A Reminder of the Importance of Balcony Maintenance and Repair
It didn't take long for experts to start speculating about the cause of a devastating balcony collapse in Berkeley CA last summer. Six young people lost their lives in the horrific accident, and many others were seriously injured, when the balcony sheared away from the structure and flipped the occupants to the ground five stories below. The fact that the accident may have been averted with proper balcony maintenance and repair is more than chilling.
In Los Angeles Times article dated June 16, 2016, Oakland structural and civil engineer Gene St. Onge was quoted as saying “It appears to be a classic case of dry rot, meaning water intruded into the building and rotted the wood. It gave way. It didn’t have enough residual strength, and it failed.”
Evidence shows that not all requisite flashing was installed when the Library Gardens apartment complex was erected in 2007. There may have been other structural defects, as well. The Alameda County District Attorney's Office is currently leading a criminal investigation into the June 2016 accident, says the San Jose Mercury News.
No matter who is ultimately found to be culpable, the facts indicate that this horrible occurrence could have -and should have- been prevented. Could the same sort of thing happen in New York City? You bet it could. There are thousands upon thousands of balconies in the city, and each of them ought to regularly inspected and maintained.
If you are planning to build in NYC, or if you would like to schedule a thorough examination of your balconies, please contact us without delay. We are Scott Henson Architecture, and we can coordinate your inspection and perform every sort of requisite maintenance and repair.