Following the collapse of the balcony in Berkeley, that killed 6 and seriously injured 7 others, the California Building Safety Commission adopted me regulations on building and waterproofing Elevated Exterior Elements EEE for short.
The adoption of these emergency regulations will increase balcony safety standards by increasing load design, using decay resistant wood and Inspections of waterproofing before covering with other materials, such as a concrete overburden.
Testimony from the Irish families and victims has helped cause these changes. Jackie Donohue, mother of one child killed in the collapse has been leading the charge in bringing changes to balcony construction along with requiring inspections.
After Berkeley adopted ordinates requiring inspections, over 800 balconies in that city alone have been found to be deficient.
As winter starts heading into spring you may have looked out at your deck and heaved a sigh knowing you have a choice to make this year…replacing that old rickety wood deck or the fading, sagging composite deck that was supposed to last 30 years. What to do what to do? Go back to a wood deck using exotic Ipe and hope that lasts longer and has less maintenance? Use the newest and “greatest” composite?
While the wood and composite markets currently dominate the deck market, the end user is getting tired of the limited color choices of composite decking available at lumber stores and doesn’t want to wait for a special order with it’s various requirements and doesn’t really like the thought of the maintenance that wood decks require. The newest choice available is actually a choice that’s been around for a long time, it’s just that not many knew about this choice til now.
The new “choice” for decking is rapidly becoming solid surface walking deck systems installed over a plywood substrate on conventional doug fir or pressure treated framing. Solid surface decking systems offer many advantages over it’s wood and composite competitors. Some of those advantages are
Waterproof! These decks can waterproof and give you a walkable surface on a roof deck, dry in a patio below, keep a storage area dry underneath. Increases your homes value!
Cost competitive. Framing costs are the same as for decks receiving wood/composite decking. Plywood and the waterproof coating system often costs less than composite decking and almost always less than exotic hardwoods.
Less Maintenance! No sanding, staining and sealing every year. Most waterproof deck systems require resealing every 3-5 years. Clean them off easily using Simple Green, water and a hose and brush.
Unique Looks! Waterproof decks can look like anything you want-wood (yep), tile, stone, brick, stained, stamped…the designs are virtually unlimited!
Look at our deck finishes, you’ll see some of the many various finishes available that can set you apart from the rest of the pack.
The balcony that collapsed in June of 2015 in Berkeley, killing 6 and severely injuring 7 other Irish students has been found, after analysis by forensic scientists, to have been constructed improperly. As a result, the Contractors State License Board has filed through the Attorney General’s Office an accusation against Segue Construction, the general contractor.
The allegations are serious, not following plans without an architects approval will land you in hot water with CSLB. It has also resulted in 6 dead people and 7 injured. The weight of that alone would crush me, yet these people running Segue are conscienceless snakes that sought to blame the victims. How do they look in a mirror?
The accusation lists out specifically the contractors failures, from not using pressure treated materials, to using OSB board where their project manual said it was specifically not acceptable, to failing to cover and protect the deck until it could be waterproofed to failing to waterproof it properly.
Read the accusation by clicking here. Alternately you can read the specific allegations below. The accusation is a public document and the CSLB has posted it as a public service to help warn consumers, as they feel that Segue is a threat to the public. Segue is afforded due process and can defend against the accusation, including even if/when their license is suspended or revoked. Another case I’m familiar with has dragged on since October of 2013 and still proceeds today so justice may take a while here too.
Full disclosure-I just got one to test from Wagner, free of charge.
Wagner Meter, long a renowned manufacturer of moisture measuring tools for the woodworking, logging and flooring industries, has recently introduced a new tool geared for home inspectors and contractors. The Wagner BI2200 Moisture Meter is a handy tool for measuring relative moisture content of many building materials-stucco, plaster, drywall, tile, shingles etc.
As described by Wagner- The BI2200 inspection moisture meter is ideal for building or home inspections and is designed to provide comparative, relative moisture content readings for common building materials – stucco, plaster, drywall, tile, shingles, roofing, linoleum, wood and more. From their website-
Materials to Measure
Stucco, plaster, drywall, tile, shingles, roofing, linoleum, wood and more.
Specifically designed for the building or home inspector, the BI2200, using state-of-the-art electromagnetic wave technology, provides a non-invasive tool for measuring a wide range of materials including wood, synthetic stucco, plaster, drywall, insulation materials, ceramic tile, shingles, linoleum, concrete and more.
The BI2200 Building Inspection Moisture Meter provides a general comparison moisture indication for inspection applications that only require relative* moisture content (MC) readings. By establishing a known baseline dry MC relative reading on a building material, the BI2200 can then compare and pinpoint elevated MC problem areas or conditions.
The BI2200 is programmable for numerous building materials and its two-button control makes one-handed operation simple. Designed with a Teflon pad to protect the sensor area on rough or abrasive surfaces, the BI2200 can provide a relative* MC reading on building materials without damage to the materials surface.
The BI2200, with its Press and Hold feature, lets you get into tight places without needing a visual line to the meter display. Beneath a sink, under a cabinet overhang or in a tight corner, with the Press and Hold feature you can take the relative* MC reading and the display holds the reading once the meter is removed, letting you quickly and easily document the readings during your inspection.
Easy to use and with a wide range of programmable building materials, the BI2200 is a reliable, state-of-the-art tool for the building or home inspection industry. *The BI2200 does not give precise MC percentages but is designed to provide a comparative relative MC reading for each material inspected in order to identify problem or potential problem areas in a building or a home.
Size & Weight:
Length – 4 9/16″; Width – 2 3/4″; Height – 1 1/16″; Weight – .37 lbs Power:
9 volt battery
Auto Power Shut Down – 60 seconds Control:
Two button control for on/off and material settings Press & Hold feature Depth of Measurement:
3/4″ Moisture Content:
Relative 5% – 32% Scanning Area:
1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ Material Setting:
Selectable setting .20 – 1.0 Calibration:
Verifiable at factory Other
1 Year Warranty
Carry Case with Belt Clip Included
Teflon® pad protects sensor plate from abrasive surfaces
I’ll be testing the unit out thoroughly over the next few months and writing up what I have found with it, limitations, other uses for it, accuracy etc. Watch for more info! Do you have one? Let me know what uses you’ve found for it.
Lucky this time! A gas grill flared up and ignited the deck. Always clean your grills gas venturi tubing. Spiders etc can block the flow causing an explosion.
6 died and 7 seriously injured when the Berkeley balcony collapsed. Inspections may have caught the problem before the tragedy occurred.
This is why grills are banned from decks in many states and communities.
Only took a smoldering cigarette to catch the deck on fire and take the whole house too!
Why Inspect? Lack of flashing allowed water intrusion into the wall where the deck supports rotted away.
Get your deck inspected before an accident occurs! Broken bones, even death occurs when a deck collapses.
Get your deck inspected before an accident occurs! Broken bones, even death occurs when a deck collapses.
Worst idea ever! Wood decks are organized kindling. Never use a fire pit on a deck.
The thought that someone thinks this was ok is horrifying.
Handmade railings and poorly secured non safety glass present acute safety issues on this deck.
We don’t want to be Debbie Downers, but when it comes to deck safety, we are Debbie Downer…
You might be too if you get the amount of Google Alerts I do on deck fires and deck collapses.
Everyday, somewhere a deck collapses or catches fire from a grill, smoking materials or a fire pit…or a heat lamp for the dog house, sparks from welding, you get the picture. So a few safety tips from me, to help you not be the next statistic;
No smoking on a deck.
No grilling on a deck.
NO FIRE PITS ON A DECK!
Smoke, grill or have a fire pit a minimum of ten feet away from the building. Make sure everything is out by dousing grills/pits in water. Yes your neighbors might be pissed because of the smell, but they will be even more pissed if that fire pit catches their house on fire!
Have your deck inspected. So many accidents could be avoided if inspections were done by competent people.
Any wobbling railings, stairs or deck is a bad sign. Get it inspected and fixed ASAP.
Consumers/homeowners, click below to use NADRA’s handy self inspection checklist to see if further professional inspection should be done.
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News and information courtesy of DeckExpert.com, the voice for Division 7 Waterproof Decking.
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