While inspecting various homes around Asheville I've noticed certain problems with decks that are not code compliant and can be hazardous. The balusters on the deck railing should be no more than 4 inches apart. I've witnessed some of these being as much as six inches apart. The main concern here is that small children shouldn't be able to fit through these rails. I've also noticed decks that are quite high from the ground with no railing at all. This is a fall hazard and should be assessed properly. My last concern is the attachment of decks to homes. It's recommended that 5/8" through bolts be secured into the band joist and into the existing structure. I see either none of these or not enough of these on almost every deck. Decks will fall from a house, it's very important to secure the deck properly.
Just a few thoughts from an Asheville N.C. home inspector.