Along with all the rules and regulations that already apply to apartment building owners in California, there is now one more: SB 721, also known as the Apartment Balcony Bill or the Balcony Inspection Bill.
This bill was signed into law in 2018, but apartment building owners and managers haven’t had to do anything up until now. The bill states that by the end of 2023, all “exterior elevated elements” on apartment buildings in California with three or more units need to be inspected by a qualified inspector, such as an architect, a structural engineer, or a general contractor. An exterior elevated element refers to structures that extend beyond the exterior walls of the building, are supported at least partially by wood, are elevated more than six feet above the ground, and have a walking surface.
The bill was enacted in response to an accident that left six dead and seven injured when an apartment balcony collapsed in downtown Berkeley. Water had damaged the structural elements of the balcony, which caused it to fail. To help keep accidents like this from happening again, the California legislature passed SB 721.
Since this is a new regulation, many apartment building owners and managers are unsure of how to ensure they are in compliance with SB 721. The requirements are fairly straightforward, but it does require bringing in a professional to complete the inspections and the required follow-up report.
Fortunately for apartment managers and owners in Orange County and Los Angeles, there are people who can help. One such company is DTS, a business that is dedicated to small business compliance issues. They have added balcony inspections in Orange County and Los Angeles to their list of services. DTS has fully researched SB 721 and is well versed in all that is required of California apartment building owners to be in compliance with the new bill. They have put together a team, made up of experienced architects, engineers, and contractors, who can complete the inspections prior to the deadline and produce thorough reports that will be accepted by local governing authorities.
Jim Diaz, Founder of DTS, says, “It’s important that apartment building owners not wait until the last minute to inquire about having their balconies inspected. We anticipate that there will be a huge demand for qualified balcony inspectors at the end of 2023. There’s no need to wait until then. Building owners can have their balconies inspected now and avoid the stress of trying to find someone at the end of next year, when every other apartment building owner is looking for an inspector at the same time.”
If it is discovered during the inspection that any repairs are needed to an apartment building’s decks, balconies, exterior stairs, or elevated walkways, they need to be completed in a timely manner. Again, if you wait until the last minute to start the process of complying with SB 721, it may be difficult to find a qualified contractor to complete the repairs in the time frame allowed. This will likely cause an apartment building owner to incur substantial fees from local authorities.
To learn more about what SB 721 requires of apartment building owners or to connect with DTS about having your apartment building’s exterior elevated elements inspected by professionals in Orange County or Los Angeles, visit the DTS website: https://dtspacific.com/135/balcony-inspections-sb-721/