Tag Archives: ca balcony inspections

Bill Leys Has Been Inspecting Decks Since 2005, and Has Been A Leader In The Deck Inspection Field Since

After a boroscope camera saw some damage, full destructive testing reveals the horror show lying hidden away, a collapse waiting to happen; that could have happened without a deck inspection.
Photo courtesy of American Restore, Inc.

As the owner of William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC, I’ve been a proponent of doing deck inspections for a very long time. Deck collapses have been happening long before the shocking Berkeley deck collapse that left 6 dead and 7 severely injured on the sidewalk below and they continue with alarming frequency today.

With SB-326 in place, it is important to find the right inspector for your HOA. There are a lot of new inspection companies that have popped up with dubious track records and many have conflicts of interests by also owning a waterproofing company that can just happen to give you a bid… and there are the established firms like William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC that have been doing deck inspections, forensics and construction defect investigations for years and have no conflicts of interest because we don’t bid for any repair work that we may discover.

In 2006 I presented a Powerpoint presentation on decks at the Association of Professional Reserve Advisors (APRA) annual symposium in Rancho Mirage. It was there that an HOA manager approached me about doing deck inspections for his client Associations. My first deck inspection was Montecito HOA in Walnut Creek, an Apartment to Condo conversion. That inspection found numerous defects and deficiencies on the balconies.

From there my inspection business took off and I have been inspecting decks and balconies on buildings all over California for 16 years now. We are recommended by HOA management firms, Reserve Study companies such as CACM Services in Long Beach, B&W Management in Arroyo Grande and Facilities Advisors International LLC.

Read our reviews from over the years I’ve been doing inspections here- Reviews & Recommendations and you’ll see the same consistent theme, how our expertise made a difference.

Put our expertise to work for your Association today, starting with a free SB-326 EEE evaluation of your property. We’ll calculate what EEE’s need to be inspected and give you a free proposal for the work. I think you’ll find our pricing competitive and our work exceptional. Email Bill Leys at LeysWaterproofingConsultants@gmail.com today to get started.

There’s No Word More Dangerous To Your Reserve Account Than “Free”

Accurate?

For an HOA’s reserve accounts there is no word that could be possibly any more dangerous than the word free. Board members hear that word and everything else becomes a dull roar.

“Well they said they were going to do a free inspection if we contracted for the work and we know we have work to do anyway so we may as well kill two birds with one stone.” Well not an actual quote but close enough to what I’ve been told a couple times. My response has been simply there is no such thing as free.

First question is are they inspecting with a structural engineer or an architect on stage 1? If not then the report is not valid if it’s robo stamped.

Second question Is aren’t you supposed to get three bids for the repairs? Why are you not following the CC&Rs that require three bids on any capital expenditures?

Last question is do you really think that you were getting the best price on the repair work? Reality is is they have found an easy mark and are ready to separate your HOA from its money.

Don’t fall for free. You get exactly what you pay for. The experts at William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC Do not give away their services for free but we also don’t contract for any work. We work in the association’s best interests and ensure that your money is spent well on repairs that are necessary. With our no conflict of interest guarantee you know that we are working for you and will advise you to the best of our ability with the knowledge that we have so that you can make the best decisions for your association.

Call us today at 805-801-2380 or go to the contact box to the left and send us a message.

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.

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.