SB 721 BALCONY INSPECTION LAW

WHAT IS IT?

This is a State law that requires an inspection of exterior elevated wood elements, such as decks and balconies, for multifamily properties with 3+units or more. This came about after the 2015 balcony failure in Berkeley which killed 13 people. Failure was later determined to be due to poor waterproofing which caused dry rot and failure of wood members. SB 326 was recently passed in August and is a similar bill for condominiums.

WHEN?

Inspections must be performed by licensed architect, engineer, contractor, or building inspector. First inspection must be completed by January 1, 2025, with further inspections every 6 years. Inspection is also required before close of escrow on any condo conversions.

WHAT IS INSPECTED?

Required to inspect 15% of all elements, such as decks, balconies, catwalks, exterior stairs, and their connections to the building. Per our communication with the State Senate, inspection is typically invasive and requires removal of finishes (stucco, etc.) for inspection.

WHAT IF?

If poor conditions are encountered, Owner is required to do corrective work within about 8 months. If inspector requires immediate repairs, Owner must address immediately. This is a State-mandated local program, so local cities are the ones to enforce it. This law grants AHJ the authority to give civil penalties and pursue building safety liens. The bill clearly states that Owners are responsible for this entire process. Inspectors are required to follow-up on repairs and report to local jurisdiction if they are not completed in a timely manner.

IS IT A GUARANTEE?

No. The law only requires 15% of balconies to be inspected.

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HOW DOES IT AFFECT PROPERTIES?

The law requires inspection be completed before condominium

conversions, and copies of inspection reports must be turned over during any sale of property. Owners are required to retain reports for at least 2 cycles (12 years).

CAN THIS BE COMBINES WITH A  PCA REPORT?

Not really. Inspectors are required to have special training, special equipment, and be licensed. Inspectors are required to be contracted by Owner, where as PCAs are usually contracted by lenders. Inspection is also time-consuming, so having PCA do both may delay PCA report.