When Segue Construction built the 176-unit Library Gardens apartment complex in Berkeley in 2007, the city’s building code didn't require PT framing in balcony construction. If it had, the balcony that collapsed in June 2015 and fatally spilled 6 people more than 40 feet to the ground below would likely still be intact. To prevent this type of accident from happening again, the city of Berkeley has adopted a number of new construction ordinances, among them a requirement that rot-resistant or treated lumber be used to frame balconies and other structures that are exposed to weather, regardless of whether or not the structure is covered with a waterproof membrane and cladding.
Structural engineers who investigated the accident found another flaw in the design and construction of the balcony: the absence of ventilation, in the event that moisture did manage to penetrate the stucco-clad balcony. Now, the city will require all sealed assemblies to have cross ventilation for each separate enclosed space, such as a joist bay, with openings that are protected from rain and snow.
The new ordinances also require regular inspections of both new and existing structures by qualified and certified personnel, with re-inspections occurring on a regular basis. The rules are expected to affect about 6000 buildings around the city.