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 The order to leave has been rescinded after the first engineers report declared the property and immediate hazard and recommended evacuating units was found to be lets say “over cautious”.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.
I’m not sure when Hill Brothers Chemical Company first started manufacturing Magnesite, however, it’s safe to say it’s been around California, Arizona, Nevada and other Western states for a long long time…it’s distinctive bull nose edges are a sure sign of what the deck has on it.
What I do know is that up until 1977, Magnesite was manufactured using Asbestos as an ingredient. Hill Brothers sold millions of square feet of the material as interior and exterior flooring. This 1999 article from the LA Times discusses the allure of Magnesite, although it doesn’t discuss Magnesite’s little problem of asbestos in it… https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1999-jul-11-re-54828-story.html
“The deck that we had off the house,” she said. “It was a two-tiered deck, and it was redwood, and that’s what brought down our house.” Corey and Danusia Larsen of Malibu CA of the Woolsey Fire that burned over 600 homes.
I’m still trying to find it but I remember seeing a quote from a firefighter in California describing wood decks as organized kindling. That quote sticks in my head and won’t budge. I’ve reviewed hundreds of pictures of homes that are burned and often you can see the outline of a wood deck or the remnants of…
To me the ideal fire resistant home would be stucco or concrete or Hardie board with a metal or concrete roof any decking on it would be a division 7 traffic coating that is fire rated for use in California fire zones.
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.
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.