Oakland, CA, television station KTVU reported on Thursday the construction company that built the Berkeley apartment building whose balcony collapsed and killed six students on Tuesday has been sued for balcony defects in the past.
KTVU said Segue Construction was sued in 2010 by the owner of a San Jose apartment complex for failing to follow building codes for installing balconies, among other complaints. The company reportedly settled the case out of court.
The station also reported that OSHA has cited Segue Construction for violations — including at least one considered “serious” — at least a dozen times over the past 10 years.
A Segue Construction spokesman told KTVU that the company never received complaints or concerns about the balconies on the Berkeley building. “Normally in construction projects, many times, the developer and the construction company disagree, so you can’t put too much weight on a lawsuit,” the station quoted him as saying. “You can’t make a whole lot of that because construction is a litigious business.”
Segue Spokesman Sam Singer said the contractor is cooperating with the city’s investigation of the accident, which also injured seven people. He confirmed earlier speculation by structural engineers and a former city official that the balcony was not designed to hold the weight of the 13 people who reportedly were standing on it when it collapsed.
Officials have not officially revealed what caused the deck to fall, as a structural engineer is still investigating the cause of the accident.