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California Balcony & Deck Inspection FAQs

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

You might have inquiries concerning the California balcony and deck inspection law if you're a homeowner in California with a balcony or deck. To assist you better comprehend the criteria and get ready for the required inspections, here are some frequently asked questions.

· What is the California balcony and deck inspection law?

The California balcony and deck inspection law is a law that requires multi-family residential buildings with three or more units and exterior elevated elements, such as balconies, decks, and walkways, to undergo periodic inspections by a licensed professional engineer or architect. The law was introduced in response to a balcony collapse in Berkeley in 2015 that resulted in the deaths of six people.

2. Who is responsible for conducting the inspections?

The inspections must be conducted by a licensed professional engineer or architect who has experience with the design and construction of exterior elevated elements.

3. How often are inspections required?

The law requires inspections at least once every nine years, starting from January 1, 2025.

4. When is the first inspection due?

Building owners were required to complete the first inspection of exterior elevated elements by January 1, 2025.

5. What elements are subject to inspection?

The law applies to all exterior elevated elements, including balconies, decks, and walkways, that are attached to the building and provide access to the building from the exterior.

6. What do the inspections entail?

The inspections involve a visual examination of the exterior elevated elements to determine if they meet certain safety requirements. The inspector will also review construction plans and documents to ensure compliance with the building code.

7. What happens if the inspector finds safety issues?

If the inspector determines that the exterior elevated elements do not meet the safety requirements, the building owner must take corrective action within 120 days of receiving the inspection report.

8. What happens if building owners fail to comply with the law?

Building owners who fail to comply with the law may face penalties and fines. Additionally, if a deck or other exterior elevated element collapses and causes injury or death due to neglect, the building owner may be held liable.

9. What should building owners do to prepare for inspections?

Building owners should identify all exterior elevated elements in their building, research and hire a licensed professional engineer or architect to conduct the inspection, schedule the inspection, ensure that tenants are informed in advance, review the inspection report, and make any necessary repairs or replacements within the specified timeframe.

10. How can tenants help ensure their safety?

Tenants should notify building owners of any concerns or issues with exterior elevated elements, such as cracking or rotting wood, loose railings, or unstable surfaces. Tenants should also comply with any safety guidelines provided by the building owner, such as weight limits on balconies.

In conclusion, the California balcony and deck inspection law is an important measure to ensure the safety of residents in multi-family residential buildings. Building owners should be aware of the requirements and take steps to comply with the law, including conducting inspections and making necessary repairs. Tenants can also play a role in ensuring their own safety by notifying building owners of any concerns or issues with exterior elevated elements and complying with safety guidelines.

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


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