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Why Was Senate Bill 721 Passed?

Updated: Apr 11

After a terrible balcony fall in 2015, SB-721 was adopted. Six college students were murdered when the balcony of an apartment building in Berkley collapsed.

Experts conducting a post-collapse examination found that the balcony's load-bearing wooden structure had deteriorated and had not been effectively waterproofed, which had compromised the balcony's structural integrity.

Also, despite obvious signs of water damage, the property management had neglected upkeep, according to the inspection.

They concluded that if the property owner had just performed the required maintenance, the balcony fall may have been prevented.

The relatives of the victims were awarded a sizable payment from the apartment building's owners and the property management firm in charge of it.

A national debate over who is in charge of ensuring the structural integrity and safety of residential structures was ignited by the tragedy and the ensuing legal dispute.

In response, California lawmakers approved SB-721, one of the state's several balcony laws, which became effective on January 1, 2019.

SB-721 mandates strict regulations for property managers, landlords, and building owners, which include the following:

· Inspection of all buildings with exterior elements that are more than 6 inches above ground is mandatory every six years.

· Before January 1, 2025, all buildings with elevated elements must undergo a preliminary safety inspection, and then regular safety inspections must be conducted every six years after that.

· Safety inspections must be performed by qualified safety inspectors under the provisions of SB-721, as the law limits who can conduct them.

· During each safety evaluation, at least 15% of a building's total elevated elements must be inspected, and the inspector can choose which elevated features to examine.

· Inspection reports must be maintained for two inspection cycles or 12 years, and if requested by jurisdictional officials, the building inspector must make them available.

· Safety inspection reports must meet specific requirements, such as defining the condition of the elevated element, clarifying expectations regarding the expected service life, and making recommendations for additional inspections if needed. Inspection companies must submit a comprehensive report that meets these requirements within 45 days of the inspection.


EEEAdvisor is dedicated to assisting clients in achieving compliance with the deadlines and ensuring the security of their facilities. To achieve this, the company strives to educate clients on the applicable standards and regulations established in SB721 and SB326. EEEadvisor Engineering, based in California and co-founded by Omid Ghanadiof, provides engineering inspection services to support homeowners associations (HOAs) and landlords in complying with state regulations for balcony inspections. If you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact EEEAdvisor at (805) 312-8513 or through the email address info@EEEadvisor.com.


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