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Contractor’s license is revoked in Berkeley balcony collapse case

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2017 | Construction Law

It’s been just over a month since state regulators first revoked the professional license of the contractor who was responsible for constructing the Library Gardens Apartments. It was at this complex where six people lost their lives and seven more were injured after one of the unit’s balconies collapsed.

Now regulators with the state agency have released a 145 page report to document evidence it believes backs up their decision to revoke the contractor’s license. In it, it shows how they repetitively engaged in performing shoddy construction work.

Two experts consulted in drafting the report found that Pleasanton-area Segue Construction Company deviated from their original building plans when building the problem balcony that folded in this case. Their original plan called for using sturdier construction materials, however, an examination of the debris in this case showed they used less durable ones.

To make the situation worse, the sub-contractor that had been hired to install the balcony in question failed to use a moisture-absorbing barrier to keep the wood structure from becoming waterlogged, a choice that resulted in its ultimate decay.

The experts contended that the balcony would have most likely have been capable of withstanding the weight of the 13 victims in this case had it been properly constructed and installed. The construction plan originally called for the use of a type of water-resistant plywood as opposed to the sponge-like oriented strand board that the contractor chose to ultimately use.

Experts in the case argue that, had the proper materials been purchase and sealed indoors, this catastrophic accident could have been averted. Among those who lost their lives in the incident, five of the individuals were 21- and 22-year-old Irish citizens visiting Berkeley for the summer.

It’s unclear as to why the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office decided not to file criminal charges in the case. A confidential agreement was reached in early May of 2017 between the construction workers, the victims and their families in this case.

As this case shows, poor construction not only threatens that integrity of the structure itself, but can claim lives as well. If you are looking to hold a contractor accountable for a breach of contract, then a San Diego construction law attorney may be able to help.

Source: The Mercury News, “Berkeley: State releases documents on cause of deadly balcony collapse,” Matthias Gafni, June 01, 2017

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