The Seventh Anniversary of The Tragic and Avoidable Berkeley Deck Collapse is June 16th. We Shall Never Forget You…

Ashley Donohoe, Olivia Burke, Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster, Lorcán Miller, Eimear Walsh and sadly Aiofe Beary, who was badly injured but survived the initial fall, sadly passed away recently. Seven lives cut short. Six lives permanently altered.

Last weekend I was in Berkeley. I stayed right around the corner from 2020 kittredge Street where the balcony collapsed. I was looking for a place to park my vehicle and they have a parking area there. It didn’t even strike me at the time when I drove in and parked that this was holy ground.

I walked outside of the garage and was on the sidewalk… I looked at it and then I looked up. When the place was library gardens there were two decks, one of which fell. As I walked down that sidewalk where they lay I trembled.

The Berkeley deck collapse was entirely preventable…and must not happen ever again. I call upon every state in the nation to implement deck inspections. Lives are at stake.

The Future is Here For Condo’s That Don’t Maintain; and It Doesn’t Look Good From Where I Stand

In a search today for something entirely unrelated to decks, I stumbled upon the news that a Homeowners Association in Diamond Bar CA had been red-tagged and the residents ordered to leave their homes because of deferred maintenance leading to structural concerns. The order to leave has been rescinded after the first engineers report declared the property and immediate hazard and recommended evacuating units was found to be lets say “over cautious”. There are 155 condos at the property on the first and second floors. The second floor units have balconies while first floor units have a patio.

Photo credit to The Patch Diamond Bar.

 Several structural engineers reports on the conditions found at The Village at Diamond Bar came to the conclusion that “while there are substantial deferred maintenance issues that should be addressed throughout the complex property, the condition does not create a widespread and immediate danger to the life or safety of all occupants of the individual units as previously recommended via a report by Khatri International, a structural engineer hired by the Diamond Bar Village Homeowner’s Association.

Continue reading The Future is Here For Condo’s That Don’t Maintain; and It Doesn’t Look Good From Where I Stand

Opinion – The California State License Board (CSLB) Has a License Classification Problem For Deck Waterproofing

Multiple Classifications of Contractors Can Waterproof Decks, But Few Have to Pass a Written Proficiency Test

D-12 Synthetic Products Classification Doesn’t Require a Proficiency Test

Manufacturer’s Accept D-12 License’s to Become Authorized Applicators

If you want to be a general contractor, plumber, electrician, earth mover, well driller, roofer.. CSLB requires you to have 3 years certifiable experience in that trade, plus take a legal exam on CSLB and state contracting laws AND pass a 3 hour test on your proficiency in that trade. You have to prove you know what your doing before they give you a license to do it. There’s a risk to consumers from people who don’t know what their doing. CSLB goes out of their way to run sting operations on unlicensed contractors, running press releases and posting hidden videos of their stings.

However, if you want to be a contractor that installs waterproofing for foundation walls and decks, decks like say the balcony in Berkeley, you don’t need a license that has a test that proves you have some knowledge; you can obtain a D-12 Synthetic Products license like this author has. A D-12 Synthetic products contractor does not have to pass a written test of proficiency in the subject of waterproofing! You just need to apply for it if your licensed in another trade and add it to your classifications and start waterproofing decks and foundations as most of the deck manufacturer’s accept the D-12 classification to sell and install their products.

How do I know this? Because I have/had a D12 license classification with which I used it to waterproof decks and balconies. But I’m not the only one, there are many contractors out there waterproofing decks using a D12, as well as using a C8 (concrete) or a C33 painting license improperly apparently, and CSLB seems to have a lassez faire attitude about this issue.

Will CSLB change the licensing requirements for becoming a deck waterproofing contractor?

Continue reading Opinion – The California State License Board (CSLB) Has a License Classification Problem For Deck Waterproofing

Balcony Inspection Vents-What Are They, What They Do and Are They Worth It?

We’ve seen a lot of hype over balcony inspection vents here in California. This new product is the result of the SB 326 & SB 721 Balcony Inspection bills that were passed after the deaths of 7 young adults and severe injuries to 6 who survived the collapse of a balcony in Berkeley in 2015.

Essentially balcony inspection vents are designed to be installed in a retrofit or on new construction across the bays on a deck, most are set up with a piano hinge that allows the vent to be opened and the joists and substrate can be observed. Several other less expensive types require the vent to be pulled down after removing several screws.

We found five balcony inspection vent manufacturer’s on a Google search, they being Brandguard Vents, Balcony Inspection Vents Inc, Stockton Products, Brand X Metals and Thunderbird Products.

Continue reading Balcony Inspection Vents-What Are They, What They Do and Are They Worth It?

Surveillance video shows ashtray catching fire at a NJ Moose Lodge

Well here it is folks, the proof of how dangerous a cigarette can be. Extinguish your butt and discard it properly. In water. Watch the video. Then read the article and see how this building narrowly escaped burning to the ground.

Luckily the fire department saved the building. Others aren’t so lucky.

Surveillance video provided to the New Jersey Herald shows an ashtray igniting on the deck of the Moose Lodge in Newton. https://uw-media.njherald.com/embed/video/10131151002?placement=snow-embed

My Words From 2017 Still Stand Today

I stumbled upon the minutes of A Building Standards Commission meeting from January of 2017…and I spoke out four times during that meeting. I still stand by these words today.

AND STILL TOTALLY TRUE TODAY!
ARCHITECTS OR AT LEAST 98%, DON’T UNDERSTAND WATERPROOFING BECAUSE THEY DON’T TEACH IT AT ARCHITECT SCHOOL!
HELLO, IS IT ME OR IS IT ARCHITECTS? CAN CAL POLY AND OTHER ARCHITECTURE SCHOOLS ACTUALLY TEACH WATERPROOFING FIRST TO THEIR STUDENTS?

And then there’s this, from the Irish Sun, where I put it bluntly. And I have to wonder, are things really any better today?

YEAH THE IRISH SUN QUOTED ME, ALMOST…THEY CAN’T PRINT MY EXACT WORDS ABOUT BERKELEY

The Spring Issue of Waterproof! Magazine Is Out

I recently got my spring issue of Waterproof! Magazine in the mail… This issue has a great article on using crystalline admixtures for waterproofing concrete. I have used Kryton myself in the past on several projects with great success.

There’s also a very interesting article on waterproofing being done on a yearly basis at Niagara Falls in Buffalo New York.

The other article that I found very interesting was by amir Hassan on protecting parking decks.

Be sure to click on waterproof magazine’s ad and go to their website and while you’re there subscribe I think it’s still only 20 bucks a year.

Excellent Q&A From Frank Woeste via Journal of Light Construction – Drainage Problems on Low Slope Roof Decks

I’ve had this Q & A page at JLC online on my to do list for a while now to post up here for you all…while the discussion is about drainage problems on low slope roofs, the photo they use is a deck over living space with tile on it and ponding water. And of course, decks over living space with tile or pedestrian traffic coatings on them are roofs as well, just that we walk on them too.

Frank discusses how a roof deck can pond water even when it’s “built to code” from loads placed on the deck. Recommended reading for designers, architects, builders, waterproofers and anyone interested in increasing their knowledge and skills.

Drainage Problems on Low-Slope Roofs

By Frank Woeste

Q. Can deflection of a low-slope roof cause ponding? How can this be avoided?

A. Frank Woeste, P.E., professor emeritus at Virginia Tech, responds: Historically, structural designers and builders have assumed that a design slope of 1/4 inch per foot (1:48) is sufficient to prevent ponding action, thinking that the installed roofing system will maintain at least a 1:48 slope in-service as required by some roof covering systems. However, in many cases and for different reasons, ponding on limited areas of low-slope roofs is common. That’s due to roof deflection, which over time can cause water to collect in some areas of a roof where the design slope for drainage is not adequate, and in fact changes from a “positive” drainage slope to a “negative” slope (see photo below).

  DOWNLOAD THE PDF VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE. (666.96 KB)

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