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Re: Berkeley balcony collapse leaves 6 students dead

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Andrew:

I agree with your comments. My firm had water intrusion and dry rot problems before one project that I had to complete. (Pacifica, CA - 46 townhouses). We had to shore the 2nd storys and remove a glulam beam that was distressed. We took great care in obtaining an architects detail to prevent new water intrusion, then we had another architect expert review his detail and then we had special inspection on the actual construction by a expert water-protection firm and signed off by them. I don't remember if we didn't have the beam treated also.

Of course every balcony on the subject building is now suspect.

Neil Moore, PE, SE
neil moore and associates
consulting structural engineers
shingle springs, california

www,nma-se.com

On 6/16/2015 1:44 PM, Andrew Kester wrote:
Very sad and preventable. But they said the building was fairly new and it looked like it was newer architecture and just judging by the finishes, which makes it a bit more surprising.

I would bet this is water intrusion and decay damage more than overloading (but I reserve the right to be wrong) , even though it had what sounded
like a significant occupancy at the time .

I do a lot of forensic engineering, and have seen a lot of balconies, decks and roofs with similar water intrusion problems at the framing member to wall junction. This is especially an issue down here in Florida due to our frequent thunderstorms, wind blowing rain onto the balconies, and then the heat and humidity are a perfect environment for fungi to thrive. I know San Fran can be pretty wet also, just not as hot. But envelope and
waterproofing design there would be fairly critical in wood framed
structures.

The insidious thing about wood-framed balcony/deck deterioration, if it
occurs at the wall-balcony joint, the occupants/owners/maintenance
personnel may never know until there is a really bad problem or a failure,

Truncated 1831 characters in the previous message to save energy.

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