Building Codes

Improperly Maintained Roof Drainage System

Case Synopsis: Pedestrian slipped and fell while exiting a leased property where ice had accumulated along the entrance. The ice build-up was a chronic problem, stemming from water leakage from the roof drainage system, and the lessee regularly notified the property management agent of the water/ice problem. Repairs had been made to the drainage system in the past, but the problem was never resolved, leaving a hazardous and dangerous condition.

Engineering Analysis: The roof-top drainage system appeared to be originally adequately designed. However, it was not properly maintained as required by property maintenance codes, which state that the roof water shall not be discharged in a manner that creates a health or safety hazard and that all walkways shall be maintained free from hazardous conditions. Because of the lack of proper maintenance, the roof drainage was discharging directly onto the sidewalk and front entry area adjacent to the front door. The real estate company was properly put on notice multiple times regarding a continuing hazardous site condition at the subject premises and failed to use reasonable and appropriate care to rectify the dangerous condition in a timely manner.

Conclusion: Expert analysis confirmed that the ice build-up directly adjacent to the front entry was from the inadequately maintained and/or repaired roof drainage system and that it created a safety hazard that the property owner and their management agent were obligated by code to repair. Case settled.

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