SB 721 (Hill). Contractors: decks and balconies: inspection.

Concrete-balcony-with-bad-structural-damage

Would require the inspection of any load-bearing components and associated waterproofing elements of the buildings by a licensed inspector. The bill would require the inspections and any repairs to be completed by January 1, 2022, along with subsequent inspections every 5 years.

Current Status: Pending

FindHOALaw Quick Summary:

This bill would add Business and Professions Code Section 7071.20 to require a property owner to conduct an inspection of decks, balconies, and elevated walkways more than six feet above ground level in a building containing three or more multifamily units by a licensed general contractor, structural pest control licensee, licensed architect, licensed engineer, a certified construction inspector, or building officialor other licensee as approved by the Department of Consumer Affairs. The purpose of the inspection is to verify that all of the balconies and other elevated walking surfaces are in generally safe condition, adequate working order, and free from any hazardous dry rot, fungus, deterioration, decay, or improper alteration to the extent that the life, limb, health, property, safety, or welfare of the public or the occupants is not endangered.  The bill would require the inspections and any necessary repairs to be completed by January 1, 2021, and would require subsequent inspections every 5 years.

The bill would require a copy of the initial inspection report that states the condition of the building features and recommendations for repair, along with the final report indicating that all of the required repairs have been completed, to be filed with the county recorder. 

Building elements, including the walking surface, structural frame and connector hardware, weatherproofing, landings, stairway systems, guardrails, handrails, and any other elements critical to the safety of the balcony or elevated walking surface, found to be in need of repair or replacement, hazardous, structurally deficient, or noncompliant shall, upon determination by the licensed professional, be immediately corrected by the property owner or individual person or company responsible for management or operation of the building.  The property owner must apply for any permits within 60 days of receipt of the inspection report, and the repairs must be completed within 90 days of obtaining the permits. The continued and ongoing maintenance of balconies and elevated walking surfaces and parts thereof, in a safe, and sanitary condition, shall be the responsibility of the property owner or the owner’s designated agent.

The repairs made under these provisions would be required to comply with the latest edition of the California Building Standards Code and all local jurisdictional requirements. The bill would authorize local enforcing agencies to recover enforcement costs associated with these requirements.

Multifamily buildings of three units or more for which a building permit application has been submitted on or after February 1, 2017, are exempt from the inspection certification requirements for a period of five years following issuance of a certificate of occupancy from the local jurisdiction.  

**UPDATE: On April 27, 2017, the proposed text of SB 721 was amended to revert back to its original language, including the monetary penalty for failure to comply:
(g) (1) If a property owner or an owner’s designated agent does not comply with the inspection or repair requirements after 60 days, the enforcement agency shall send a 30-day corrective notice by certified mail to the owner or owner’s designated agent. If within 30 days of the date of the notice the inspection is not completed, the owner of the multifamily building shall be assessed a daily civil penalty of one hundred dollars ($100) per day, which shall constitute a lien against the property, until the inspection is complete.
(2) If a corrective notice is sent under this subdivision, the property owner or the owner’s designated agent shall have 60 days from the completion of the inspection to complete the repairs, unless an extension of time is granted by the local enforcement agency. If the repairs are not completed within the designated time, the property owner shall be assessed a civil penalty of one hundred dollars ($100) per day, which shall constitute a lien against the property, until the repairs are completed.
**UPDATE: On May 15, 2017, the proposed text of SB 721 was amended to add Civil Code Section 4776 requiring the board of directors of a common interest development to conduct an inspection of the of the load-bearing components and associated waterproofing elements of the building assemblies at least once every 6 years and to incorporate the results into the reserve study:
This bill would require the board of directors of a common interest development, at least once every 6 years, to have an inspection conducted by a licensed architect, licensed civil or structural engineer, or an individual certified as a building inspector or building official, as specified, of the of building assemblies, as defined, that the association is obligated to repair, replace, restore, or maintain. The bill would require the inspections, including any necessary testing, to be completed by January 1, 2023, with certain exceptions, and would require subsequent inspections every 6 years. The bill would require the inspection reports to contain specified items. The bill would require that the results of the report be used in calculating the reserve study for the development, as specified. The bill would require the inspection report to be presented to the association within 45 days of the completion of the inspection and would require copies of the reports to be permanently maintained in the association’s records. The bill would require that if the inspection reveals conditions that pose an immediate hazard to the safety of the occupants, the inspection report be delivered to the association within 15 days and emergency repairs be undertaken, as specified, with notice given to the local enforcement agency. Nonemergency repairs made under these provisions would be required to be completed within 180 days, unless an extension is granted by the local authorities. The bill would, with regard to a condominium conversion, require an inspection be completed prior to the close of escrow on the first separate interest and would require the disclosure of the results of these inspections to the Bureau of Real Estate prior to the issuance of a final public report. A copy of the report would also be required to be sent to the local jurisdiction in which the property is located prior to the issuing of a final inspection or certificate of occupancy. The bill would authorize a local enforcement agency to recover its costs associated with enforcing these provisions. The bill would authorize a local governing entity to enact stricter requirements than those imposed by these provisions. The bill would provide that its provisions do not apply to those areas constituting an individual owner’s separate interest or to a planned development, as defined.
To read the current text of SB 721, click here to the view the bill’s page on the California Legislature’s website. FindHOALaw will continue to track SB 721 as it progresses through the Legislature. 
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