- The California Contractors State License Board has found that five contractors failed to meet trade standards and exhibited "poor workmanship" in relation to a balcony collapse that killed six people in Berkeley, CA, last year, the East Bay Times reported.
- This move by the board could ultimately result in a range of penalties from suspension to revocation of their licenses.
- Investigators said the balcony supports failed because the incorrect application of waterproofing resulted in "water incursion that caused dry rot." The Alameda County (CA) district attorney said that workers waterproofed the balcony supports while they were wet, leaving the water trapped underneath to rot the wood.
The board said it would not release any details about the case until it files formal charges, the East Bay Times reported. However, board officials did name the companies involved, and they are Segue Construction of Pleasanton, CA; Etter and Sons Construction of Dana Point, CA; R. Brothers Waterproofing in San Jose, CA; North State Plastering in Fairfield, CA; and The Energy Store of California in Sacramento.
The next step for the case is prosecution in California Administrative Court by the state Justice Department. Last month, the DA’s office announced it would not file criminal charges against anyone associated with the collapse, as officials found no cause to pursue criminal cases for negligence or manslaughter.
Families of those killed and the seven injured have filed civil lawsuits against Segue, other contractors, the building owner and developer, alleging that tenants had complained there was evidence of water intrusion or mold, as mushrooms were growing on the balcony. The lawsuits also claimed that residents reported there was a "slant" in the deck as much as a year before the collapse, but said those warnings went unheeded.
Mike Kelly, attorney for the plaintiffs, told the East Bay Times that the group hopes the lawsuit will "force changes to residential construction industry practices that will prevent such a needless tragedy from recurring in the future."