Addressing Balcony and Stair Failures: Problems with Exterior Elevated Elements

Date: October 23, 2020 12:00pm
Location: Online Zoom Webinar
balcony and stair failures

Friday, October 23, 2020

Eastern: 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Central: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Mountain: 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Pacific: 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Online Zoom Webinar

aiaParticipants will earn 1.0 AIA CES Learning Unit (LU/HSW) for attending the live webinar. Registration is free. Please note that space is limited – email to join our waitlist if the session is closed when you register. 


Recent failures of an existing balcony and exterior stair in California caused several casualties. The investigations following these collapses identified deteriorated structural components in exterior elevated elements (EEEs) – including balconies, stairways, and walkways – that should have received special design consideration and inspection scrutiny. Leading industry organizations helped to create regulatory changes in the California Building Code in 2017 for designing new EEEs, but these changes do not identify and eliminate risk associated with existing elements. EEEs in residential multifamily and condominium buildings present a particularly high risk for failure considering their typical detailing and construction materials. With this information, California legislators issued new laws that require periodic EEE inspections and reporting by qualified professionals. However, these issues are not confined to California.

In this webinar, we will discuss issues discovered during the investigations of these seminal failures and describe the resulting building code changes, jurisdictional programs, and similar conditions that might lead to further changes in regulations or laws. We will also review vulnerable building types, materials, and EEE elements – including waterproofing systems, framing materials, and construction processes – and describe what an inspection of these structures should entail. 

After attending this seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Appreciate challenges associated with proper design of waterproofing and structural systems for EEEs.
  • Carefully consider using engineered lumber in conditions that could potentially receive construction wetting. 
  • Understand vulnerabilities related to construction wetting and engineered lumber.
  • Discuss investigation techniques applied by qualified professionals to assess these structures. 



kevin mooreKevin S. Moore, S.E. | Senior Principal
Kevin Moore is head of SGH’s Structural Engineering division in San Francisco. His diverse work experience includes serving as the lead investigator for one of two prime defendants in the Library Gardens case (the balcony collapse in Berkeley, California). In addition to determining causes of failure in the Library Gardens case, he has observed many different conditions during his work as lead consultant for a client with more than 10,000 wood-framed apartment units located throughout the West Coast. Kevin has investigated more than 1,000 EEEs, developed more than 40 sets of construction documents for repair of deficient EEEs, and participated in a number of code development meetings related to regulatory changes for EEEs. Kevin has participated in code development for more than 20 years and currently serves as the Chair of the Structural Engineers Association of California Structural Standards Committee.

ken kleinKenneth A. Klein, P.E. | Senior Principal 
Kenneth Klein leads SGH’s West Coast Building Technology division and is experienced in designing and investigating waterproofing for commercial, institutional, and residential buildings. His work over the last 35 years has addressed issues related to the integrity of curtain walls, roofs, plaza decks, and below-grade systems on a wide range of structures from residential and high-rise buildings to historic landmarks. Ken has consulted with architects, contractors, and building owners to analyze and repair water intrusion problems and construction defects. He is well known in the industry and has frequently presented to groups of attorneys, contractors, architects, and other design professional regarding building enclosure design and remediation.