Downtown Berkeley was the backdrop for yet another deadly balcony collapse. This balcony collapse took the lives of 6 students and severely injured 7 others. The investigation is currently focused on rotted wood as the cause. Five of the dead were Irish Nationals and the sixth was a dual Irish-U.S. citizen who lived in Rohnert Park.
We were deeply saddened after hearing the news about this preventable accident. We have represented people injured in balcony accidents and the cause of many of these comes back to a variable of either inadequate maintenance or poor construction techniques. This case appears to be caused by wood that was improperly treated for the eventuality of water intrusion. The lack of proper treatment may have been missed when the initial construction was inspected. It was also revealed that the contractor, Segue Construction from Pleasanton, CA who built this balcony paid $3 million dollars last year to settle a claim from San Jose regarding problems that are similar in nature to the problem in Berkeley which was shoddy construction on apartment balconies that led to rot.
The Mayor of Berkeley Tom Bates said that he believes there was a high probability that water penetrated and rotted the underpinnings of the balcony that broke away early Tuesday. The other balconies in the building have been red tagged pending an investigation regarding their viability. It was reported that construction plans called for the balcony to withstand 60 pounds per square foot of weight. While the Mayor will wait until the actual construction report is issued he believes that there is a high probability that water intrusion is the cause and we will know very shortly.
There are also reports coming from those in the know regarding the New Bay Bridge and water damage in the mounting bolts that could also lead to a pre-mature failure. Construction standards are constantly evolving and changes typically follow disasters of this sort. Water intrusion is always a concern on anything that is exposed to the elements. Contractors know this and most take this into account and over build so accidents like this are less likely to happen. From the information currently available that didn’t happen in this case and the result was severe injuries and death. None of this had to happen.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured as a result of an accident please call the Law office of Guenard & Bozarth. We have the compassion and experience you need along with a team of experts to look into your specific situation. Call us 24/7/365 at 888-809-1075 or visit www.gblegal.com We Can Help!