Wednesday, October 3, 2018

California Signs New Balcony Inspection Law

A new California law requires certain apartment buildings
to have balconies and other load bearing structures inspected
once every six years.

Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into action SB 721- a law that requires owners of multi-family apartment buildings with three or more units to inspect their decks, balconies, stairs, porches, and other load bearing structures at least once every six years. The law comes shortly after the Berkeley balcony collapse in 2015, where six UC Berkeley students were killed and seven more were injured when an apartment balcony collapsed.

Property owners have until January 1, 2025 to complete their first inspection. The law applies to both the structures as well as waterproofing element such as coatings and sealants which can affect the integrity of load-bearing structures. The inspections must be performed by a licensed architect; a licensed civil or structural engineer; a building contractor holding any or all of the "A", "B" or "C-5" license classifications; or by a certified building inspector or building official as determined by the local jurisdiction.

SB 721 is one of several attempts from California to increase building code safety after the Berkeley balcony collapse. After it was found that dry rot and poor construction contributed to the failure of the balcony, California advocates have called for more stringent building standards and safety inspection laws. Prior this law, the city of Berkeley also adopted amendments to housing codes that required inspections of weather-exposed structures every three years.

Industry experts are expecting that the demand for licensed building inspectors will go up in California. One factor is California's expansive housing stock - The Golden State is home to three of the largest metro areas in the U.S. Another factor is the increased liability for these types of inspection jobs; because these structures will only be tested every six years, inspectors must be extremely accurate when they perform tests.

Overall, if you're a building contractor or inspector in California, now is the time to consider continuing education so you can take advantage of this new legislation.

For more information about SB 721, visit the California legislative website. For more information about contractor licensing and renewal in California, visit Zack Academy.

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