CALIFORNIA'S BALCONY & DECK INSPECTION LAWS

Senate Bill No. 326


California Senate Bill No. 326 (SB-326), was approved on August 30, 2019.  This law was in response
to the Berkeley balcony collapse in 2015. During the collapse thirteen people were severely injured or killed.
This law requires that all associations of a condominium project with buildings, containing three (3) or more
multi-family dwelling units, have the Exterior Elevated Elements (EEEs) inspected by a Licensed Architect or Structural Engineer by January 1st, 2025, then at least once every nine years thereafter to determine whether the
EEE's are in a generally safe condition and performing in accordance with applicable standards.


CONTACT US HERE TO RECEIVE AN SB-326 INSPECTION ESTIMATE

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Exterior Elevated Elements (EEEs)?


Exterior Elevated Elements are defined as the load bearing components and associated waterproofing systems. Load bearing components are defined as components that extend beyond the exterior walls of the building to deliver structural loads to the building from decks, balconies, stairways and their railings, that have walking surface elevated more than six feet above ground level, that are designed for human occupancy or use, and that are supported in whole or in substantial part by wood or wood based products. Associated waterproofing systems include flashings, membranes, coatings and sealants that protect the load bearing components of exterior elevated elements from exposure to water.




What are the requirements of SB 326?


Prior to conducting the first visual inspection, the inspector is required to generate a random list of the locations of each type of exterior elevated element. The list shall include all exterior elevated elements for which the association has maintenance or repair responsibility. The list shall be provided to the association for future use. Upon completion of the visual inspections, the architect or structural engineer shall prepare a written report including, identification of building components, current physical condition of the building components and whether condition presents an immediate threat to the health and safety of the residents, the expected future performance and remaining useful life of the building components, and recommendations for necessary repairs. The report shall be stamped and signed by the licensed architect or structural engineer. The bill requires the architect or structural engineer to provide a copy of the inspection report to the association upon completion. If any exterior elevated element poses an immediate threat to the safety of the occupants, the architect or structural engineer is required to provide a copy of the report to the local code enforcement agency within 15 days of completion of the report. In this event, the association is required to take preventative measures immediately including preventing occupant access to the exterior elevated element until repairs have been inspected and approved by the local code enforcement agency. When the report is completed it gets incorporated into the HOA's reserve study. The association needs to keep records of these inspections for at least 2 cycles.




When do inspections need to be completed by?


Inspections must be completed by the end of 2024 and then every 9 years thereafter. Buildings that are permitted after January 1, 2020 need to have their first inspection within 6 years after certificate of occupancy.




Who is required to complete the inspections?


The board of an association of a condominium project shall cause a reasonably competent and diligent visual inspection to be conducted by a Licensed Structural Engineer or Architect of a random and statistically significant sample of exterior elevated elements for which the association has maintenance or repair responsibility.




What needs to be inspected?


Components that extend beyond the exterior walls of the building to deliver structural loads to the building from decks, balconies, stairways, walkways, and their railings, that have a walking surface elevated more than six feet above ground level, that are designed for human occupancy or use, and that are supported in whole or in substantial part by wood or wood-based products.




Will Destructive Testing be necessary?


If during the visual inspection the inspector observes building conditions indicating that unintended water or water vapor has passed into the associated waterproofing system, thereby creating the potential for damage to the load-bearing components, then the inspector may conduct a further inspection. The inspector shall exercise their best professional judgment in determining the necessity, scope, and breadth of any further inspection.




Whats included in the report?


The bill requires the inspector to provide a copy of the inspection report to the association immediately upon completion of the report. The written report shall contain the following information:

1) Identification of the building components,
2) Physical condition of building components,
3) Expected useful life of building components,
4) Repair recommendations, and
5) Stamp/signature of the inspector.




What if the Inspector observes life-saftey concerns?


The bill would require the inspector to provide a copy of the inspection report to the local code enforcement agency within 15 days of completion of the report.

The association shall take preventive measures immediately, including preventing occupant access to the exterior elevated element until repairs have been inspected and approved by the local enforcement agency.