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Fwd: Berkeley Balcony Collapse-New photos from Lisa Fulton

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I attached a few pics in Google drive, hope it works with the seaint email
server...

I found a forensic job I did a few months back with really bad rot damage
due to a shower leak. Non-pressure treated, sawn lumber beams,
cantilevering out from the exterior wall. Some of what I was saying about
how sawn lumber degrades when water damaged and decayed was fairly accurate
(based on my experience), but I also saw from my pics that significant
layers of the beams could be easily removed by hand. But for the most part
I don't see a lot of swelling (Pic 45). But in that same pic, the grain
pattern is pronounced and from a distance could look like LVL, so there
goes my theory on that. But then again, the pics of the Berkley beams have
some much swelling and layer/fiber separation, the wood looks so friable,
it just reminds me of damaged plywood.

But maybe it was sawn lumber on the Berkley collapse, Chuck....

 This will be my last post on the subject because it is sort of moot and I
don't think anyone cares at this point :)

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On Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 1:41 PM, Andrew Kester <akester74(--nospam--at)gmail.com> wrote:

> Chuck,
> Maybe you are right. But zoom as far in as you can and look at the bottom
> of the beams, I see lines which appear to be layers. Also, the way the 
> wood looks swollen and appears to be coming apart in layers, which I have 
> only seen in engineered/laminated products, actually it looks like cabinets 
> when they get wet and swell and come apart in layers (as does regular 
> plywood). Sawn lumber doesn't usually come apart like that in my experience, 
> it decays and gets holes in it, but there isn't much swelling and it becomes 
> sponge-like.
> 
> But we are just looking at long distance photos, so I definitely deserve
> the right to be wrong.
> 
> I agree there would not be a structural need per se for LVLs for those
> balconies, but if they were used in the rest of the structure maybe that 
> is what they used because the supplier gave them a deal. Or some engineers 
> just get in the habit of specifying the same products.
> 
> I guess we shall see. I hear you on forensics, you see a lot of the same
> things, same mistakes, which helps in the experience department because 
> you know what to look for.
> 
> Andrew Kester, PE
> Florida
> 
> On Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 1:24 PM, Chuck Utzman <chuckutzman(--nospam--at)gmail.com>
> wrote:
> 
> 
>> 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
> 
> Truncated 738 characters in the previous message to save energy.
> 
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