at one of the 8×8 treated posts while 20 to 30 people were on the deck and the deck collapsed.  GMB reports that the interior of the LVL beams were found to have significant rotting, while the non-laminated boards were not rotted and still in good shape.

The deck at the Weaver House was 12 years old. Several people suffered minor injuries.

Officials with the parks say they don’t generally use LVL beams on their outdoor decks, but they did in this instance due to the unique design of the Weaver House.  The deck will be rebuilt using non-LVL beams.

The Weaver House is still open, but the deck area is closed.


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