Monday 5 December 2016

Berkeley ratifies new safety checks to prevent future balcony tragedies

Published 16/07/2015 | 02:30

Vicky Carse, Hazel Curran, Shaunna Lee Lynch and Eavan Healy Rathmines at a fundraising event for injured Berkeley balcony victim Jack Halpin at the Omniplex in Rathmines, Dublin
Vicky Carse, Hazel Curran, Shaunna Lee Lynch and Eavan Healy Rathmines at a fundraising event for injured Berkeley balcony victim Jack Halpin at the Omniplex in Rathmines, Dublin

The US city of Berkeley is to introduce tough construction regulations and a new building inspection regime to avoid a repeat of the balcony tragedy in which six students died.

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The City of Berkeley has voted unanimously to enforce the new measures with immediate effect after six students, five of whom were Irish, died when the fourth-storey balcony collapsed on June 16.

Seven other Irish students were injured when the timber-supported balcony at the Library Gardens complex collapsed. Inspectors examined the balcony and found severe dry rot in the eight support timbers.

George and Jackie Donohoe lost their daughter Ashley (20) in the tragedy and warned, through a solicitor, that no family should ever have to endure their heartache.

Mandatory

Mandatory inspections will now take place of all balconies, viewing decks and all timber-supported structures which are weather-exposed, within six months. Follow-on inspections will then be conducted every three years.

It is also expected that Berkeley will ratify a new building code which will require the use of reinforced steel support beams in all upper-storey balconies and decks.

Meanwhile, major fundraisers are being staged for the Berkeley balcony victims.

A special fundraiser will be staged in The Academy, Dublin next Thursday (July 23) with tickets priced at €25 from Ticketmaster.

A special fundraiser for Jack Halpin (21), hailed as a hero after he saved a friend from more serious injuries in the balcony collapse, was staged in the Omniplex Rathmines last night.

Irish Independent

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