Virtually all residential and commercial apartment buildings in the City of Los Angeles have balconies and other “Exterior Elevated Elements” (also called “EEE”) that can pose a safety risk if they are not properly maintained.  In recent years, the high-profile collapse of poor-condition EEEs, especially a balcony that resulted in multiple injuries and deaths of students during a birthday party, have paid out multi-million dollar settlements against property owners and contractors.  Moreover, two new mandatory Balcony Inspection laws passed by the California legislature, SB 721 and SB 326, now require property owners to inspect their building’s EEE by the deadline of January 1, 2025, and thereafter on a periodic basis.

Ensure that your property’s balconies and other EEEs meet code

Property owners must follow strictly the new Balcony Inspection Laws, specifically Senate Bills 721 and 326, including their mandatory inspection and maintenance requirements, all aimed at ensuring that balconies and other EEE are safe and sound.  In so doing, there are a number of key EEE attributes that property owners should review to ensure that balconies and EEE are safe and sound for all who live and visit the property.

1. Ensure that balconies and other EEE are properly designed and constructed

The design of balconies and other EEE must follow local and state building codes and regulations to ensure that they are safe and sound.  Such building codes mandate, for example, how the balcony is flashed and sealed to prevent water intrusion (which can deteriorate building materials over time), the balcony’s minimum “live load capacity” (i.e., the weight it can bear), as well as how the EEE should be attached to the building, so that it can resist its own weight.

2. Ensure that balconies and other EEE are constructed of quality materials

The materials that make up balconies and other EEE have a significant impact on their safety.  Property owners must take care to ensure that their property’s EEE are made of high-quality materials that are specifically suitable for the property’s location and condition (for example, balconies on buildings that face the ocean, must be constructed of materials that are not susceptible to corrosion from saltwater exposure).

3. Ensure that balconies and other EEE are property maintained

Property owners must put together an appropriate schedule that provides for regular, periodic maintenance for balconies and other EEE.  Such a schedule must strictly follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and sealing all EEE surfaces, not just to maintain the warranty on these building materials, but also to ensure that the EEE are functioning properly.

4. Ensure that balconies and other EEE are property used

Property owners must ensure, with the help of property managers, that balconies and other EEE are used properly and in a way that promotes safety.  This means that vulnerable balconies must not be overloaded with heavy planters and furniture, and that balconies that are weighed down should have that weight evenly distributed throughout.  Importantly, each EEE’s maximum weight capacity must be strictly observed, and the building’s maintenance crews should keep a vigilant eye for any sign of potential damage (e.g., rusting, cracking, staining, or discoloration of any building materials).

5. Ensure that regular inspections are undertaken

Property owners must understand that balcony and EEE inspections are not just a legal requirement that they must now follow, but rather it is their first line of defense against accidents and liability.  Property owners should, as a matter of course, ensure that their balconies and other EEE are inspected as per the new legal requirements, and that such inspections are made by qualified and experienced balcony inspectors such as the ones at Weinstein Construction.

Property owners now qualify for free “Balcony Law” consultations!

As property owners approach the inspection deadline of January 1, 2025, they should keep in mind that there are only a limited number of Los Angeles inspectors, engineers, and qualified contractors who will be able to inspect and repair the thousands of apartment and condo buildings in the City!  This means inspection fees and construction costs will gradually increase, the closer we get to the inspection deadline!

Property owners should have their buildings inspected earlier, which will allow them to benefit from more flexibility in scheduling an inspection, as well as lower costs for inspection and remediation, if such is required.  Call Weinstein Construction today at (866) 623-5788 to schedule a free “Balcony Law” consultation – take advantage of lower prices today and get help in planning for the balcony repairs scope of work of this new, important, and mandatory inspection program!