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Deck/Porch Safety in light of the Chicago collapse (was "Jacqueline Kim")

Dan

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Jacqueline Kim

Much as I'm reluctant to post forwards in the FAC, I'm wondering if anyone saw this intercepted e-mail, which made its way around the Internet some months ago. I just saw it again and thought "hmmmm ... I wonder what the folks here on Cyburbia would think.

Here ya' go.

From: Jacqueline Kim [mailto:Jacqueline.Kim@heart.org]
Sent: Wednesday, May 15, 2002 10:05 AM
To: Jacqueline Kim; 'Amanda Moore'; 'doyleall!hotmail.com'; 'areinowski!hotmail.com'; 'deanhea1!hotmail.com'; 'goodmanjamie!hotmail.com'; 'ferancej!hotmail.com'; 'frankjenn78!hotmail.com'; 'giffenla!msu.edu'; 'shiresel!msu.edu'; 'hernan83!msu.edu'; 'mskruba!choosechicago.com'; 'michellemenghini!hotmail.com'; 'mindie.kaplan!nissan-usa.com'; 'scicero!alberici.com'; 'stephoe!cdw.com'; 'vilumsti@hotmail.com'; 'tpdish!hotmail.com'; 'anolickw!hotmail.com'; 'jeff!careersource.com'; 'michael!careersource.com'; 'coreyslawrence!hotmail.com'; 'graulama!msu.edu'; 'drewparker70!hotmail.com'; 'teichenb!engin.umich.edu'; 'lindsay!tilchen.com'; 'lisabusch99!hotmail.com'; 'mkramer80!hotmail.com'; 'natomatic1!aol.com'; 'wentzali!hotmail.com'
Subject: The dish...

The update

Well...Mr. Casey O'Brien showed up at my door at about 8:15ish. Sporting a pair of cute jeans, a button up and a black jacket. For his outfit I would give him about a B. As for looks, he was cute but on the shorter side and his hair was a little too long. Far from a mullet but longer than I would prefer but let's not dwell on that because he can kinda get away with it. So for looks, I would probably give him another B. Car- BMW, like I stated before. A great car, he'll have to get and A for that. He gets and A+ for his manners and politeness. Marcie, he opened the car door everytime! Super polite. Overall general appearance will cap at a B+.

AS for the place we went to, another "A". The Tasting Room is an excellent date place. I was never the wine connoisseur but I'm gradually thinking I could become one. We had 4 glasses each of different white wines and a cheese flight, which was the perfect food mecca to go with the wine. Place is awesome, I recommend all of you guys to attend this place for a night out with your man/woman. We also headed over to this place called the Black Duck. Another great place! The date place itself gets an overall "A".

By the way Girls- this summer we must hang out on Randolph, so many awesome places!

I can go into great detail of what we talked about and such but, that would make for an extremely long email.

The date ended with me getting intoxicated but not like crazy intoxicated, but I was drunk. No hangovers. I'm assuming he was fairly intoxicated but since he was driving, I didn't want to know, so I never asked.

By the way, as for myself, I get an overall A+ for how damn cute I looked. I sported a pair of fun longer Capri pants from Guess in a darker khaki color with my white shirt from Hanger 18, that has my lower back showing with my new cute fitted black jacket with empire sleeves from Armani. I was a BABE. He didn't stand a chance. My worries of not being cute were so swept under the rug with the outfit I pulled off last night.

Before jumping to any conclusions, YES, I stayed the night, only because I semi passed out on his couch and he was polite to ask if I wanted to head home and I just said he could take me home in the morning, NOTHING happened. Honestly only a kiss derived from this date and it didn't even happen at his place. I believe it might have been executed at the Black Duck but I'm not so sure on the exact time and location. But can I add, GREAT kisser. The date kiss gets an "A". Really, I haven't had that great of a kiss since, well we won't go there but it has been a long time. I might have to go with the fact that I might have mastered the skill of French kissing, no joke. As long as I have potential to work with, I can execute a pretty intense kiss.

Lauren- you would have loved Casey's attitude. Actually I think all of would have appreciated how he called me out on my stupid logic of thinking. Somehow, it came up on how random it was for us to meet and {bleep} and how when he said the very first time we talked for me to give him a call and my response was, "Really, I'll let you know now, I won't call you, so I suggest you write my number down and give me a call". Hence the wait of a week or so for his first initial call was due to my shallowness or whatever you would like to call my way of playing the field. Doesn't really matter, he still called and I didn't.

So, question is, where do I stand on the whole outlook of Mr. Casey O'Brien and the date...The car, the money, the job, the cute apartment, the boat-which by the way only seats 6 people, so I really don't consider that really amazing, his mannerism and his great kiss will probably lock in another date but...I can tell you now unless he cuts his hair and sends me gifts, it won't lead me to seek anything more than my 1st 30 year old FRIEND (Oh by the way, I think he's only 29, but still, I'm rounding up). Plus, the summer is just around the corner and guys are EVERYWHERE, I need to keep the options open and my schedule free to lock in some other great summer flings...

Well, I hope you've enjoyed the day in the life of Miss Jackie Kim and please feel free to comment on my date, my outfit, the kiss, or whatever else. If you need any more major details of the date please contact me in one of the following ways: phone, email, personal visit or text messaging.

Oh, I might be heading to a Cubs game with him next week. We'll see.

Oh by the way ladies- His cute friend Brian, is single and also a day trader.

Which by the way, being a day trader is pretty money, literally in a sense but he gets to throw on lounge wear for work and is home no later than Noon.

Are you kidding me? Where was being a day trader on career day in Elementary school?

________________
Jacqueline Kim
Major Gifts & Planned Giving
American Heart Association, Midwest Affiliate
208 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60604
Office: (312) 346-4675 #280
Fax: (312) 346-8236
Email: jacqueline.kim@heart.org
www.americanheart.org
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
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WTF?!?!?!? so what's so interesting about some woman telling her date in detail to a bunch of people through mail?

/me no understandey :p
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
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Wow, she has to be one of the most shallow people ever.

Still, it's not right to be passing her email around the internet.

Actually, I read a bit of the FC discussion on it, yeah, she probably deserves it...
 
Last edited:

Chet

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Trixie Alert.

Its really too bad she died when that porch collapsed in Lincoln Park. The AHA will surely miss her. Or not.

Edit: On the bright side, the used car market has been flooded with 12 more Jettas.
 

Dan

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Hate to say it, Chet, but it was the first thing I thought of when I heard that a porch collapsed in Chicago on Sunday ... trixies. Sure enough, I read more, and it was a group of twentysomethings in Lincoln Park.

Damn. I wonder how this is being treated in the Chicago media, compared to the nightclub fire a few months ago?
 

jordanb

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It's pretty low key right now. The E2 disaster was a clear case of someone ****ing up big time, so that fueled the media circus. At this point it just appears to be a matter of way too many people on a deck at a private residence.

If it's found that there was negligence involved no doubt the'll attack it like pack dogs. The Sun Times tried to paint it as landlords "making the decks too big to make the place more rentable" so they may try to go at it from that direction, but that's pretty weak.
 

Jessie-J

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When I was a sophomore in high school a wooden porch fell out from underneath me and a few friends. I broke my back - a couple vertebrae. I really feel for all those people who fell. I don't think the situation should be taken lightly. Yesm there were probably too many people on that balcony, but I have never seen a weight limit on one....has anyone else? Most aren't means of ingress/egress, but a gathering place outdoors. Anyhow....sucks that it happened.
 

Dan

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Here's an example of such a porch -- really, a landing --in Lincoln Park.



During my undergrad years, I lived in pre-gentrification Bucktown for a semester, as part of an urban studies program. The porches in neighborhoods like Bucktown and Lincoln Park are everywhere, but they're not intended to be gathering places like the two-flat porches in Buffalo. They're just intended to serve as convenient back entrances to apartments from an alley. Still, though, folks used them as gathering places during parties. I was at a party where the back landing was just a few meters from the Ravenwood El line. I was admittedly nervous, considering the landing's rickety appearance and the vibrations from the el.

Here's a Buffalo upper flat porch. There are usually two or three entrances to an upper flats, but they're from common stairwells inside the house. You see the same type of large gatherings on Buffalo's Elmwood Village and University Heights two-flat porches that you see on Lincoln Park's outdoor stairwells, but the porches are integral to the house; they were designed with such gatherings in mind, and aren't going to collapse.

1elmwood_51-med.jpg
 

Jeff

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The porch thing happens once a year (at least) down the Jersey shore. Why people think you can out 100 people on them I don't know. The wonders of alcohol.
 

giff57

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I had a city councilman at my old job that was a contractor. He said he built kitchen cabnets that you could sit on and decks that couild hold people shouder to shoulder because that is how they are used.
 

Jessie-J

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if the deck was intended only for use as a pathway, then it shouldn't be large enough to hold that many people. A large porch indicates a gathering place, wether it be of stuff or of people. Landings should be maintained because there is no predicting what might happen. It's really sad that it happens on a regular basis at Jersey Shore. I honestly don't think it is the fault of the people or the intoxication. If the porch is large enough to hold that many people comfortably, then it should be maintained and expected to do just that unless there is some rule otherwise. I know in my lease there is nothing that says how many people I'm allowed to have on my balcony. But when I have parties, that's the only place for thbe smokers...
 

jordanb

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Jessie-J said:
if the deck was intended only for use as a pathway, then it shouldn't be large enough to hold that many people. A large porch indicates a gathering place, wether it be of stuff or of people. Landings should be maintained because there is no predicting what might happen. It's really sad that it happens on a regular basis at Jersey Shore. I honestly don't think it is the fault of the people or the intoxication. If the porch is large enough to hold that many people comfortably, then it should be maintained and expected to do just that unless there is some rule otherwise.
The porch was 13x20 feet, or 260 square feet. The Sun Times said that there were between 60 and 100 people there, that's between 4.3 and 2.6 square feet per person. I don't really think porch designers should have to make the structure withstand being crush-loaded with people, as it should be pretty obvious that they're not intended for that.
 

Chet

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jordanb said:
I don't really think porch designers should have to make the structure withstand being crush-loaded with people, as it should be pretty obvious that they're not intended for that.
It was less crowded than many elevators. If an elevator cable would have snapped, you damn well better bet the construction codes would immediately change. (This deck was apparently built to code but without permits and inspections). Another $200 in lumber for trussing isnt worth a dozen lives to you?
 

michaelskis

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Commercial Use

There is a place that I would go out on more than a few occasions when I was back at school. It had a deck off the back that was about one level off the roof of the building behind it. (There was a steep hill) It over looked Lake Superior, had good air flow, and the weekend before school started, it was nothing to have it so that you could not even turn around on the deck. There was only one door to get on and off the deck. Yet it seemed like it would hold, and I do not believe that they had ever been cited for the number of people on the deck.

I do have to ask, do you think that both residential and commercial should be looked at just as strongly as the rest of the building for a higher capacity, or do you feel that it is an accessory use and should be looked at in a different way.

It took me a while to understand what the letter was about.
 

jordanb

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It is reasonable to expect structures like elevators and el trains to be crush loaded, because that's a standard use for such vehicles. Should pleasure boats also be designed to carry such loads? Undoubtedly that would save some lives but it would put severe constraints on their designers. There is always a use for a structure that will cause it to fail. Designers must anticipate reasonable uses, plus a safty margin, but I don't think it's reasonable to expect them to anticipate this kind of thing.

Consider this: so suppose designers are required to design the structure to be crush loaded, what if someone desides to trow a rave on their porch and the hundred people pressed onto the structure start jumping? Should the designers have to anticipate that? It would require the structure to be seveal times stronger still. You can see how that would quickly escalate into the absurd.

For a porch that big, yeah, they should have anticipated that it'd be used for parties, with perhaps thirty or forty people on it at once, but I've seen similar porches and I'd be very wary to get on one with 60-100 people crammed onto it. It should have been obvious to everyone there that the porch wasn't designed to hold that many people.
 

carlomarx

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party logic?

Honestly, if I were at that party, I'd probably be on the porch. I don't care how many people were out there.

Who goes to a party and thinks about safety? "...I saw a fly land on this salsa... I'm going home." "This chick/dude has been around... anybody got a condom?" ...right.

I'm not condoning reckless behavior, but I know I would have been on that porch at least half the time.

It's just a matter of degrees between a little craziness and a lot of craziness.
 

Jessie-J

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It is not necessary to design these things to be "crush loaded" but there should be some public information letting people know that "this is the amount of weight this porch will hold". Elevators have it, I don't think it would be unreasonable for an apartment complex to add it to their lease. and NO, it's NOT unreasonable for someone to throw a huge party where many people end up on the balcony/porch/landing. I've seen it happen many times. People will gather where they gather. It can be deterred or influenced but why not just build better than code. CODE IS THE WORST CASE ALLOWABLE BY LAW. Bulders and designers need to build and design better than that.
 

jordanb

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Re: party logic?

carlomarx said:
Who goes to a party and thinks about safety? "...I saw a fly land on this salsa... I'm going home." "This chick/dude has been around... anybody got a condom?" ...right.
Well, I admit that people do stupid things at parties. The question is if designers should have to anticipate all of those stupid things. Should we have beer cans that dont explode when thrown into fires, railings that can't be climbed over, windows that can't be broken, plastic wine bottles, and foam padding on every sharp edge? The rave example I gave is a good one, moshing can place incredible stess on a structure. I live in a solidly built building, but I wouldn't want to risk having a hundred people jumping in my living room, let alone on my shitty deck. I have to say that I don't know if I'd be on such a deck or not (it'd depend on how much I had to drink) but it should have been obvious to any sober person that that wasn't a safe situation.

So my point is, I agree with jessie-j that the deck was designed to be used for more then ingress and egress, but I don't think it is reasonable to expect it to take the types of loads it was apperently under that night. Loading it that heavily is another "stupid thing drunks do" in my opinion.

Jessie-J said:
It is not necessary to design these things to be "crush loaded" but there should be some public information letting people know that "this is the amount of weight this porch will hold".
Yeah, I think that's a good idea too, and it'll probably happen now (at least in Chicago). I doubt it'll keep people from doing stuff like that at parties though. Pleasure boats have weight limits posted on them as well but there are still quite a few drowning deaths from capsizing boats.

Capacity limits at commecial venues like night clubs can be enforced by bouncers, but at a private residence it's much more "anything goes", and there's rarely a few big guys standing around making sure things don't get out of hand.
 

michaelskis

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Bad things

I agree bad things happen at parties. I have seen a railing on stairs (inside) give out because of the number of people who where leaning on it. There was no way that it was intended to be a lean rail, but that was what it was used for, until it broke. I also know a guy that is now paralyzed because he was drunk, on a trampoline, and landed on the edge of a picnic table.

I guess what I am trying to say, is no matter how much we enforce things, and take all the safe guards, people are going to get hurt. I have been hit by people falling down a few stairs at parties. But I am still going to go to parties. *I will just catch them or move before they cause me to wear my beer.
 

Jessie-J

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Drunks will be drunks- doing stupid things is what they do best. And yes, designers should anticipate those things. That's why railings have to be a certian height, that's why windows often are made of tempered glass, that's why alcohol is often served in aluminum cans, that's why open fires aren't allowed just anywhere.

There are codes and rules and standards that are meant to be safety measures. I don't think that the people on that balcony in Chicago were bouncing up and down.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that YES, the worst scenarios should be anticipated by designers. If that means spending a few thousand dollars to make sure that those huge balconies don't collapse under the weight of a full space, then YES, spend the extra money.
 

carlomarx

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QUOTE] I have seen a railing on stairs (inside) give out[/QUOTE]

I have been hit by people falling down a few stairs at parties.
This is why my little "parties" in my padded, soundproof basement are such a good idea.

hee hee!
 

biscuit

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carlomarx said:
This is why my little "parties" in my padded, soundproof basement are such a good idea. hee hee!
"Bring out the Gimp!"? ;)


I have to agree with Jessie. A deck that large, especially one that's multi-level, should be designed and built with the anticipation that the availabel space will be used to maximum capacity, not just as a pathway. Having lived in a Trixie and Chad neighborhood with large, often shared, multi-level backdecks I can attest to the fact that they are most often used as gathering places for crowds during parties. The landlords know this and highlight the deck as a selling point in renting units. The building code should be updated to reflect the reality of how these decks are used.
 

Repo Man

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I agree that the deck should be constructed to support that many people. When there is a deck outside an apartment, renters should be able to assume that this deck will support a large number of people, unless otherwise told by the landlord.

As for the landlord, I would assume now that it was revealed that a permit was not pulled, will be sued by each and every person that was injured or that lost a family member.
 

Jeff

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I bet you there is more of an issue with the age and upkeep of the deck than the construction. Any wooden deck is going to lose some of its load bearing weight over time.

Common sense is needed here, structural engineers aren't going to start designing your ordinary residential deck.
 

SkeLeton

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ok... now I get it... the Chicago colapse...

Human stupidity has no limits, and people designing and building can't design things to be 100% safe under any circunstance. Ok so it may have been a desgin flaw that made it colapse, but I doubt anybody designs these decks to stand the weight of almost 100 people... and I doubt they designed it for that many people to be there....

I don't take away the guilt of the people that designed and built it (aparently without permits) ,but the guilt is shared between the people that were on it and caused the collapse and the builders... and of course the owner/renter of the apartment...
 

Mastiff

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Repo Man said:
I agree that the deck should be constructed to support that many people. When there is a deck outside an apartment, renters should be able to assume that this deck will support a large number of people, unless otherwise told by the landlord.
Agreed. The question then becomes, was it built to support that many people. According to reports, it was 260 sq. ft., and 50 people were out on the thing. BOCA says that a balcony (over a certain height) requires 60lbs. per sq. ft. So, that structure should hold 15,600 pounds... or, an average of 312 lbs. per person.

Now, previous reports said between 60 and 100 people were up there... So, that averages at 260 lbs. and 156lbs. Being that 60 people were injured, and some were on porches below, I'm more inclined to go with the low number, and an improperly constructed or maintained balcony. How do you fall three stories without injury? And do they build Trixies at 312 lbs.?

And for Mike D., that same landlord had been cited for dilapitated decks previously... If it was built to specs, it sure hadn't been maintained.
 
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