California Senate Bills SB326 & SB721, were a response to the 2015 deadly collapse of a balcony in Berkeley, California, where students were tragically killed and injured.
Balconies, as well as elevated exterior elements are vulnerable to a variety of structural problems. They are also prone to wood decay and deterioration caused by dry rot, termites and prolonged exposure to moisture. By ensuring regular inspections and maintenance, risk and disaster can be avoided.
This new “Balcony Law”, applies to buildings with 3 or more multi-family dwelling units. It also applies to much more than balconies, including structures that are essentially made of wood or have a wood-based framework. These include:
entry structures more than 6ft. above ground level
At Arcor Inc, we have multi-licensed professionals that are required to do BALCONY INSPECTIONS & the inspections of all ELEVATED EXTERNAL ELEMENTS. On completion of the inspection, you will receive the following:
A detailed report
Photo documentation if contracted
Repair or maintenance of decking and waterproofing systems if contracted
Destructive testing if contracted
Inspections are required of exterior elevated elements, that are at least 6 feet off the ground, for buildings that contain 3 or more units. The goal is to ensure they are in good condition and safe for occupancy and loads. The inspection must cover not only the deck itself, but also the associated waterproofing systems. Arcor Inc has experienced and highly qualified inspectors to ensure your inspection and remediation is done correctly.
SB 326- For Condominium HOA’S, legislation requires an inspection of all Exterior Elevated Elements (EEE) to be completed by January 1, 2025, and every 9 years thereafter. Once the inspection is complete, a report must be submitted to the homeowners association In Compliance with Davis Sterling Act for inclusion into the required Reserve Studies. If the owner chooses not to have the necessary repairs or maintenance done, the board will be notified, and the owner and or Board of Directors will be held responsible for any future costs, including potential lawsuits resulting from damage or injury.
Inspections must be conducted by a certified professional:
Licensed Structural Engineer
A certified professional (either a Licensed Structural Engineer or an Architect) must be the one to conduct the inspection. The three main things they’ll be inspecting are the condition of load-bearing components, the condition of associated waterproofing elements, and an evaluation of expected future performance and projected service life.
Many architects and engineers also employ a qualified waterproofing expert to also be present, in order to ensure the integrity of waterproofing systems for the building are maintained.
The final report will advise the owner on repairs or maintenance that need to be made to ensure the safety of the deck or walkway. This will be passed on to the homeowners association, to allow them to assess the damages and budget for any necessary repairs.
There are two types of repairs that may need to be made:
Non-emergency repairs: the owner or Board of Directors are notified
Emergency repairs: referred to the Local Building and Safety Department
This new balcony law (also known as SB 721, is specific to Condominiums (Multi Family Housing) controlled by residential homeowners’ associations (HOA’s). It applies to any building containing 3 or more multi-family dwelling units. This law makes commercial property owners financially responsible for inspections and testing (and repairs), of exterior elevated elements with load-bearing components for apartment and commercial housing, such as decks, walkways, or balconies
The inspection must be completed by a licensed professional. Arcor Inc has experienced and highly qualified inspectors to ensure your inspection and remediation is done correctly.
In addition to making property owners responsible by law, for the inspections and repairs, it also gives them strict deadlines under the threat of civil penalties and heavy fines.SB 721- For apartment buildings, legislation requires any multi-family with three or more (3+) dwelling units to complete an inspection of all Exterior Elevated Elements (EEE) by January 1, 2025, and every 6 years thereafter. After that, commercial property owners, must have their external elevated structures inspected every 6 years.
If the inspection concludes that repairs are required, then the owners of the building must comply within 180 days. If they fail to do this, the inspector will notify local law enforcement. If repairs are not done 30 days after the notification, the owner will get a civil penalty, ranging between $100-$500 for every day the repairs are not completed.
These inspections must be done by one of the following certified professional:
Licensed Civil or Structural Engineer
Building Contractor (minimum 5 years experience)
Certified Building Inspectors or Building Officials
There are 2 types of repairs:
If this is the case, the owner must apply for a permit to make repairs within 120 days of receiving the report. Once the permit is approved, the owner has another 120 days to make the repairs.
In this case, the external elevated elements are not structurally sound, and therefore pose a threat to the safety of residents. Immediate emergency repairs are required. Once repairs are made, another inspection must follow and be reported to law enforcement.