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Are You Ready for California's Balcony Inspection Law?

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

California's Balcony Inspection Law, also known as Senate Bill 721, was signed into law in 2018 and requires periodic inspections of certain exterior elevated elements, such as balconies, decks, and walkways, in multi-family residential buildings with three or more units. The goal of this law is to prevent deadly balcony collapses like the one that occurred in Berkeley in 2015, which claimed the lives of six young people.

If you own or manage a multi-family residential building in California, it's important to be aware of this law and understand your responsibilities. Here are some key things you need to know.

What's Required?

Under the Balcony Inspection Law, building owners are required to have all exterior elevated elements inspected by a licensed structural engineer or architect at least once every six years. The inspections must be conducted on all buildings with three or more units that have exterior elevated elements, regardless of the age of the building. If any issues are identified during the inspection, the building owner must complete the necessary repairs or replacement within a specified timeframe.

Additionally, building owners are required to maintain records of the inspections and any repairs or replacements that were made for at least eight years, and provide a copy of the inspection report to tenants upon request.

What's the Deadline?

The Balcony Inspection Law went into effect on January 1, 2019, and building owners were given until January 1, 2025, to complete their first inspection. After that, inspections must be conducted every six years. However, if any issues are identified during the inspection, repairs or replacement must be completed within 120 days.

What are the Consequences of Non-Compliance?

If building owners fail to comply with the Balcony Inspection Law, they may face penalties and fines. Additionally, if a balcony or other exterior elevated element collapses and causes injury or death due to neglect, the building owner may be held liable.

How to Prepare?

If you own or manage a multi-family residential building in California, you should start preparing for the required inspections. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Identify all exterior elevated elements in your building, including balconies, decks, and walkways.

2. Research and hire a licensed structural engineer or architect to conduct the inspection.

3. Schedule the inspection and ensure that tenants are informed in advance.

4. Review the inspection report and make any necessary repairs or replacements within the specified timeframe.

5. Maintain records of the inspection and any repairs or replacements made for at least eight years.


Conclusion

The Balcony Inspection Law is an important measure to prevent deadly balcony collapses in multi-family residential buildings in California. Building owners have a responsibility to comply with this law to ensure the safety of their tenants. By understanding the requirements and taking the necessary steps to prepare for inspections, building owners can comply with the law and help prevent tragic accidents.

EEEAdvisor works to educate clients on these standards and the regulations outlined in SB721 and SB326 in order to assist customers in meeting the compliance deadline and ensure the security of their facilities. Omid Ghanadiof is a co-founder of the engineering inspections company EEEadvisor Engineering, based in California. EEEadvisor Engineers assists homeowners associations (HOAs) and landlords in adhering to state regulations for balcony inspections, as per Senate Bills 721 and 326. For further information, get in touch with us at (805) 312-8513 or http://info@EEEadvisor.com.

Are You Ready for California's Balcony Inspection Law?

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