The recently opened Debra March Center of Excellence in Henderson, Nevada is a workforce development hub that provides hands-on training customized to the needs of local employers.  The public-private center will be operated by the College of Southern Nevada in cooperation with Workforce Connections, Southern Nevada’s workforce development board, as well as Henderson’s public education and economic development efforts.  Aptus is the project’s architect.  Wright Engineers is proud to have provided the structural engineering.

Photography credit: Levi Ellyson/501 Studios
With special thanks to Aptus Architecture



When it comes to risk of catastrophic failure, residential exterior balconies—especially if they are cantilevered—are particularly vulnerable.  Following the tragic 2015 collapse of a balcony in Berkeley, California that took the lives of six college students, the State of California enacted legislation intended to reduce the risk of this type of accident reoccurring.  SB326 for condominiums and SB721 for apartments, commonly known as the California Balcony Inspection Laws, require a licensed engineer or architect to inspect all exterior wood balconies, walkways, and decks on multi-family developments.  Initial inspections are required to be completed by January 1, 2025, with recurring inspections every nine years thereafter.

By law, the balcony inspection must include an intrusive inspection of at least 15% of the structural elements.  This means removal of stucco, soffits, deck surfaces, and other finishes that conceal the structural members and connections so they can be inspected for signs of damage or degradation.  Wright Engineers’ deck inspections over the past two years have revealed plenty of hidden damage.  “Termites and water can destroy wood members with little to no outward indication that anything is wrong,” says Scott Jones, SE, Executive Vice President of Wright Engineers.  “I’ve been amazed to discover severely degraded wood structural members that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.”  Since degradation and damage that weakens the structural capacity of a balcony can be present with no outwardly visible signs, a periodic inspection by a qualified person could identify these conditions and allow them to be repaired before further damage—or worse—occurs.

Photo credit:
By Yankeepapa13 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,