SEA ISLE CITY — An attorney representing the high-rise condominium association where a balcony collapsed, killing a worker, said work was being done outside of an agreement between management and a Pennsylvania contractor.
Workers with Ferguson Contracting Inc. of Yardley, Pennsylvania, were cutting pieces of rebar on an eighth-floor balcony of the Spinnaker Condominium’s South Tower when it fell and crushed Jose Pereira on the balcony below.
“That was outside of the scope of what the Spinnaker had asked to be done,” said Karim Kaspar of Lowenstein Sandler LLP, which is representing the Spinnaker.
Pereira, 43, of Philadelphia, was pronounced dead after first responders reached him after the fatal balcony collapse in late February.
City Construction Official Cornelius “Neil” Byrne couldn’t provide further updates to the accident’s investigation on Wednesday.
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“We’re still waiting for the reports to come back,” Byrne said.
Spinnaker’s association had authorized work by Ferguson Contracting addressing needs to both the pool and balconies, Kaspar said. Ferguson has been used by the association for work there for about seven to eight years, he said, adding several projects undertaken by the company were for exterior building repairs.
“They were supposed to be putting up some scaffolding, remove some concrete — I think an inch or so of the top layer of concrete on the balconies had been removed and was supposed to be repaired,” Kaspar said. “They were going to seal out all of the surface cracks and replace any of the damaged concrete.”
But, Kaspar said, Ferguson’s workers were performing work not asked of them in the agreement.
“Cutting the rebar, which may have been a contributing factor, was not within the scope of the work that Ferguson was supposed to be doing,” Kaspar said.
Ferguson Contracting did not return a request for comment on Wednesday.
Both the seventh- and eighth-floor concrete balcony slabs are being preserved in storage for further testing, Kaspar said. Samples of the concrete and rebar will be analyzed to confirm any failure in their structural integrity, he said.
After the accident, Byrne issued a stop work order for both the Spinnaker North and South Towers.
Balconies on the South Tower’s south side can be used, an engineering report found, adding needed maintenance must be done to preserve their strength.
The unsafe structure notices from the North Tower were removed. They were put in place on the same day as the accident, Byrne said.
A separate report found the North Tower’s balconies were also approved for use, he said.
“They’re still usable for their intended purpose,” Byrne said.
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