Category Archives: Recommended Reading

ATTENTION HOA CUSTOMERS OF DECK INSPECTORS INC YOUR INSPECTION REPORT MAY BE INVALID AND FRAUDULENT!

Consumer Alert! Attention all Southern California HOA managers, reserve study specialists, HOA attorneys, CAI and CACM

For immediate release !

DeckExpert.com, after investigation and information provided by anonymous sources has formed the opinion that HOA/condominium balcony inspection reports signed off on by Deck Inspectors Inc. may be invalid and fraudulent. The company, owned by David Mazor, who also owns WICR waterproofing and construction, is performing balcony inspections for condo and apartment complexes in the Southern California area.

A copy of a report from Deck Inspectors Inc that we reviewed has a signature on it by a Raffi Abkarian with a license number of 36207 listed next to the word “engineer” on the “qualifying title” line. Strange that an engineer seemingly can’t remember his own license number? Even stranger to me is that he didn’t state structural engineer just engineer… Or place his stamp on it. Of course obviously he cannot stamp it with a civil engineer stamp. Calls to two phone numbers listed for Mr Abkarian went to voicemail or was disconnected.

A redacted copy of the report we received from our anonymous source.
Deck Inspectors report signed by a Raffi Abkarian, civil engineer, with an incorrect license number.

Our investigation proceeded to look up the license number listed on the report. Needless to say it does not belong to Mr Abkarian. A search by name found Mr Abkarian with a license number of 36027. The license status is listed as clear with an expiration date of June 30th 2022 and it says license type is civil engineer.

According to this license listing Mr Abkarian is a civil engineer.

According to the balcony bill SB 316 only a licensed structural engineer or an architect may sign the report for a common interest development deck inspection. Being that Mr Abkarian is “only” a Civil Engineer”, he isn’t eligible from our understanding of the balcony bill to be eligible to sign off on a report of inspection. Interestingly one source told us that they never saw Mr Abkarian on site inspecting decks at the HOA where they live.

From our understanding and speaking with an attorney this would present a major problem for associations who have a report from Deck Inspectors Inc signed by Mr Abkarian that they’ve paid for. It is our belief that the report is invalid and possibly fraudulent due to being signed apparently willingly by Mr Abkarian.

Furthermore customers of Deck Inspectors should know that the owner of this company also owns WICR waterproofing and construction. Our sources have told us the same similar story and that WICR recommended deck inspector for deck inspection work or vice versa without revealing the conflict of interest between the two companies. David Mazor cannot act as an independent consultant and pretend that he doesn’t know Sean Krubinski except as a professional acquaintance.

There are substantial conflicts of interest, possibly fraud and certainly a matter of ethical character that exists here. I have been told by my sources that deck inspectors seems to call out small items and demand major repairs, often in the thousands of dollars that WICR does the work for. So David Mazor is double dipping from your HOA masquerading as a deck inspector/consultant while his construction and waterproofing company do unnecessary work.

I encourage HOAs who feel that they may have been victimized to contact their counsel at law immediately, and to contact me, Bill Leys at bill@deckexpert.com So that I can put all HOAs together for a discussion about a possible class action lawsuit. Contact your local district attorney’s office if you have a contract with WICR file a complaint with the CSLB, contact the department of consumer affairs.

If you want to do your own research I suggest that you start at the California Secretary of State website and look up deck inspectors and WICR and you will see that David Mazor is the owner of both companies. His wife is the agent for service of process.

A screenshot captured from deck inspectors website clearly shows them recommending WICR.

DeckExpert.com recommends that consumers and HOAs stay away from WICR and Deck Inspectors.

For further information on WICR and Deck Inspectors visit http://www.wicrleaks.com

Download CSLB’s Law Reference Book FREE

Every year new laws for contractors go on the books and ass California contrcator, you have to be aware of them. Ignorance of the law will not get you a get out of jail free card….

CSLB offers a free downloadable copy of the book that costs $42 if you buy it.

Click here to download the book at CSLB’s website and don’t say you didn’t know…. https://www.cslb.ca.gov/Resources/GuidesAndPublications/LawReferenceBook2021.pdf

What Deck Flashing Is For (Hint, It Ain’t for Waterproofing)

Here at DeckExpert.com, I often hear someone say “the flashing leaked and the deck failed”. I always ask, how did the flashing leak? In my opinion, if the deck waterproofing system is installed in such a manner that the entire piece of flashing, the horizontal piece nailed to the deck and the vertical leg that goes up the wall is completely embedded in waterproofing, the flashing basically cannot leak. Drip edges covering the building materials below won’t leak unless the coating has lost it’s bond with the metal. I often find that happens when gutters are nailed through the drop of the drip flashing and the metal is deflected.

The misnomer in my opinion in the industry is to think of flashing as “waterproofing”. It is not primarily waterproofing. What the flashing is for is to provide a termination point for the deck waterproofing system to end to. Metal flashing is simply what we use to do that.

Now let me clear, the flashing’s still must be integrated properly into/with contiguous weather resistant barriers that are being installed by other trades-where building paper comes down and over the flashing for the deck. Sequencing is essential when it comes to installing weather barriers and typically the low slope roof and deck areas are weathered in first.

Edge/drip flashings still must be installed in a manner that they are placed over building materials below them so water runs over, away and off.

Flashing materials are commonly galvanized/bonderized metals, copper and stainless steel. When using any of these, proper preparation of the metal is essential prior to terminating the coating to it. Bright shiny galvanized I don’t recommend at all as it’s very difficult to clean and prep properly in the field for our work’s requirements. I recommend “bonderized” metal flashing instead. It’s basically clean so it usually just needs to be wiped down with a damp rag to remove dust and contaminants.  Copper and stainless steel both require being sanded heavily to “etch” the metal. I use a 4″ grinder with the sanding flappers in a 50-36 grit paper to cut into the metal.   I then prime the metal with a liquid based mix of the base coat so it’s loose with polymer and I brush it out onto the flashings. I then use fiberglass and resin to finish waterproofing the vertical legs of the wall to deck. See picture below for an example. Completely encasing the L flashing makes sense to me, it eliminates the possibility of water sitting at the wall and finding metal to attack.  I’m also seeing this detail in Pli-Dek and Duradeck’s details, and I hope to see other manufacturer’s follow suit if they haven’t already.

So what’s your thoughts? Comment below please.

IMG_20160127_095933089_HDR
Waterproofing the vertical leg with fiberglass & resin.

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Prime all metal flashings before installing coating system! 

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Impossible to waterproof this termination! Deck waterproofing MUST extend up the vertical leg, behind the stucco paper.  

655 mulligan AG 004
A door is already in, the deck can’t be waterproofed correctly. The door must be removed for the flashing to be installed.

California Adopts Emergency Regulations Governing Balconies and Walkways

6 died and 7 seriously injured when the Berkeley balcony collapsed. Inspections may have caught the problem before the tragedy occurred.
6 died and 7 seriously injured when the Berkeley balcony collapsed. Inspections may have caught the problem before the tragedy occurred.  REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage Photo used under Fair Use Doctrine-education.

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.

https://www.dgs.ca.gov/dgs/Newsroom/tabid/72/ArticleID/146/California-Adopts-Emergency-Building-Standards-Regulations-Aimed-at-Preventing-Repeat-of-Berkeley-Balcony-Tragedy.aspx   REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage photo used under Fair Use Doctrine-education

Thinking About A New Deck? Consider the Benefits Waterproof Walking Decks Offer

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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

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Looking for a manufacturer? Find one here

 

Builder of Collapsed Berkeley Balcony Accused of Failing to Follow Plans by CSLB!

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.

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6 died and 7 seriously injured when the Berkeley balcony collapsed. Inspections may have caught the problem before the tragedy occurred.
6 died and 7 seriously injured when the Berkeley balcony collapsed. Inspections may have caught the problem before the tragedy occurred.  REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage Photo used under Fair Use Doctrine-education