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Re: Berkeley Balcony Collapse-New photos from Lisa Fulton

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It looked like ordinary sawn lumber to me. There'd be no need for engineered lumber on such a short span. And while you are correct that LVL, LSL, and similar products don't handle water as well as solid lumber, nothing other than PT materials can last very long if it says wet. With our current level of inattention to waterproofing, it's prudent for engineers to assume the worst. One of the reasons I got out of forensic work was that it was too depressing. The same mistakes repeated over & over by architects, builders, and inspectors--with the same rotten results. It is a very difficult problem to cure, but ignoring it insures that these "accidents" will continue to happen.
Chuck Utzman, PE

On 6/19/2015 7:58 AM, Andrew Kester wrote:
LVL or similar engineered lumber, right?

My main point being those deteriorate much more rapidly than sawn lumber,
and cannot tolerate much moisture content increase. Sawn lumber can get wet as long as it dries out before decay becomes active it often is fine. LVL/engineered will start delaminating and falling apart even before decay. All around a bad situation that was made worse.

I am in no way blaming LVL/engineered wood, it is ultimately waterproofing. But sawn lumber and PT lumber would be a better choice for that type of
situation and provide some other factor of safety. Say they had used sawn
lumber, and though it was leaking there was little structural damage to the beams, the occupants of the balcony below may have had the opportunity to notice stains on the ceiling or leaks prior to a structural failure
occurring.

Lots of lessons to be learned from this one, as always with structural
failures.

Thanks again for sharing.

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