The statute focuses on load-bearing components, not all elevated elements
In June 2015, a terrible incident occurred when a fifth-floor balcony collapsed in a Berkely apartment building built only 7 years prior, causing tragic fatalities due to severe dry rot weakening in load-bearing components. Load-bearing means those pieces of wood whose job it is to hold human weight.
To prevent such accidents in the future, California introduced Senate Bill 721, mandating inspections of above-ground “exterior elevated elements” for multi-unit residential buildings by 2025 and every six years thereafter.
Similarly, HOAs were also bound by SB 326 in 2019, with an inspection deadline of 2025, repeating every nine years.
Please make sure your not throwing HOA money out the window. Many inspectors are not familiar with the legal requirements of the law and what falls under inspection requirements. To ensure your HOA’s inspection contract is cost-effective, consider the following:
- Verify if the statute applies to areas under HOA maintenance. If the area is not under the HOA’s responsibility, it does not fall under the requirements of this inspection.
- Remember the statute focuses on load-bearing components made of wood or wood-based products.
- “Exterior elevated elements” extend beyond building walls with a walking surface over 6 feet above ground level.
- Inspect enough locations to achieve a 95% level of confidence, avoiding unnecessary costs.
- Choose an architect or engineer just for the inspection to avoid additional work and expenses.
- Don’t wait until the last quarter of 2024 to begin the inspection process.
By adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure your HOA meets all inspection requirements without incurring unnecessary expenses. Safety and compliance are essential in preserving the well-being of all residents and preventing tragic incidents like the one in Berkely.