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 Civil Code Section 4776 to require a homeowners association to conduct an inspection of the load-bearing components and associated waterproofing elements of the building assemblies that it is obligated to repair, replace, restore, or maintain.  The inspection, of decks, balconies, and elevated walkways more than six feet above ground level in a building containing three or more multifamily units including any necessary destructive testing, shall be completed by a licensed general contractor, structural pest control licensee, licensed architect, licensed civil or structural engineer, a certified construction inspector, or building official, or 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 building assemblies are in generally safe condition, adequate working order, and free from any hazardous condition caused by 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, 2022, and would require subsequent inspections every 5 years.

“Associated waterproofing elements” include flashings, membranes, coatings, and sealants that protect load-bearing components from exposure to water and the elements. “Building assembly” includes elevated exterior balconies, decks, porches, stairways, walkways, entry structures, and their supports and railings, carports, or other exterior structures designed for human occupancy or use and that rely in whole or in part on wood or wood-based products for structural support or stability. “Load-bearing components” are those components that deliver structural loads from the building, its contents, and its occupants to the foundation. Load-bearing components include decking, subfloors, beams, joists, girders, posts, columns, bearing walls, foundation elements, fasteners, brackets, and rods.
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. the inspection report to be presented to the association within 45 days of completion of the inspection and would require a copy of the report to be maintained in the association’s records.  The bill would require that the results of the report be used in calculating the reserve study required by Section 5550. 

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.  If the inspection reveals conditions that pose an immediate hazard to the safety of the occupants, the inspection report shall be delivered to the association within 15 days and emergency repairs, as defined by Civil Code 5610, must be undertaken with notice given to the local enforcement agency.  If the building requires nonemergency repairs, the association 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, building assemblies that include load-bearing components and associated waterproofing elements, in a safe, functional, and sanitary condition, shall be the responsibility of the owner or the owner’s designated agent association as required by the association’s governing documents.

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 Buildings 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.  

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. This section shall not apply to an individual owner’s “separate interest,” as defined by Section 4185, in a “planned development” as defined by Section 4175.

 

**UPDATE: On April 17, 2017, the proposed text of SB 721 was amended to add Section 4776 to the Civil Code to require homeowners associations to conduct the inspection of the load-bearing components and associated waterproofing elements of the buildings that the association is obligated to repair, replace, restore or maintain:
4776.  (a) At least once every five years, the board of directors of a common interest development shall cause to be conducted a reasonably competent and diligent inspection by an inspector who is a licensed architect, licensed civil engineer, certified construction inspector, licensed structural engineer, building official, as described in Section 18949.27 of the Health and Safety Code, or other licensee specifically approved by the Department of Consumer Affairs as qualified to perform the inspection required by this section, of the load-bearing components and associated waterproofing elements of building assemblies that the association is obligated to repair, replace, restore, or maintain. The purpose of the inspection is to verify that all building assemblies, which include load-bearing components and their associated waterproofing elements, are in a generally safe condition, adequate working order, and free from any hazardous condition caused by 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.
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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