if you own or manage a multi-family building in California, it's important to be aware of Senate Bill 326 (SB 326). This bill requires regular inspections of certain types of balconies and elevated structures to prevent accidents and ensure the safety of residents and guests. In this blog post, we'll explore the procedure for SB 326 and what you need to know to stay in compliance with the law.
What is Senate Bill 326?
SB 326 was signed into law in 2019, in response to a series of balcony collapses in California that caused injuries and fatalities. The bill requires that all elevated walking surfaces, including balconies, decks, and walkways, in multi-family buildings with three or more units be inspected by a licensed professional.
What is the procedure for SB 326?
The procedure for SB 326 is straightforward and can be broken down into a few key steps:
Step 1: Identify the buildings that are subject to the law
The law applies to all multi-family buildings in California with three or more units that have elevated walking surfaces. This includes balconies, decks, and walkways.
Step 2: Hire a licensed professional to conduct the inspection
The inspection must be conducted by a licensed contractor, architect, or engineer with experience and knowledge in evaluating the structural integrity of elevated walking surfaces. They must also have a thorough understanding of building codes and standards.
Step 3: Conduct the inspection
During the inspection, the licensed professional will evaluate the structural integrity of the elevated walking surfaces, including the balconies, decks, and walkways. They will look for signs of wear and tear, water damage, and other potential hazards. They may also perform a load test to test the strength and stability of the structure.
Step 4: Make necessary repairs
If any deficiencies are found during the inspection, the licensed professional will provide a report detailing the necessary repairs. It's important to hire a licensed contractor to complete the repairs, and to ensure that they are completed promptly and correctly.
Step 5: File a report with the local building department
After the inspection and repairs have been completed, the licensed professional must file a report with the local building department. The report must include the inspection findings, any necessary repairs, and confirmation that the repairs have been completed.
It's important to note that inspections must be conducted at least once every nine years, and that the first inspection must be completed by January 1, 2025.
In conclusion, if you own or manage a multi-family building in California, it's important to be aware of the procedure for SB 326. Hire a licensed professional to conduct regular inspections of your balconies and elevated walking surfaces, make necessary repairs promptly, and file a report with the local building department to ensure compliance with the law. By doing so, you can help prevent accidents and ensure the safety of your residents and guests.
Omid Ghanadiof is a co-founder of EEEadvisor Engineering, a specialized engineering inspection firm active located in Southern California. EEEadvisor Engineering assists rental property owners and homeowners associations (HOAs) with compliance with state mandated balcony inspections per Senate Bills 721 and 326. For more information, contact Mr. Ghanadiof at (805) 312-8513 or info@EEEadvisor.com.