Have you every watched dogs establish who's the alpha. The contest has less to do with size and strength, than attitude. The tiny ankle biter has little clue the Rottweiler can gulp him down like a milk bone. The big dog is the one who makes the other blink first.
While attitude may work well for establishing who's the boss, it doesn't work well for construction. Knowledge and skill are two important qualities that get the job done right and safely.
And more than a bit of good sense.
When building a structure like say a deck, one should know the basics of that particular type of construction. Like any structure a deck starts with a foundation. The foundation for a deck is a footing. A solid concrete structure of a certain dimension set into the ground a specific depth. In Connecticut that depth is 42 inches.
Browsing the local big box home improvement store, one will see lots of stuff for building decks. The aisles are stocked with all manner of doodads and hooziwhatzits to help make constructing your deck quicker and yes, better.
The first rule of deck construction should be; just because they sell it in the home improvement store, doesn't mean its okay to use for building a deck.
Recently I was privileged to view a new deck purportedly constructed by a professional contractor. The first thing that caught my attention was one of the two main support columns was quite noticeably askew. Looking down I found this important piece of structural support was installed on top of the concrete patio. The builder had wisely placed this vital piece of support onto a plastic gasket. These plastic gaskets (sold in the home stores) are a innovation designed to stop decay to wooden posts by creating a gap between the concrete and wood.
Last time I checked the cure for this problem was called pressure treated wood. Needless to say the post has not been properly supported or secured.
The other post was an improvement over the crooked column. For this second support the builder had chosen a pre-cast concrete "footing" made just for 4" x 4" columns. The pyramid shape of the footing is meant to prevent settling into to the soil. This product is another short cut to made to get that project done faster, not better.
The dog leash around the post made me think, how long will it take Fido to pull the post out of whack. By the looks of the other post, he has gotten a good start.