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Re: Balcony Collapse

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This is almost certainly a rot problem that should not happen. Here's an email exchange I just had with our new Director of Planning. I've redacted the names to protect privacy:
I wrote:/
While I was on the Planning Commission I tried to get the Director of Planning & Building take an interest in the problem of inadequate waterproofing in our construction in our town. The Berkeley tragedy is a direct result of a huge shortcoming in our building Codes & inspection. Our Chief Building Official's response was that "we don't have the expertise to deal with it". I guess if the dead kids were in our town, there would be more interest.// //I spent 7 years doing nothing but forensic work & know the problem intimately. Would you be open to a discussion? This is a preventable problem, and frankly, more important than the structural issues we have chosen to fret so much about.//
//thanks,//
//chuck/

His reply:
/I'd be happy to talk about this issue; however, I have to defer to our CBO and my expert. I am not sure we as a City can apply a more rigorous standard than the State Building Codes but I am open to discuss it.It would be nice if those of us who understand the issue//
/
And my response:
/A  couple of things: //
//When we adopt the building code we are permitted to incorporate additional requirements if there is a rational basis particular to our situation. AFAIK that's how all the Green Ordinance stuff found its way into our Code. // //What I'm thinking about would be to require that the drawings include waterproofing details and then require that a licensed design professional observe the work & write a certifying letter at the end of the job (similar to what we have chosen to do for the structure). The City's Building Dept. needn't necessarily be any more involved than that. // //The deaths aside,California is incurring billions of dollars in water damages & it unconscionable that we continue to ignore the problem. //
//chuck /

I really hope something positive can come out of this tragedy.
Chuck Utzman, PE

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