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Re: Berkeley balcony collapse

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Andrew-
Here is a pretty good piece about the failure. http://cirrus.mail- list.com/seaint-seaosc/60442008.html second-balcony-questions-over- quality-of-construction-of-library-gardens/ It points out the fact that Cities enjoy sovereign immunity in their role as Building Inspectors. The contractors and design professionals will try to seek refuge under a "standard of care" argument (& will fail). The insurance companies will pay out to policy limits & then just jack up rates a little to cover it.The big winners will likely be the lawyers. IMHO the real culprit is ICBO. The fact is that we build to the Code. If the Code says something is important, it usually gets done right because everybody knows it will be inspected. If we Building Inspectors don't care, generally speaking, no one else does either. It would be nice to see the ICBO added to the coming lawsuit(s),maybe that would get their attention.
Chuck Utzman, PE

On 6/22/2015 8:24 AM, Andrew Kester wrote:
Chuck,
Agree with all of your comments. It is not likely one mistake but a
combination of errors. Every step of the process must be tightened up, and the best detail in the world on paper is useless if it is not installed
correctly. Reminds me of many of the conclusions from Hurricane Andrew's
devastation were that yes, the codes need to be improved, but the biggest
issue was compliance and inspection.

Even if it is one problem, then water testing as they described it would
only show the balcony slopes away and probably drains just fine. The pics
show the lower balcony slopes quite a bit, at least visually it looked that way. We can conclude it was not a singular pin hole leak or slash in the membrane, because every single joist was badly rot-damaged. This leads me to think the wall-floor flashing was the main culprit, though it could have been the membrane because we did not see the entire joists just the broken off ends (and like Chuck this seems to me to be the least likely). And good luck finding that on a finished building.

A common error I see on roofs and walls when it comes to waterproofing is
relying on sealants (caulk, roofing cement) where mechanical flashing is

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