Top Questions You Must Answer for a Successful Balcony Inspection

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1. What happens if I don't do my inspection before January 1, 2025?

Direct Penalties are not given out from the city because remember, unlike the soft-story where the city had a list of buildings that they deemed "soft", the city in this Balcony Bill does not have a list to send out their penalties or notices. This is a State Senate Bill.

  1. Fines and Penalties:
    • SB 721: The local enforcement agency can impose fines for non-compliance.
    • SB 326: Similar to SB 721, the HOA may face fines or penalties from the local jurisdiction.
  2. Legal Liability:
    • Both laws aim to ensure safety. Failure to comply can increase legal liability in case of accidents or injuries resulting from defective or unsafe EEEs.
  3. Insurance Issues:
    • Non-compliance could affect insurance coverage, potentially leading to higher premiums or denial of claims related to EEEs.
  4. Property Value Impact:
    • For both SB 721 and SB 326, non-compliance can negatively impact property values and complicate property sales or refinances.
  5. Enforcement Actions:
    • Local authorities might issue notices to comply, which can escalate to more serious enforcement actions if ignored.
  6. Safety Risks:
    • Uninspected EEEs pose safety risks, potentially leading to structural failures that endanger residents and visitors.

Failing to comply with SB326 and SB721 can result in financial penalties, legal liabilities, increased insurance costs, operational disruptions, and reputational harm. It is crucial for building owners to adhere to these regulations to ensure safety, avoid penalties, and maintain the integrity and value of their properties.

2. If my property needs repairs, how much time do we have to get the repairs done?

Under SB 721 and SB 326, specific timelines exist for completing repairs after balcony inspections reveal deficiencies:

SB 721:

  • Immediate Danger: Notify local enforcement and property owner within 15 days; complete repairs within 120 days (extensions up to an additional 120 days allowed).
  • Non-Critical: Prompt repairs recommended, but no specific timeframe.

SB 326:

  • Immediate Danger: Report to HOA board immediately; complete repairs within 180 days (extensions must be justified and approved).
  • Non-Critical: Include repair plan in the next budget review and address issues promptly.

In both cases, timely repairs ensure safety and compliance. Consult a licensed inspector or legal professional for detailed advice.

3. Will the repairs affect our accessibility to the property?

Under SB 721 and SB 326, repairs following balcony inspections can impact property accessibility as follows:

SB 721:

  • Immediate Danger: Access to unsafe areas may be restricted until repairs are completed promptly for safety.
  • Non-Critical Repairs: No set time frame, but repairs should be done promptly, potentially requiring temporary access restrictions.

SB 326:

  • Immediate Danger: Unsafe areas must be secured until repairs finish within 180 days.
  • Non-Critical Repairs: Should be promptly addressed without immediate access restrictions unless safety concerns arise.

Consult licensed professionals and follow guidance from local agencies or HOAs for managing accessibility during repairs effectively.

4. Do I need to get 2 Inspections if there are repairs needed?

Under SB 721 and SB 326, a second inspection after repairs depends on specific circumstances:

SB 721:

  • Post-Repair Inspection: Not explicitly required but commonly done to ensure repairs are properly completed and safe. Local agencies may mandate it.

SB 326:

  • Post-Repair Inspection: Not explicitly required but may be requested by the HOA to confirm repairs meet safety standards.

General Practice:

  • Verification of Repairs: A second inspection, while not always required, ensures repairs are correctly done and the property is safe.
  • Local Requirements: Check with local agencies or HOAs for follow-up inspection requirements.

Consult the initial inspector or local authorities to determine if a follow-up inspection is necessary.

5. What is the process of the repairs in terms of construction?

SB 721 and SB 326 Repair Process:

  1. Inspection Report: A licensed professional conducts the initial inspection and provides a detailed report identifying deficiencies in the exterior elevated elements (EEEs).
  2. Immediate Action: Restrict access to unsafe areas immediately if hazards are found.
  3. Planning Repairs: Develop a repair plan based on the inspection report, detailing scope, materials, and timelines.
  4. Hiring Contractors: Hire licensed contractors familiar with SB 721 and SB 326 requirements.
  5. Permit Acquisition: Obtain necessary permits from local building departments.
  6. Repair Work: Contractors perform repairs according to the approved plan, including structural reinforcements and replacements.
  7. Quality Control: Conduct regular inspections and quality checks during repairs.
  8. Post-Repair Inspection (if applicable): A follow-up inspection may be conducted to verify all deficiencies have been addressed.
  9. Documentation and Compliance: Maintain documentation of all repair work, including reports, plans, permits, and invoices.
  10. Final Approval: Obtain final approval from local authorities or the HOA, confirming repairs meet safety standards.

Key Points:

  • Communication: Maintain open communication with all stakeholders.
  • Safety: Prioritize safety throughout the repair process.
  • Compliance: Adhere to all regulations and guidelines to ensure long-term safety and compliance.

Following these steps helps property owners and HOAs address deficiencies and comply with SB 721 and SB 326 requirements.

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