Balcony Collapse

Balcony collapse

An most isnpectors state that they do not inspect to any code. I would not want to be the home inspector that inspected that structure (if a home inspector was involved). Our job is to protect the public. If visible code violations are evident, they should be listed in your report.

Here is a close up of the failed balcony, the internal structure was completely invisible as it was covered from above and below. No way to inspect it visually.

Seems like a design that is almost destined to fail without warning.
An exterior hidden wood support structure that will almost certainly be experiencing
moisture intrusion unless it was built flawlessly.

Easy to say in hindsight but should have had at least some steel in that support structure. That wood isn’t even pressure treated!

Very sad and of course preventable.

Looking at the photo the exposed wood has obvious water damaged. The other photos show a rubber membrane that covered the deck. My guess would be the design was adequate but the flashing details allow water under the rubber membrane. Trapped water in an enclosed environment will accelerate wood rot. I hope they notified everyone not to use their balconies.

So there were 13 people on THAT balcony? REALLY?

6 dead and 7 more injured.

Devil is always in the details, IMHO the design is flawed as that assumes perfect flashing. We all know how often that happens, Not.

It also assumes no damage to membrane/flashing after construction, which is wishful thinking.

Never should have been made with KD lumber IMHO.

Yup, but check out this collapse in Chicago from 03’.

13 Dead, 57 injured.

Why does it matter if there was 12 people or five people the balcony was rotted and improperly constructed by the looks of it. just another fine example of lack of maintenance and checking because of the almighty dollar.

The way it was constructed made it very difficult to inspect, would have to be invasive inspection.

Again, using KD lumber in that situation instead of treated was the real design flaw.

On units like that perhaps they should consider inspection access

Totally agree Wayne, but that would have required forward thinking and the lack of that is what doomed those kids.

From Yesterday mornings Report along with photos (before hearing news of the collapse).
Always Inspect Decks and Balconies HARD…

***Rear Deck (Pressure Treated)

  • Pressure treated lumber deck at the rear of the home.**
  • Ledger board of the deck is attached with nails only. Recommend bolting repair to secure.
  • Improper / missing flashing at the ledger board attachment of the deck. Recommend repair.
  • Incomplete nailing of the joist hangers. Recommend carpentry repair / replacement.
    **- Damaged stairway and stringers. Recommend carpentry repair with replacements at this time.
  • **Open risers at the stairway. Recommend repair with replacement / installation.
  • Inadequate posts noted at the beams of the deck (4x4). Recommend repair.
  • Inadequate attachment of beam to posts. Recommend repair with replacement.
  • Sag and settlement noted at the beams and footings of the deck. Recommend repair with replacement.
  • Inadequate perimeter handrails and loose posts at the rear deck and stairway. Recommend carpentry repair.
    ***- Due to age and overall conditions present, demolition and replacement needs should be estimated and obtained at this time. **

I think that when you build something like that you should be required to use steel and not wood. I am talking about over 15 feet off the ground. You may have to use red iron but it could prevent something like this from ever happening again.

LOl You should see some of the decks in the good ole smokies

I agree, if I were the architect/engineer who designed that, I’d be seriously considering moving to Nepal and becoming a monk to atone for the loss of life.

But of course when something like this happens everyone involved from architect to installer to maintenance will be pointing fingers in every direction but at themselves.

Hopefully some good will come from this down the road, leading to more stringent requirements for that type of balcony.

This is a Multi Family (exceeding 4 units) where Residential Code is not applicable in many circumstances.
Minimum Residential Code is reported and noted with regard to all inspections (as a minimum). My recommendations most often exceed the minimum municipal code standard… :slight_smile:

Acceptance of Less than Minimum is left to the Buyer, Seller and Municipality to Negotiate…

They have stated it was for decoration only . someone is back paddling already . so why would it have access to it ?

I read that too Wayne, an accessible “decorative” balcony??:roll:
Never heard of that before, bunch of BS of course, there will be plenty more of that to come as the various parties involved try to dodge any blame.

Here’s a good article in the LA Times on the balcony collapse.

Structural engineer says “It appears to be a classic case of dry rot, meaning water intruded into the building [and] rotted the wood”

I agree, decay, probably from bad flashing. Sound wood would show a lot of splinters and not be dark colored. There probably wouldn’t be any warning like cracking. It would suddenly snap off and fall.