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Frequently Asked Questions

Your questions answered by our expert team!

  • What was the background of SB721 and SB326?
    This law was introduced in reaction to the terrible balcony fall that occurred in Berkeley, California, in June 2015, killing six people. Wood decay (rot) of the structural wood framing that supported the balcony was discovered to be the cause of the collapse.
  • Which cities are subject to ordinance California balcony ordinance SB721and SB326?
    SB721 and SB326 are statewide laws in California, so they apply to all cities and counties within the state. However, it's important to note that enforcement and implementation of these ordinances may vary at the local level. Each city and county in California may have its own building departments, code enforcement agencies, or specific local ordinances that further detail the requirements and processes related to balcony inspections and load-bearing component inspections.
  • Why should I hire EEE Advisor?
    EEEAdvisor provides much more than a simple service. It gives you access to a top-notch team of engineering professionals, each holding industry-specific certifications, ready to impart their extensive knowledge to your construction project. We cater to all your requirements across the lifecycle of the project, be it in the form of pre-sales assistance, customized configurations, execution, or even post-sales upkeep and fixes.
  • What should you expect to see in my "EEE" inspection report?
    Reports include ​ · Inspection of balconies, stairways, landings, walkways, railings, and support structures. · Inspection of waterproof traffic coatings and systems. · A detailed report by a certified engineer with photos. · Courtesy tips and recommendations for routine interval maintenance. · The identification of the building components comprising the load-bearing components and associated waterproofing system. · The current physical condition of the load-bearing components and associated waterproofing system, including whether the condition presents an immediate threat to the health and safety of the residents. · The expected future performance and remaining useful life of the load-bearing components and associated waterproofing system. · Recommendations for any necessary repair or replacement of the load-bearing components and associated waterproofing system.
  • What happens If my balcony(EEE) needs repairs?
    Repairs can be divided into two categories: A. Repairs that aren't urgent In this case, the owner has 120 days from the date of receipt of the report to apply for a permit to complete repairs. The owner has another 120 days once the permit is authorized to complete the repairs. The owner has another 120 days once the permit is authorized to complete the repairs. B. URGENT Repairs This indicates that the elevation features on the outside are not durable, may be hazardous to occupants' safety, and require immediate emergency repairs. Any repairs done after that must be inspected and reported to law enforcement.
  • Am I subject to the ordinance of SB721 and SB326 under the California balcony bill?
    If your building has 3+ units and you have any "EEE" that is above 6 feet and is designed for humans, then you are required to inspect these Elements of your building according to SB 326 and 721.
  • Why should Exterior Elevated Elements be inspected?
    During construction, especially in old buildings, wood joists that supported the doomed balcony or stairways did not receive adequate moisture protection. Therefore, as these joists are under stucco and not visible, there is a high chance that does not get enough support from the main structure of the building. Hence to avoid collapse, these two bills were designed.
  • What if my (EEEs) report was recently inspected?
    No new inspections are required until January 1, 2025, if your building was evaluated within three years of January 1, 2019, and the inspection conducted conformed with the standards of SB 721.
  • My EEE appears to be made of concrete; may it be supported by wood?
    It's likely that your EEE is made of wood. Many EEEs are made out of concrete slabs, known as topping slabs, that are supported by wood floor joists. If you're not sure if your structure is covered by SB 721, you should consult an expert.
  • Should I coordinate with my tenants or manager for an initial review assessment?
    No, you would not need it. During the initial review, our engineer will evaluate all elements of each direction outside of the building, so there is no need to notify and coordinate for the first analysis review. If we find some elements that require getting inside of each unit, then we will notify you, and you can send notice to them.
  • What is dry rot wood?
    Dry rot is a type of wood decay. It occurs when moisture saturates the wood, causing a fungus to develop and spread in search of nutrients, lacking a drying mechanism and humidity.
  • What happens if I don’t comply with (SB721and SB326)?
    Nothing until someone hires an attorney and sues the HOA or owner for noncompliance or a building element fails and someone is injured. Then there could be a severe liability for the HOA or owner and board.
  • What kind of inspection do I need for sb721 and sb326?
    A visual inspection may include visual observation or tools such as moisture meters, infrared devices, or endoscope cameras, but it will be done by a certified professional engineer.
  • How can I know if I have any Exterior Elevated Elements" that need to be inspected?
    To determine if you have Exterior Elevated Elements (EEEs) that require inspection: Identify structures: Look for balconies, decks, stairways, walkways, and other elevated outdoor structures attached to your building that are accessible to the public. Review plans: Check building plans or architectural drawings for information on EEE locations. Consult professionals: Seek guidance from qualified architects or structural engineers familiar with SB721 or SB326 to assess which elements require inspection. Contact local authorities: Reach out to your local building department or code enforcement agency for specific inspection requirements in your area. Remember, professional assistance and compliance with local regulations are crucial for ensuring the safety and adherence of your property.
  • Am I getting any type of notice from the city for the California balcony SB721and SB326?
    The issuance of notices related to SB721 and SB326, as well as the specific requirements for notification, can vary depending on your local jurisdiction and the enforcement practices implemented by the city or county. It is advisable to consult with your local building department or code enforcement agency to understand the specific notice requirements and processes in your area. In some cases, cities may proactively notify property owners about the requirements of these laws, particularly when they are first implemented or updated. This could involve sending informational letters or hosting workshops to educate property owners about their responsibilities under the legislation. However, it's important to note that compliance with SB721 and SB326 is ultimately the responsibility of the property owner. It is recommended to stay informed about the applicable laws and actively seek guidance from professionals such as architects, structural engineers, or legal experts to ensure compliance with the inspection and maintenance requirements.
  • When is the deadline to repair under the California balcony SB721 and SB326ill?
    In case of an emergency repair need, the owner of the building must receive a copy of the inspection report within 45 days of the inspection. But If the inspector finds conditions that are not urgent, the owner must repair them within 120 days unless local authorities grant an extension. If the owner does not perform the repairs cited in the inspection report, local enforcement authorities must send them a 30-day corrective notice. This document must spell out the potential civil penalties and liens against the property if the owner continues to neglect the necessary repairs.
  • How can I recognize dry Rott?
    The first indicator might be a weird smell that you feel but not always, especially when it is covered by stucco. Another common indicator is appearance. If the rotting wood is concealed, other red flags may come up.
  • What is the deadline to comply with sb721 and sb326?
    January 1, 2025
  • Are we required to rebuild our balcony under this ordinance?
    Under SB721 or similar ordinances, the requirement to rebuild a balcony would typically depend on the findings of the inspection conducted by a qualified architect or structural engineer. If the inspection identifies hazards or deficiencies that pose a safety risk, the building owner is typically required to address those issues promptly. The decision to rebuild or repair a balcony would depend on the severity of the identified hazards or deficiencies. In some cases, minor repairs or modifications may be sufficient to address the safety concerns. However, if the issues are significant and cannot be adequately addressed through repairs, rebuilding the balcony may be necessary to ensure compliance with the ordinance and maintain the safety of the structure. It is essential to consult with a qualified architect or structural engineer who can assess your specific situation and provide guidance based on their expertise and the requirements of SB721 or other applicable regulations in your area. They will be able to evaluate the condition of your balcony and recommend the appropriate course of action to ensure compliance and public safety.
  • What is the difference between sb721 vs. sb326 under the California balcony bill?
    Briefly, SB326 applies to condominiums and other community associations, and SB721 is subject to any wood frame buildings with more than three dwelling units.
  • Is it really necessary to inspect my building, which is only ten years old?
    If you have a multi-family residential building with three or more dwelling units, the ordinance applies to you, and you must have the "external raised elements" and accompanying waterproofing features assessed. Buildings of a certain age are not exempt from examination.
  • What is the main difference between SB721and SB326 ordinance and soft story retrofit?
    SB721: Requires inspection and maintenance of balconies and other elevated outdoor elements in multi-family residential buildings. SB326: Addresses inspection of load-bearing components, such as balconies, to ensure structural integrity in multi-family residential buildings. Soft Story Retrofit: Ordinances for strengthening multi-story buildings with weak ground floors to mitigate seismic risks. Enforcement of SB721, SB326, and soft story retrofit ordinances typically falls under the jurisdiction of local authorities, such as building departments or code enforcement agencies. These agencies are responsible for overseeing compliance with the respective ordinances. For SB721 and SB326, enforcement may involve reviewing inspection reports submitted by building owners, conducting random audits, or responding to complaints from tenants or the public regarding potential safety issues. If violations are identified, authorities may issue notices of non-compliance, impose fines or penalties, and require prompt remediation of identified hazards or deficiencies. Soft story retrofit ordinances are enforced through a similar process. Building departments typically require owners of designated soft story buildings to submit retrofit plans, obtain necessary permits, and complete the retrofit within specified timelines. Failure to comply may result in penalties, notices of violation, and potential legal action.
  • What does"EEE" mean in California balcony bills SB721 and SB326?
    The new law describes an Exterior Elevated Element to mean "the following types of structures, including their supports and railings: balconies, decks, porches, stairways, walkways, and entry structures that extend beyond exterior walls of the building and which have a walking surface that is elevated more than six feet above ground level, are designed for human occupancy or use, and rely in whole or in substantial part on wood or wood-based products for structural support stability of the elevated exterior element." In other words, mean the load-bearing components together with their associated waterproofing system of each building.
  • What is CALIFORNIA Balcony Inspection LAW ORDINANCE (SB721and SB326)?
    These two ordinances ( sb721 & sb 326 ) aim to assess the condition of buildings' exterior projections and force owners to conduct life-saving repairs because of dry rot outbreaks in buildings, and prevent any collapse in the entire state of CALIFORNIA. This law grants AHJ the authority to give civil penalties and pursue building safety liens. The bill clearly states that owners are responsible for the entire process.
  • Do I need to obtain any permits to start repair?
    Yes, if it was recommended in the report of your building and you finished the design of repair then you need to have a permit to start construction.
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