SB 326 and SB 721


Other Exterior Elements Also Covered by New California Law

Inspections of balconies and “exterior elevated elements” on multifamily buildings are now required by California law.

Applies to condominium associations. The first inspection is required by January 1, 2025, and then every nine years after.

Applies to landlords of buildings with three or more multi-family dwelling units. The first inspection is required by January 1, 2025, and then every six years after.

HOAs, apartment owners, and property managers needing assistance in complying with the new law’s requirements can call on Advance Flooring Products‘ 20 years of structural engineering design and construction experience to get the job done.

Investigation of a residential balcony collapse that killed six people in Berkeley showed the balcony’s wood framing was weakened by dry rot from rain leaking through the seal of the main building causing the critical load-bearing support to fail. The new law requires inspection of exterior elevated elements and associated waterproofing elements, including decks and balconies, porches, stairways and entry structures with walkways over six feet off the ground for buildings with three or more multifamily dwelling units.


SB 326 requires associations to conduct visual inspections of exterior elevated elements and load-bearing components six feet above ground, including: balconies, decks, patios, and elevated walkways. It’s required that a Licensed Structural Engineer or Architect generate a report summarizing the findings, which should then be included in the association’s reserve study.

Inspections are required regularly, and the bill outlines different timelines for existing associations and newly built condo buildings.

For existing HOAs, the first inspection of Exterior Elevated Elements must be completed by January 1, 2025. Subsequent inspections need to be completed once every nine years.
For new condo associations, any new building that had a building permit application submitted after January 1, 2020, the first inspection deadline for newly constructed condos is within six years of getting issued a Certificate of Occupancy. Subsequent inspections must occur once every 9 years.

  • The inspector must be either a licensed structural engineer or architect.
  • The bill requires inspecting a “random and statistically significant sample” of EEEs (95% confidence, error margin ± 5%).
  • The bill defines the inspection process explicitly, including defining the term “visual inspection” and permits the inspector to use professional judgment to conduct further inspections.
  • The written report must be stamped by the inspector.

Advance Flooring Products services provided in accordance with SB 326 requirements shall include:

  • Generate number and location for inspection of the exterior elevated element
  • Coordinate inspection schedule with the Association.
  • Inspect required elements
  • Stamp and sign inspection report in accordance with SB 326.
  • Determine the necessity of further inspections.
  • Develop repair recommendations.
  • Inspect completion of any immediate or routine repairs identified in the report.

Advance Flooring Products can perform any required post-inspection repairs, if necessary, to address health and safety issues in building elements. Advance Flooring Products can address any general repairs and/or maintenance at the Association. Ongoing maintenance and repairs are beneficial to prevent future unexpected and costly time-sensitive repairs.

SB 721

  • SB-721 aims to add a new level of public safety to decks, balconies and other external, elevated structural elements in multi-family residential units.
  • ​SB-721 Requirements
  • ​Buildings with exterior elements and associated waterproofing elements, as defined, for buildings with 3 or more multi-family dwelling units.
  • All safety inspections must be completed by safety inspectors who qualify to conduct evaluations under the provisions of SB-721.
    • Licensed Architect
    • Licensed Civil or Structural Engineer
    • Building contractor holding specified licenses
    • Certified building inspector or building official, as specified.
  • Inspections, including any necessary testing, must be completed by January 1, 2025, with certain exceptions, and would require subsequent inspections every 6 years, except as specified.
  • Copy of the inspection report must be presented to the owner of the building within 45 days of the inspection completion and requires copies of the reports to be maintained in the building owner’s records for 2 inspection cycles, as specified.
  • If inspection reveals conditions pose an immediate hazard to the safety of the occupants, the inspection report be delivered to the owner of the building within 15 days and emergency repairs be undertaken, as specified, with notice given to the local enforcement agency.
  • Non-emergency repairs made under these provisions are required to be completed within 120 days, unless an extension is granted by the local authorities.

Advance Flooring Products’ services provided in accordance with SB 721 requirements shall include:

  • Define the condition of the Exterior Elevated Elements
  • Clarify expectations regarding the expected service life of the elevated element
  • Make recommendations for additional inspections if needed.
  • Deliver a comprehensive report that satisfies these requirements within 45 days of the inspection.
Railcraft Aluminum Decks - California Compliant

Railcraft® Aluminum Decks are California Compliant