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article imageState could bar builders of Berkeley balcony that collapsed

By Nathan Salant     Apr 10, 2016 in World
Sacramento - California regulators could revoke the licenses of five contractors that worked on a Berkeley apartment complex where a balcony collapsed last year, killing six college-age students and injuring seven others.
The Contractors State License Board said Friday that "poor workmanship" in waterproofing the balcony at the Library Gardens Apartments led to water damage that caused it to rot and eventually collapse.
"They didn't do the work to trade standards," the board's enforcement chief, Dave Fogt, told the East Bay Times newspaper on Friday.
The balcony collapse was caused "definitely by water incursion that caused dry rot," Fogt said.
Six young people, mostly college students visiting from Ireland, were killed when beams supporting a fifth-floor balcony collapsed, sending more than a dozen people attending a birthday party plummeting to Kittredge Street below.
The board found that "poor workmanship" in the waterproofing of the balcony resulted in water damage that caused it to rot and eventually collapse.
The board named the complex's main contractor, Segue Construction of Pleasanton, along with subcontractors Etter and Sons Construction of Dana Point, R. Brothers Waterproofing of San Jose, North State Plastering of Fairfield and The Energy Store of California in Sacramento.
The companies will be referred to the California Justice Department for possible prosecution in state court, where their licenses to do business in the state could be revoked or suspended.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley decided last month not to file criminal charges against the contractors, saying that waterproofing materials used on the balcony 10 years ago had been applied when the structure was wet.
Survivors of the dead young people have filed suit against Segue and the other companies, claiming that tenants had complained about deterioration of their balconies for weeks before the collapse.
An attorney for some of the families, Mike Kelly, said Friday that the lawsuits were aimed at "uncovering the truth" about the balcony collapse and holding responsible parties accountable, the newspaper said.
Kelly also said he hoped the tragedy would result in better practices in the residential construction industry so future disasters could be prevented.
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