William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC Joins Community Associations Institute Channel Islands Chapter

We Are Now A Member

William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC is pleased to announce that the firm has joined the Channel Islands Chapter of CAI.

We are pleased to be a member and offer our SB-326 Balcony Inspection services, along with roof consulting, below grade waterproofing consulting and expert witness and construction defect investigations.

Member managers and Board members can look forward to having a company that can provide competitive bids, waterproofing expertise and absolute integrity in it’s interactions with clients, contractors, competing vendors and the general public. Look for us at upcoming Channel Island Chapter events, I’ll be posting dates/times and places of where and when we’ll be there.

Do you need a balcony inspection? Reach out today and request your free EEE evaluation and quote. We have partnered with a structural engineer and can provide your Association with a report that meets and exceeds the SB-326 Balcony inspection requirements.

Visit us at www.SB326Inspector.com to learn more

A Discussion on The Misinformation and “Selling By Fear” Tactics of Some SB-326 Inspection Companies

The SB-326 Balcony Bill is ripe for scammers and less than ethical people to take advantage of. A “Sell By Fear” sales tactic has emerged and Boards and their managers may succumb to the pressure.

There is a lot of misinformation being spread about regarding the SB-326 Balcony Bill.

As an independent balcony inspection firm, we have seen this everywhere we go. I see misinformation being spread mostly by inspectors who are not independent inspection firms. Instead these inspectors have a primary interest in feeding their main business of construction repairs and waterproofing work. They operate by doing inspections at cut rate prices, luring in their mark by saying the inspection is free if we do the repairs, or “mail in rebate” or some other tactic to get you to bite. Then they fear sell you a job you don’t need. “All the decks need to be replaced because they don’t meet current code” and if you balk they say they will need to report this to the law and that the fines are tremendous for not complying. Fear sells. For enormous profits for the company and enormous commission for the salesman.

William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC does not have any conflicts of interests; we do not bid for repair work, we have no interest in any construction or waterproofing companies, or in any deck coating materials manufacturer’s or related industries.  We won’t let you get taken to the cleaners. We are your agent. We provide you data and information for a fee that allows you to make good business decisions.

You are quite aware of the bill and its provisions so I won’t go deeply into the bill.  

The bill requires inspections of the EEE’s in condominium complexes with 3 or more units. 

The bill requires inspections of Exterior Elevated Elements more than 6’  off the ground. EEE’s consist of stairs, walkways, landings, decks and balconies and railings that extend past the building line.

In my opinion, if it could even be slightly interpreted that your deck qualifies as an EEE, it must be inspected. My belief is that it’s better to err on the side of caution than defend a lawsuit that asks why you didn’t inspect the decks because somehow it collapsed and someone was injured or killed. 

As an inspector, we follow the balcony bill in defining repairs. SB-326 defines the two types of repairs that may need to be done- Non Emergency repairs and emergency repairs. A clear sign that you may be the victim of a scam is when the inspector tells you that you “Have to fix/replace your decks” without also declaring in his report that the decks are “emergency repairs”. If they do declare them as emergency repairs, then a on site meeting should be arranged so the inspector can show your Board the exact problems he’s found.

An emergency repair is defined as a repair that must be done ASAP because structural elements (framing) have been inspected by a structural engineer, and in his/her opinion presents an immediate danger and may place occupants and the building at risk if the balcony should suddenly fail. This type of repair must be reported to the governing building agency (County or City) over the property. Temporary shoring may need to be employed until permanent repairs can be made and the deck closed to further use until it is fixed and the building permit is signed off by the building official. The Board of Directors must act expeditiously to protect the Associations assets and protect life by proceeding with repairs as as soon as possible.  

Non emergency repairs are the second type of repair. Non-emergency repairs can be made at the discretion of the Board on its own timeline. A non-emergency repair might be replacing drip edge flashings and coatings at the edge that are deteriorating, or patching cracks in the deck coating that are non-structural in nature. 

RESERVES & LIFE SPANS OF COMPONENTS

I was an HOA manager, holding a CAI “Certified Manager of Community Associations” designation while actively managing HOAs. I have a strong understanding of reserve studies and their purpose. 

Reserve studies list the components of a building (common area and exclusive use common area)-roofs, siding, gutters, decks and balconies etc that the Association is obligated to maintain, repair and eventually replace. A reserve study assigns a maintenance schedule for each component and an end of useful life date where the component needs to be replaced. 

Reserve studies are generally considered  to be “educated guestimating” as many different factors can affect a components useful life span. For decks, the average lifespan is 20-30 years for a deck coating system to wear out and need to be replaced. However, I have seen 50 year old deck systems still performing because they have been maintained and repaired and they are mostly out of the elements-sun and rain being their main adversaries. I have also seen deck systems that only lasted 10-12 years when they were expected to last 25 years, but failed due to lack of maintenance and repairs and severe exposure to pedestrian traffic use and weather. 

However, just because a component is at the end of its useful life by the reserve studies estimate,  doesn’t necessarily mean that’s it, it’s over and we need to replace the decks immediately. Rather, WLWC LLC recommends that the prudent approach to take is this; have an expert inspect the component(s) and determine if that component is still functioning as expected. If it is performing as expected, the reserved study should be updated to provide for an inspection of the components at a future date. Perhaps a deck should be reinspected in 2 year cycles.  If it isn’t functioning as expected, can it be repaired to restore its functionality? If the answer is yes, the solution is to fix it and continue inspections periodically. 

In the meantime, the contributions to the reserve account continue to accumulate and when the deck does finally reach the end of it’s useful life, there should be excess money for the repairs.    

Conclusion- There are a lot of choices out there in the balcony inspection industry and some of them aren’t as a good a choice as others. At William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC, we know that we are only going to succeed by grounding our principles into just a few words-no conflicts of interest. That’s it.

We don’t have any ownership in any waterproofing companies, or a construction company, no interest in any materials we may specify, nothing. We make recommendations on products and company’s based on our experience in the industry and because we are not going to compromise when it comes to SB-326 and it’s importance and the gravity of why this bill exists.

If that works for you, contact us today. We specialize in working with smaller HOA’s for an affordable price.

Horizon West Condominiums in Waukesha WI Proves Why Concrete Balcony Inspections Are Essential and Should Be Included Under “The Balcony Bill” aka SB 326 – Don’t Wait For That, Get Going On Getting Inspections Now

Berkeley was the first warning with 7 dead and 6 seriously injured after a concrete topped wood frame balcony catastrophically failed, Surfside was the second warning, leaving 100+ people dead, now Horizon West Condominiums in Wisconsin is the third. All are poster children of management and BOD failures to inspect, maintain, repair & replace their buildings. Both Surfside and Horizon Wests associations knew for quite a while that there was deferred maintenance, refusal to pass special assessments to fix the deferred maintenance and then inevitable finger pointing when “it” hit the fan. On the positive side, at least Horizon didn’t collapse and no one died. On the negative side Horizon West HOA has to pull their building down as it has been condemned. That’s right the damage to steel reinforcing is so bad inside the building that it can’t be fixed.

“After inspections and the removal of unsafe balconies revealed rusted support beams, engineers sounded the alarm.” “They determined the six-story building had deteriorated to the point that it could collapse.”

Screen shot from Milwaukee Sentinel Journal shows workers removing balconies at Horizon West Condominiums

There are plenty of buildings in California that have concrete balconies. Many have some type of waterproofing applied to them, with varying degrees of success. Many builders don’t feel that concrete needs to be waterproofed. The bad news is it does. Concrete is porous, it allows water to soak into the deck and when that water is in the concrete it is now attacking the metal reinforcing holding the balcony together.

While the “balcony bill” doesn’t require that balconies made of concrete have to be inspected, It is my opinion that excluding these balconies was a grave mistake. Concrete gets attacked everyday by the elements.

Screen shot from a Reddit post. Concrete balcony hanging off a building after failing.

At William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC, we beseech our legislature to amend the balcony bill and include concrete balconies. While we are waiting for that to happen with bated breath, in the meantime we are encouraging condo boards and their management companies to get on board now with inspecting their concrete balconies.

Our structural engineer and our waterproofing experts at William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC will inspect your concrete balconies for signs of deterioration, spalling. cracking and rusting steel along with its waterproofing system to ensure that your balconies are safe. We think it’s extremely important to get ahead of the game rather than being behind. Trust me you don’t want to be that board of directors that has to announce to its membership that “due to past and present failure to inspect, maintain and repair, and prohibitive cost to fix it now, the building is condemned and everyone has to move out.”

Call me, Bill Leys, The Deck Expert, at 805-801-2380 for a fast response and quote on inspecting your concrete balconies and decks. While inspections aren’t cheap, they are certainly a lot less than paying to pull down a condemned building or defending a negligence lawsuit.

Destructive Testing Reveals The Reason Why The Stucco Soffit is Cracking

A client of William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC has a problem with stucco under their balconies. The stucco is cracking on the outside edge of the soffit (the ceiling under the deck). Several residents were reporting that when it rained water would come out of the cracks.

The Board of Directors sought a waterproofing consultant to assist in finding out why their stucco was cracking and leaking water. They thought the source of the water intrusion was from the decks. After a search they found us and retained us to perform some destructive testing and investigate the source and reason for the cracking.

We started by making visual observations of the decks and surrounding building materials. We observed the cracked stucco under the soffits, we observed the decks and we observed the exterior walls of the balcony and the walls adjacent to the balcony.

Cracked stucco soffit and water stains.
Architectural styrofoam bullnose detail is cracking where it meets the wall. Note the efflorescence on the wall below.

Our observations found the soffits were indeed cracked and stained from water. We observed that the exterior walls surrounding the balconies also had cracks, and that a foam architectural bullnose detail was cracking where it joined the wall.

Firing up our grinder with a diamond blade to cut through the stucco, we found rusted stucco diamond lath. Stucco lath gives the stucco something to grip to.

Rusted lath under the stucco affirms water is leaking into the soffit, but from where?

We peeled back more stucco, exposing the structural beam at the outside edge. The beam had no damage to it at the two locations we opened.

Nice and dry and free of any signs of water intrusion.

Next we opened up the foam bullnose on the wall surrounding the deck. Here we found the apparent problem. The stucco behind the bullnose has large cracks in it. In the corner we found a large hole in the stucco with rotted wood behind it.

Behind the foam bullnose, a large crack exists.
Our 6″ long awl meets no resistance where wood framing should be.

Pending further destructive testing by a contractor, our initial conclusion is that the foam bullnose and cracked stucco behind it is the source of the water getting into the stucco soffits of the balconies. Now we just need to follow the waters path down the building and see if structural damage is occurring inside the walls.

If your stucco covered building has cracks in it, water coming out of soffits, if you suspect leaks, we encourage you to seek the help of the experts at William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC. We are uniquely qualified to investigate your building envelope problems and come up with solutions to fix them. As former contractors we understand waterproofing and building envelopes like few others do. As a former HOA manager you also get someone uniquely qualified and understanding of HOAs and their needs.

Call today for a discussion on how we might be able to help you. 805-801-2380 You won’t get just anyone answering the phone, you get me, Bill Leys, the owner of the firm.

Our Promise To Our Clients-No Conflicts of Interest When it Comes To SB-326 Balcony Inspections Under Civil Code 5551

We Find the Leaks Because Our Experience Tells Us Where the Leaks Are

We know that there are companies out there, owned by a waterproofing company or a general contractor, that suddenly opened up a “deck inspection company” after the balcony bill became law, in order to feed their real business-contracting. I won’t name names, however I invite you to copy and paste the following into a word document, print it out and ask any competing bidders to sign this No Conflicts of Interest pledge.

if you are my customer, you get this pledge from me. Ethical inspectors should only be working for their client and not have any hidden agenda’s. To that end, all of our proposals will have this signed certification and promise from us.

AFFIDAVIT OF NO CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

On the HOA/Apartment Community property being inspected at: ____________________________________________________________

I, _______William Leys__________ affirm and attest that I and others associated with my firm:

  1. Shall not provide a bid to repair any adverse conditions noted in our report
  2. Have no direct or indirect financial interest in the building materials that may be specified
  3. Do not receive financial benefits from contractors that may perform any work specified by us; and
  4. Will not accept compensation or benefits from any party except you my client for services pertaining to this inspection.

As an ethical professional I certify in writing that:

Our Only Obligation Is to You,  the Client

Inspectors shall conduct themselves in a fashion which brings credit to themselves, their employers and their profession. In addition to upholding the behavioral standards described above, an inspector/consultant

  1. Shall preserve the confidence of his/her client or employer and serve each in a professional and competent manner.
  1. Shall exercise unprejudiced and unbiased judgment and conduct when performing all professional services and inspections;
  1. Shall practice only in his/her area of competence;

IV. Shall decline any activity or employment, avoid any significant financial or other interest, and decline any contribution if it would reasonably appear that such activity, employment, interest,     or contribution could compromise his or her professional judgment or conduct, or prevent him/her from serving the best interest of his/her client or employer, without making full disclosure to the client and obtaining the client’s consent thereto;

  1. Shall neither offer nor make any payment or gift to any public official, private client or industry representative with the intent of influencing that person’s judgment or decision in connection with an existing or prospective inspection/consultation I am interested in; and

By submission of this Affidavit, I affirm the above are true and accurate statements.

William Leys

Signature

Does your SB 326 deck inspector measure up? If they won’t sign this Declaration of No Conflicts of Interest, that might be a warning sign. Other warning signs are their contract has a clause that has a $10,000 penalty if anyone in the HOA writes a negative review, or if you see an ad that says “free with mail in rebate”.

I invite you to experience William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC’s personal service, expertise and guarantee of no conflicts of interest. I’m Bill Leys and I put my name on the company and it’s my reputation. I’ve partnered with a top rated structural engineer and can provide you with a balcony inspection report that is better than my worthy competitors and far far better than the wanna be inspectors.

Remember, there’s no such thing as a “free inspection if you contract with us to fix your decks”. It’s called a ruse. They lure you in with BS that is designed to make you feel like you are getting a deal and pack on the costs on the other side.

With William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC, your SB 326 balcony inspection under Civil Code 5551 is guaranteed to be free of conflicts of interest-you as the HOA are our only client. Call me now at 805-801-2380.

Thank you, Bill Leys

How Does an SB-326 Balcony Inspection Report Benefit Your Association?

THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUS DECK, SOMEONE HAS “SISTERED” NEW JOISTS ONTO THE CANTILEVERED JOISTS THAT WERE CUT BACK.

There are many benefits for your Association by performing a balcony inspection under SB-326, Civil Code 5551. In this post I’ll list a few of the most important benefits.

1.) Our SB-326 reports can help you in showing that your Association is Fannie Mae compliant which assure banks they aren’t making risky loans where deferred maintenance is a problem. Fannie Mae is looking at halting funding on high risk buildings with significant deferred maintenance.

2.) Our reports are preferred by Reserve Study companies as they contain detailed information on the decks and contiguous building materials condition. This allows your reserve study provider to be far more accurate in predicting remaining useable life and replacement costs. We are recommended regularly by Reserve Advisors Inc and other well known reserve study companies.

3.) Your insurance carrier is going to be happier knowing that your Associations decks, balconies, stairs and walkways are safe, waterproof and performing as expected. We’re seeing carriers doing their own inspections, and sometimes refusing to write a policy or the new premium is significantly higher because of increased risk. Our report can help you assure your carrier that the EEE’s are structurally sound.

4.) Your residents will be happier knowing that their balconies are safe and ready for enjoying.

When it comes to selecting a company that performs SB-326 balcony inspections under Civil Code 5551, there are a lot of choices. I hope that you’ll consider William Leys Waterproofing Consultants, as your SB-326 balcony inspection experts to perform your inspection. You can start by giving me a call at 805-801-2380 and asking me to do a free no obligation EEE evaluation of your HOA. (EEE stands for Exterior Elevated Elements. ) Or fill in the contact box to the left and fill in your info and hit send.

With William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC as your balcony inspection expert, you’ll be in good hands, I promise. I have 20 years experience as a contractor, inspector and technical rep in the waterproofing industry. My structural engineer has 20+ years experience performing inspections and designing structural elements on multi-family housing. Together we make the best team working for your Association.

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William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC Is Now Performing SB 326 Balcony Inspections In Accordance With Civil Code 5551

As the principal for William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC I’m pleased to announce we are now performing Balcony Inspections under SB-326 Civil Code 5551 in partnership with a structural engineering firm. This strategic partnership allows us to meet all the requirements under the Bill and provides your HOA with the confidence that the balconies are inspected thoroughly and with due diligence.

Destructive Testing Reveals Improper Balcony Support and Decaying Weather Resistant Building Paper

Our comprehensive inspections provides the data your Reserve Study Specialist needs to input into your Reserve Study to give a complete and accurate overview of expected life spans, condition of balconies and contiguous building materials adjacent to the decks, balconies, stairs and walkways. We are recommended by top Reserve Study firms such as Facilities Advisors Inc.

As a contractor and a consultant, I’ve installed, repaired and inspected thousands of decks. My experience as a contractor and quality assurance observer as well as being a former credentialed CMCA HOA manager provides me with a unique skill set that exceeds our competitors.

To assist your understanding of the balcony bill and what needs to be inspected, please read on…

Elevated Structures Defined. Required inspections apply to load-bearing components and associated waterproofing systems. Load bearing means those components that extend beyond the exterior walls of the building to deliver structural loads to the building from decks, balconies, stairways, walkways, and their railings, that have a walking surface more than six feet above ground level, that are designed for human occupancy or use, and that are supported in whole or in substantial part by wood or wood-based products. (Civ. Code §5551(a)(3).)

#1. Cantilevered balconies constructed of wood must be inspected.


#2. Balconies supported by wood posts require inspection.

#3. Balconies supported by the main structure do not require inspection since they cannot collapse.

#4. Balconies partly supported by the structure and partly cantilevered require inspection.

#5. Exterior stairs and landings attached to wood require inspection.

#6. Elevated walkways supported by wood structures must be inspected.

#7. Balconies made entirely of concrete and steel do not require inspection.

NOTE: Elevated structures that do not require inspection under Civil Code §5551 still require a diligent visual inspection for purposes of an associations 3-year cycle of inspections for their reserve study. This includes concrete balconies.

Wood post has decay beginning on the top

Is your Association ready for a balcony inspection? Reach out to us today for a free quote. Call Bill Leys at 805-801-2380 to get started or fill out the contact form on the left side.

Why You Need Quality Assurance Observers on Site During Waterproofing & WRB Installations

What is the total cost of having to fix construction defects that you found after the building is completed? When tenants are ready to do their tenant improvements, move in and start paying rent, but can’t because of water leaks, how much does unnecessary delays cost? How much does it cost to put up scaffold around a building, remove the brick facade, redo all the windows flashings and then put it all back together? How much in lost rents did this cost? $250,000? $1,000,000? We don’t know the answer to this question but we can take a wild assed guess…a lot!

This building is in downtown San Luis Obispo, and was ready at the end of November for tenant improvements to begin in the interior-a restaurant on the first floor, Amazon offices on upper floors; and then it rained. That’s when the owner of the new building discovered he had a major problem. Many windows leaked in the storm. So they hired a consultant (not us) who performed spray water testing in conformance with ASTM standards for leak testing.

Of the approximate 60 windows in the building, 45 or so leaked. After destructive testing was done, it was discovered that molded corner flashings that are installed into the rough opening of the window frames had a critical piece cut off by someone, and no one noticed or knew…and then the windows were installed, the facade installed and no one did any water testing or quality assurance construction monitoring during the window/WRB installation. ..if they had, the work could have been halted, the issue rectified and the costs and damages could have been greatly mitigated.

Daily costs for Quality Assurance Construction Monitoring run $1,200 a day. On a job like this building, maybe 30 days of construction monitoring may be necessary, or about $36,000.00. Which sounds like a lot until you go back to the costs of lost rents, building repairs and the headache of months of delays in getting your building back.

Quality Assurance Observations don’t cost, they pay with long term dividends on a properly dried in building. That’s what we do-help make buildings perform better, one building at a time.

Call us today for a discussion on how William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC can help you with quality assurance construction monitoring, where we observe, inspect, document and report to you, the building owner or general contractor, what we have observed, materials used, whether the work was done according to plans, specifications and the drawings.

Shell Beach Home Destroyed By Water Intrusion, What Happened?

Although this posts origins come from a job I did as a waterproofing contractor in 2013, it serves as an important lesson and example of why construction monitoring of the WRB and waterproofing is critical to ensure your building is waterproofed right.

This job started as a basic repair job; a new owner had purchased this Shell Beach home after having a home inspection. There was no specialized inspections done of the roof deck and roofing, which serves as an example of why you should have an inspection done by a specialist.

I was called because the home inspector did call out a problem with a roof deck drain. The area around the drain had soft spots in the plywood. My firm contracted with the new owner to replace the damaged plywood at the drain area only, install a new drain and waterproof it back. The owner liked the price and our plan because it was less than the credit back he got from the seller for doing the work. Note to buyers-have all repairs done before closing! The seller would have had to pay for what is coming next in this story.

Deck Inspections For Real Estate Transactions-Ethics and The Law

  1. SLO & Santa Barbara Realtors-Do you know William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC inspects wood and waterproof decks for buyers (and sellers)? We are the only company that does deck inspections where our duty and interest is only to the client, we do not bid for repairs! Why is this important? Because it’s the law. Contractors performing inspections for real estate transactions may not bid on work found to be needed. “Free” inspections predicated on doing the repair work is included. B&P Code section 7195 imposes certain duties and constraints, including prohibitions on repairing properties on which an inspection was performed in the last 12 months, accepting kickbacks and payments of referral fees to agents. Beyond that, it’s simply not ethical. We work for your client; that’s it. If your client, after getting our inspection, wishes to verify that the repairs to the deck or buildings weather resistant barriers are being installed correctly, they have the option of retaining us to perform quality assurance visits to observe and record a contractors repair procedures, materials used and following the plans and manufacturer’s specifications. Learn more about our services here in our website.
Careful checking if the integrity of the woods found this problem at a post connection.

We are SB-326 Balcony inspection experts & roofing & waterproofing consultants specializing in working with HOA's.