The SB 326 balcony bill is confusing enough, but it becomes even more complicated when scam artists seek to use that confusion to benefit themselves. Case in point, one certain “deck inspectors” website was recently found to be advertising “Professional Inspection Services” using their CSLB issued contractors license #745936 to infer that they were a licensed balcony inspection company. Clicking on the link will take you to CSLB’s website.
We call this fraud. Implying that you are something that you are not, and foisting that fraud onto consumers needs to be criminalized under SB326. Worse yet, further research into this individual and company reveals that the shareholder of the waterproofing company has a license under his name, where CSLB lists in large red font to click here for Complaint Disclosure information. Click the link to see who the person is. CSLB doesn’t list the violations, but we have the complaint paperwork here.
Even worse, we caught this company using a civil engineer to sign a balcony inspection report when only a structural engineer can sign it. That matter is being investigated by the Board of Professional Engineers. We found that the individual who signed the report didn’t even put his license number on the report, rather he used someone else’s license number. Searching his name, we found his license which clearly shows he is a civil engineer.
The public expects balcony inspectors to be ethical and professional. With grifters like this individual in the industry, goodwill will be quickly eroded and the public won’t know who to be able to trust. That’s why this week I’ll be speaking at the CLAC,the lobbying arm for CAI in California, meet your legislators webinar to advocate to strengthen the bill with civil and criminal penalties for fraud and to ban contractors from inspecting balconies under the bill. They have clear ethical issues in bidding repairs and performing inspections. Home inspectors are banned from bidding on any work they may find is needed in the course of doing a home inspection. The same needs to apply to the balcony inspection industry.
If you are looking for a balcony inspector we have firms listed on this site that are not bidding on repairs. We suggest that to help protect your HOA from fraud and unethical inspectors that you ask them to sign a no conflicts of interest disclosure. Insist that they cannot bid for repairs. Get three bids using a scope of work. Have your attorney review any contract before signing it.
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.
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)
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.
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.“
I stumbled on this article by Rachel Miller Esq and Sarah Brown with Reserve Specialist Dennis Eckert RS PRA on CAI’s website. Here Ms. Miller and Ms. Brown discuss the balcony bill in detail and raise a very good point-that Condo’s less than 10 years old may have additional rights under SB-800. Hidden damage exposed during destructive testing may qualify as a latent defect under SB 800 and therefore repairs might be paid for by the builder.
The author makes some very good points for consultants to consider… Using language that everyday people will understand. Especially when it comes to condominium boards of directors.
There are many things to consider when doing a visual inspection and certainly one of them is how bad is the degradation of concrete? Since a visual is only limited to what we can see and we don’t have x-ray vision there can certainly be damage inside of concrete that we are not aware of… Unconsolidated concrete rebar that isn’t properly tied sized etc. Hidden water damage may also exist.
The North American Deck & Railing Association (NADRA) has declared May as “Deck Safety Month”, although IMHO, every month should be Deck Safety Month.
Rarely does a day go by without my Google alerts, “deck collapse” & “deck fire” sending me an email about another balcony collapsing somewhere or someone’s grill or fire pit on their deck was the cause of a major house fire.
Two weeks ago the headlines were about the Malibu balcony collapse, where 16 people fell to the rocks 15 feet below while at a house party on the coast. Fortunately no one died. This time. Six years ago, six students died and seven were seriously and permanently injured…broken backs, crushed lungs, featured bones, when the balcony they were standing on to take a picture for a birthday celebration suddenly collapsed.