In Berkeley, California, a fourth-floor balcony collapsed during a birthday party in 2015, killing six young people and injuring seven more. New legislation intended to prevent the recurrence of the catastrophe was passed as a result of the tragedy, which sent shockwaves throughout the state. Because of this, California now mandates routine inspections of balconies and other high external building components. We'll delve deeper into these inspections and the rules that control them in this blog article.
SB 326, also known as the Balcony Inspection Law, was signed into law in 2018 and requires inspections of all exterior elevated elements of buildings with three or more multifamily dwelling units, such as balconies, decks, and walkways. The inspections must be conducted by a qualified inspector at least once every nine years.
SB 721, also known as the Balcony and Elevated Walkway Inspection Law, was signed into law in 2018 and requires inspections of all exterior elevated elements of buildings with three or more multifamily dwelling units that are more than six years old. The inspections must be conducted by a qualified inspector at least once every six years.
Under both SB 326 and SB 721, inspections must be conducted by a qualified inspector who meets certain criteria. The inspector must hold a valid license as a general contractor, architect, structural engineer, or civil engineer issued by the California Contractors State License Board, and must have at least five years of experience in the inspection of multifamily residential buildings.
During the inspection, the inspector will assess the condition of the exterior elevated elements, looking for signs of damage, deterioration, or other potential safety hazards. The inspector will also look for compliance with applicable building codes and standards.
If the inspector identifies any issues that could compromise the safety of the balcony or other elevated exterior elements, the building owner must take corrective action. The owner must also submit a report detailing the inspection findings and any necessary repairs to the local code enforcement agency within 15 days of the inspection.
The purpose of these inspections is to prevent tragedies like the one in Berkeley from happening again. By identifying and addressing potential safety hazards before they become serious problems, California hopes to keep residents and visitors safe.
Additionally, regular inspections can help extend the life of balconies and other exterior elevated elements, saving building owners money in the long run. Inspections can identify issues early, allowing owners to make repairs before the problems become more extensive and costly.
SB 326 and SB 721 represent important steps forward in ensuring the safety of California’s residents and visitors. By requiring regular inspections of balconies and other elevated exterior elements, the state hopes to prevent tragedies and keep people safe. Building owners should take these inspections seriously and ensure that they are conducted by qualified inspectors who can identify potential safety hazards and recommend necessary repairs. With proper inspections and maintenance, balconies and other elevated exterior elements can continue to provide enjoyment and convenience for years to come.
EEEAdvisor is striving to educate clients on these standards and the regulations established in SB721 and SB326 in order to assist clients in meeting the compliance deadline and ensure the security of their facilities. Omid Ghanadiof is a co-founder of the Southern California-based engineering inspections company EEEadvisor Engineering. EEEadvisor Engineers assists homeowners associations (HOAs) and owners of rental homes in adhering to state laws for balcony inspections, as per Senate Bills 721 and 326. For further information, get in touch with Mr. Ghanadiof at