CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- One day after a University City apartment deck collapsed, the owner is obtaining repair permits through code enforcement to ensure the safety of the apartments’ wooden balconies.
Joe Pries, who has owned units at the Colville Condominium complex for the past two months, said he’s hired inspectors to check out the decks at eight units. He’s also contacted the people who live in those units and told them not to use the decks until they are inspected.
About 12:45 a.m. Sunday, one of the 12-foot-high decks, holding at least three people, plummeted to the ground and injured one.
“We’ve never had a problem ever,” Pries said. “This thing separated from the siding. It cut straight from the building. I said to myself, what could I have done differently? Now, I’ve been taking a corrective course of action.”
The injured person, Sopheavy Mao, 22, was taken to the Carolinas Medical Center-University Hospital, according to an incident report from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Mao apparently hurt his ankle and is expected to be fine, Pries said.
The incident report shows there were at least two other people on the deck, but they were not hurt.
The apartment complex is off Old Concord and Suther roads, not far from the UNC Charlotte campus. Apartments in the complex are advertised as a housing option for UNC Charlotte students.
Mao is not listed as a UNCC student and doesn’t live at the apartment, but Son Hoang, who lives there and notified police, attends UNCC.
The deck and apartment were built in 1986, according to Mecklenburg County real estate records. Gene Morton, the Mecklenburg County director of inspections, said inspection records are expunged every five to seven years, but that the deck would have been inspected when it was built. The county does not reinspect older buildings once they’ve initially been inspected, Morton said.
“The owner is responsible to look and check construction,” he said.
Pries referred questions about the last time decks were inspected to the Homeowner’s Association, which did not immediately return phone calls Monday.
Jeff Griffin, a code enforcement manager, said permits are always required for new construction on a residence except when the change is nonstructural and less than $5,000. But, inspections are not required when residences change ownership. Homebuyers typically have to pay for private safety inspections for insurance and mortgage reasons.