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.
So that is difficult to say and as a consultant myself I don’t want to panic people but we certainly also need to make sure that we have their attention as to the dire need for repairs in the “immediate future”. So instead of saying immediate future perhaps the answer is to say repairs need to be made within the next month to 6 months otherwise further degradation may continue and require more expensive and extensive repairs. Basically we need to cover our ass so that if another Champlain happens somebody isn’t going to get theirs handed to them.
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.
I remember waking up the morning of June 16th 2015 to see the grisly photograph of blood pooled on the sidewalk, a balcony laying flipped over on the balcony below and staring at the broken cantilevered beams that had rotted away and breaking down in tears. Today I still tear up at the thought of what happened. Berkeley was so avoidable. Malibu was so avoidable. Every balcony collapse is so avoidable.
Something else happens when I read about another balcony collapse-I get angry…very angry. In my opinion, a deck inspection by a competent inspector should be able to find the small clues that a deck about to fail leaves…and my anger is directed at the homeowner, property manager, whoever is in charge, who did not opt to spend $300-1000 on a deck inspection but is willing to spend tens of thousands on legal fees to defend their lack of due diligence.
Many decks, especially wood decks are older and worn. Wood rots, nails rust, supports become weaker, and if additions have been added on top of the deck, then extra weight that probably wasn’t factored into the engineering calculations creates additional stresses on the structure.
Before your next party, before you rent the house with the “large expansive deck” on AirBnB, before another deck collapses with people on it and are injured or killed, for God’s sake, get your deck inspected.
Forget the money it costs, think about the guilt you’ll feel having blood on your hands.
A balcony overlooking the Pacific collapsed in Malibu California over the weekend. Nine people were injured and four people went to the hospital.
Balcony Inspections on condos and apartments with 3 or more units are now required to have their decks balconies and stairs be inspected after a deck in Berkeley collapsed 5 years ago, killing 6 and seriously and permanently injuring 7 other people.
QUESTION. Does Civil Code §5551 apply to co-ops? -Maury J.
RESPONSE: Good question. A stock cooperative is a common interest development governed by the Davis-Stirling Act. Section 5551(l) of the Civil Code states that inspections of elevated wooden structures apply to multi-family structures with three or more units. If a co-op’s buildings are multi-family structures with three or more units, it would seem to apply…
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.
Unique & Decorative Decks, Deck Railings, Deck Lighting Get Your #DeckEnvy On Here!