On June 16, 2015, six people (mostly students) died celebrating a 21st birthday party in Berkeley, California when the fifth story balcony they were standing on collapsed. Overwhelming evidence points to the building not being constructed properly, leading to dry rot, which structurally compromised the balcony - causing a collapse.
This led to California Governor Brown signing SB721 and SB326 in response to the 2015 balcony collapse. Despite the fact that some local governments already have local inspection programs in place, this
California law mandates the inspection of particular balconies everywhere. The main difference between the laws is that SB721 applies to apartment owners, and SB326 applies to condominium owners.
In 2018, Senate Bill 721—now defined as Section 17973 of the California Health and Safety Code—was approved and is applicable to buildings with three or more linked units.
Senate Bill 326, now defined as Section
5551 of the California Civil Code, is a 2019 law that affects community associations and condominiums with three or more linked units. Both laws require that the wood frame elements supporting balconies, decks, lifted walkways, and landings be inspected.
Since they were put into effect, SB721 and SB326 demand compliance from all owners of apartment and condominium buildings. Due to the huge increase in demand for inspections, there are far fewer trained contractors as well as inspectors available. As a result, the longer owners wait to take action before the 2025 deadline, and then every 9 years after that the higher the cost of compliance may become.
Repair Classifications For SB721 and SB326
An immediate threat is when the elevated exterior element that the inspector determines to be blocking occupant access, posing an immediate threat to occupant safety, or requiring emergency repairs, including shoring, or both, shall be deemed an emergency condition, and the building owner shall take the necessary preventive measures right away. Repairs for emergency conditions must adhere to the law's standards, be examined by the inspector, and be submitted to the area's enforcement agency.
When there is no immediate threat, the building owner must apply for a permit within 120 days of receiving the inspection
report if corrective work needs to be done on an elevated outside element but, in the inspector's judgment, does not immediately endanger the safety of the occupants. Once the permit is approved, the owner now has 120 days to make the necessary repairs, and if after 180 days they do not meet the requirements, a daily fee will be incurred.
How SKS Can Help Building Owners With SB721 and SB326
SKS Construction provides a comprehensive range of services to aid in the repair of the damaged exterior elevated elements. By using non destructive measures of inspection, SKS construction will be able to analyze most of the structural integrity of the existing building. Where needed, some areas that will be exposed for further inspection will be covered and accessible for future inspections. If initial inspections reveal issues that compromise the structural integrity of the building, SKS Construction can offer an extent
of work, design support, and permitting aid at the building owner's request for the repair of the damaged components.
A full-service design/build, engineering, and construction firm, SKS Construction was established in Los Angeles, California, in 1987. SKS
Construction is recognized as a leader in engineering and construction of New Construction, Seismic Retrofitting and Balcony Repairs. The SKS team is composed of in-house designers, licensed contractors, and experienced engineers around the clock to attend to your every engineering and construction need.
Serving The Greater Los Angeles Area