Berkeley balcony collapse: State moves to revoke license of Segue Construction

SACRAMENTO (KTVU) -- A state board has begun the process to suspend or revoke the license of a contractor linked to the collapse of a Berkeley apartment building balcony last year that left six people dead and several others hurt.

The California Contractors State License Board on Tuesday filed a formal "accusation" against Segue Construction Inc., the company that served as general contractor during the building of the Library Gardens complex, a four-story building at 2020 Kittredge St., near the UC Berkeley campus.

Several students from Ireland were celebrating a birthday party on June 16, 2015 when the balcony collapsed. Four people died at the scene and two others died at the hospital.

According to the board's findings, the "design and load analysis of the balcony established that if the balcony had been built as designed, the imposed load of the 13 students was well within the design limits of the balcony structure."

The board also said Segue "willfully departed from or disregarded building plans or specifications, and willfully departed from accepted trade standards for good and workmanlike construction."

The board said decay of the joists that held the balcony up led to the collapse.

According to state rules, Segue has 15 days from the date the accusation was filed to officially respond. If the contractor fails to respond, the firm could be hit with a default revocation. The contractor could also attempt to settle the cast or request an administrative heaving.

An investigation by KTVU's 2 Investigates found multiple lawsuits against Segue Construction which alleged problems with other projects the construction firm had been involved with.

Court documents show that Pleasanton-based Segue Construction was sued in 2010 by the Irvine Company LLC, the owner of North Park Apartments in San Jose. Among the complaints in that lawsuit, Irvine alleges that the contractor failed to follow proper building codes when it constructed the balconies at North Park's "Pines" apartments.

The lawsuit accused Segue of "failing to design the breezeways, private balconies and stairwells at the Project in substantial compliance with all applicable local and state codes and according to industry standard."

Segue agreed to a settlement in that case last year.