Press Release: Deck Collapse Conclusions

Park Press Release


Ottawa County officials have answers about the Weaver House deck

June 28, 2017

Media Contacts: 
John Scholtz, Ottawa County Parks Director, (616) 738-4808
Shannon Felgner, Communications Manager, (616-738-4672

Twelve days following the deck collapse at the Weaver House in Ottawa County’s Pine Bend Park, officials have answers. GMB Architecture and Engineering has concluded that the Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) that was utilized for the structural beams of the deck was “the wrong material to use in the outdoor environment of this deck” because 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.   

The design called for twin LVL beams of 1-3/4 inches wide by 11 ¼ inches deep to be attached to one another and for the joint beam to then serve as the interior spine of the deck. On June 16, at approximately 7 pm, the joint LVL beam sheared at one of the 8 x 8 treated posts, causing a “V” shaped collapse of the deck. Between 20 to 30 people were on the deck at the time of the collapse, however, there were no serious injuries.

GMB’s inspection of the interior of the LVL beams at the point of the break revealed significant rotting, whereas the non-laminated lumber, which absorbed the pressure treating chemicals, was not rotted and remained structurally sound. The deck was 12 years old. 

Ottawa County Parks Department does not generally use LVL beams in its outdoor decks; their use in this context was unique to the Weaver House deck design. The Weaver House itself is unaffected by the deck collapse and is open for use; however, the deck area will remain closed to visitors until it can be rebuilt without LVL beams.

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