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.
The deck waterproofing industry needs to speak up!
From the California Building Standards Commission-
Notice is hereby given that the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC), Exterior Elevated Element (EEE) Subcommittee will solicit technical expertise on the items listed in the attached agenda and the link below. The public is invited to attend and provide their input or comments. For questions on this notice, please contact CBSC at (916) 263-0916.
I would like to provide a different look at SB 721 Contractors-Inspections of Decks & Balconies that the Community Legislative Action Committee (CLAC), the lobbying arm of Community Associations Institute, is now mustering its members to oppose and why this bill may actually benefit multi-family housing, including CID’s.
You may, or may not know that this bill has come about because of the parents of the six dead and seven seriously injured Irish students who were on a balcony in an apartment building when it collapsed. At the time of this opinion, the builder has settled claims with the families and while the settlement is confidential, experts estimate the payouts by insurance carriers was around twenty million dollars. Now imagine if a deck at your Association fell and what the costs of settling that might be vs the costs of an inspection of your decks.
URGENT! CONSUMERS ADVISED TO HAVE THEIR DECKS INSPECTED
DECK COLLAPSES INJURE THOUSANDS EVERY YEAR
Deck inspections are advised for every deck every 3 years. The rate of deck collapses is alarming and more must be done to prevent injuries and deaths.
Watch this short video on deck inspections and why they are so important-the first hand experiences from survivors of deck collapses are chilling. Please download the safety checklist and get an inspection done ASAP if you find anything questionable.
DeckExpert.com, as a member of the National Deck & Railing Association, encourages professional deck inspections. Download NADRA’s consumer checklist, designed to help owners of wood/composite decks to determine if they need a deck contractor or specialized inspection to determine if repairs or replacement of your deck is necessary. Don’t become the next victim and a become a statistic on a ever growing grim listing of deaths and injuries from deck collapses. Click the link to open and download the NADRA_Homeowner Checklist
Unique & Decorative Decks, Deck Railings, Deck Lighting Get Your #DeckEnvy On Here!