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How to Avoid Unsafe Deck balcony and Stairway with sb721 inspection

Updated: Feb 22, 2023

In light of the approaching January 1, 2025 deadline for compliance with SB721 and SB326 in California, EEEAdvisor, a leading engineering inspection company, is providing tips and guidance to help clients prepare for the new regulations. The California Balcony Law requires all exterior elevated elements (EEEs), such as balconies, decks, porches, stairways, and walkways that extend beyond the exterior walls of a building and are elevated more than six feet above ground level, to comply with inspection criteria and meet safety standards. EEEAdvisor is helping businesses and families understand the inspection process and criteria for compliance, ensuring that they are prepared for the deadline.

According to SB721, EEEs are defined as structures, including their supports and railings, that have a walking surface elevated more than six feet above the ground. SB326, on the other hand, defines EEEs as the load-bearing components and their associated waterproofing system. EEEAdvisor is working to educate clients about these definitions and the regulations outlined in SB721 and SB326, helping them to meet the compliance deadline and ensure the safety of their buildings.

Your outside deck cannot be expected to continue to provide years of enjoyment without making sure it is safe. Most professionals agree that after 10 to 15 years a full inspection is recommended.

It is strongly advised to get a professional to come out and perform an inspection. However, you can do some basic checks yourself to determine the deck’s current structural integrity. Here are the five warning signs of an unsafe deck.

Lost or missing connections – Your outdoor deck should be secured with nails, screws and proper connectors. Any missing pieces should be noted and likely photographed.

Loose connections – These are often difficult to see because the connections are still in place. Loose or wobbly planks and boards are clear indicators.

Corrosion – Rusted nails and corrosion undermine structural integrity of the deck.

Rotting wood – Pressure treated wood for outdoor projects is designed to last a long time but not forever. Decay and rot happens because of external exposure to the elements.

Cracked wood – Cracks are similarly common to rotting wood. Cracks can also weaken a deck, rendering it unsafe.

If you are not sure if your deck is safe for continued use, contact a licensed contractor in your area for an inspection. It is strongly recommended you not attempt repairs on your own, doing so may prove dangerous to you and your family.


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