Many owners of multi-unit residential apartment buildings and condominium home owner associations (“HOA”) are by now familiar with California’s new “Balcony Inspection Laws” (SB 721 and SB 326), which have been “on the books” for a few years now and have mandatory compliance requirements. You should definitely review the Balcony Inspection law requirements of these laws if you are not familiar with them! For those apartment building and HOA managers who have not yet began the process of inspecting their properties, here are your Top-5 reasons for beginning this process today!
Reason No. 1 – Your building likely needs to be inspected!
If you manage a condo or apartment building that has three or more apartments, as well as “Elevated Structural Elements” (“EEE”) such as balconies, decks, stairways, and walkways, then yes, you are required to inspect your building’s EEE on a periodic basis! We have put together an easy Balcony Inspection Decision Tree that you can use to see if California SB 721 and California SB 326 apply to your building!
Reason No. 2 – The safety of your residents is at stake!
As you may already know, SB 721 and SB 326 were passed by the California legislature in response to the death of six UC Berkeley students as a result of the collapse of a balcony they were standing on during a party. The legislature determined that a proper inspection of the balcony would have revealed it was in poor condition, and could have prevented those deaths! If your EEE are in poor condition, you are putting your residents at risk!
Reason No. 3 – The inspection date is fast-approaching!
All multi-unit residential apartment buildings and condominiums must be inspected by January 1, 2025. While it may seem that this inspection deadline is still months away, you must take into consideration that the Los Angeles region has many, many thousands of buildings that need to be inspected, but only a small number of inspectors to do the job! All safety inspections must be done by a licensed architect, a civil or structural engineer, or a specialty-license building contractor like Weinstein Construction Corporation, who must review the structural integrity and waterproofing of the building’s EEEs. As demand for inspections goes up, invariably, inspector availability will go down. If you wait and try to schedule an inspection close to the deadline, it will be very difficult to find an inspector to do the job when you want it!
Reason No. 4 – Delaying the inspection means higher inspection cost!
As time goes by, the availability of inspectors will only go down. Unfortunately, and sooner than you think, the rule of “Supply and Demand” will kick in, and as availability goes down, inspectors will start charging a higher price! This is because they will be struggling to cope with inspecting thousands of apartment and condo buildings, and will be pressed for time! Smart building managers will get their EEE inspected earlier, to enjoy flexibility in scheduling and a lower inspection cost! Why pay more under pressure later on? Get inspected and pay less today!
Reason No. 5 – Delaying the inspections means higher repair cost!
Under California SB 721, if an inspector finds immediate threats to the safety of the building (e.g., dry rot, rust, corrosion, cracking, etc.), these must be reported to local enforcement agency within 15 days, and building owners will then have anywhere from 15 to 120 days to undertake the repairs (although, immediate threats to life will have to be remediated on an urgent basis). Under California SB 326, emergency repairs must be done immediately, but if there are no urgent safety concerns, a repair timeline is not mandated. This also means that as more and more buildings are inspected, and more safety issues are identified for repair, LA’s limited number of specialty contractors who can undertake such repairs will come under stress, and repair costs will go up! Smart building managers will get their EEE inspected earlier, to enjoy flexibility in scheduling, as well as lower inspection costs, and lower balcony repair costs, if any repairs are needed!
The closer we get to the Balcony Inspection compliance date, the harder it will be to find inspectors, engineers, and qualified balcony repair contractors in the Greater Los Angeles area. Act now! Get your building inspected today, rather than later, and reap the benefits of more flexibility in scheduling, as well as lower inspection and remediation costs (if any are required). Call Weinstein Construction today at 866-623-5788 to schedule your free “Balcony Inspection Law” consultation – take advantage of lower prices today and get help in planning for this important and mandatory inspection program!