Qualified Decking Installer

Good Morning Karl

I think that a suitably limited ‘qualification’, for basic deck design & construction would be very welcome, and I for one, despite 38 years in the industry, am always keen to learn, and would like to be involved/take part.

Part of my work these days involves me in adjudication and the preparation of expert witness reports, where things have gone horribly wrong on a contract, and, some of the decking horror stories that I have had to look at beggars belief!!

If I get involved with a project, for say a restaurant or hotel, then I always run my design past a ‘tame’ structural engineer, to ensure public loading criteria etc are met; having an insight into the maths involved, I think it unlikely that this is an area you would want to allow  designers to think they can cover/cope with?

Perhaps some sort of recognised qualification may enable insurance companies to consider offering reasonable rates for those ‘qualified’ decking designers to take out Professional Indemnity Insurance to cover their design work. It genuinely worries me the number of designers/installers operating without cover, and the most often reason cited is cost. I have heard from freshly qualified garden designers being asked to pay up to £3k/year !!- even myself, with 38 years ‘no claim bonus’ has to fork out the thick end of £600 ??!! – so, any perceived help in this quarter, I’m sure would be welcomed by the industry.

I’m confident that the vast majority of the ‘Decking Network’ subscribers will want to be involved, because they are the guys who care about getting it right, unfortunately, as with all trades, it’s the tiny minority who do the ‘bodge it and scarper’ jobs that wont care, but will get the trade a bad name.

Educating the public/specifiers to use ‘qualified’ designers and installers will, I think, be the ultimate challenge.

Good luck, and please let me know if you think I can be of any help.


Mitch Westwood

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3 thoughts on “Qualified Decking Installer”

  1. We are for over few years in Landscaping industry in UK and even though we have qualified carpenters and joiners, we would be really interested in some basic course of some kind to show some of our customers that we are qualified. We have many years of experience with building a decking, but there is always something to learn from more skillful people…also depends on price. I would appreciate that decking suppliers would do such a courses for minimum price…

  2. When asked to inspect a decking installation done by others after the project was quoted and professionally designed. How sad – how much did the client actually save? Nothing, the project cost them more… 

    The 75mm and 100mm substructure was peppered with brad nails and not a bolt in sight…Not fixed to the property and when you stood on the platform it moved in every direction, frightening this one!

    Stringer for the stair case?, spans? fixing? upside down at the top and fixed with brad nails…oh dear

    Beam spans, sorry what beams, posts brad nailed? random bits of offcuts for the tread supports.

    “Its ok we have our own chippies on site and they can this much cheaper” now how many times have I heard that…