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SB-721 & SB-326 Compliance in 4 Steps for California Property Managers


Table of Contents

What Do These Laws Mandate?

Your Compliance Timeline in 4 Steps

Your Compliance Timeline in 4 Steps #2

A Note on Changing Deadlines

Need Help Navigating Balcony Inspection?

If you manage properties in California, these letter-number combos likely keep you up at night.  SB-721 and SB-326 are all about balcony safety, and those inspection deadlines can feel overwhelming.  Let’s break it down into a timeline you can actually use, with less stress!

What Do These Laws Mandate?

Here’s a deeper dive into what SB-721 and SB-326 specifically require:

  • Who Needs Inspections: Buildings with three or more multi-family dwelling units, constructed with wood-frame construction, and containing elevated exterior elements (balconies, decks, walkways, etc.) built on or after January 1st, 2019.
  • What Gets Inspected: The laws are focused not just on the balcony’s surface, but also on the critical supporting components:
    • Load-bearing components: Beams, joists, fasteners – anything holding the balcony up!
    • Waterproofing elements: Flashing, sealants, etc., are checked for failures that could lead to rot or corrosion.
    • Associated railings, stairs, and any other built-in features of the elevated structure.
  • Who Can Inspect: This is crucial! It must be a licensed professional – architect, structural engineer, general contractor with relevant experience, or a certified building inspector. A regular handyman won’t cut it!
  • The Nitty-Gritty Report: Inspectors don’t just submit a “pass/fail” form. They provide a detailed written report, often with photos, that outlines:
    • Any immediate safety hazards requiring the balcony to be taken out of service.
    • Issues needing repair within a set timeframe (often 120 days for serious problems).
    • Potential areas of concern to keep an eye on for future deterioration.

Contact DrBalcony for a professional inspection!

Ensure the safety of your balcony and living space with DrBalcony - We're a Tech Engineering firm that specializes in California SB326 & SB721 balcony inspections.  Over 300+ completed projects in California.

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Your Compliance Timeline in 4 Steps

Step 1: Gather Essential Information

  • Building Age: Was it built before or after January 1st, 2019? This is often the key determining factor in initial deadlines.
  • Number of Units: Do your properties meet the 3+ unit requirement?
  • Existing Documentation: Are there ANY previous balcony inspection records, even if outdated? These help establish your new inspection schedule.

Step 2: Be Proactive, Not Reactive

  • Don’t wait until the last minute: Schedule inspections well ahead of deadlines. This is especially important if your building is older or you suspect potential issues.
  • Cost Factor: Early inspections often catch smaller problems, which translates to less expensive repairs in the long run.
  • Gradual Approach: Can you spread inspections across multiple properties over a period of time? This can ease the budget impact.
SB-721 & SB-326 Compliance: A Timeline for California Property Managers

Step 3: Vet Your Inspection Company Thoroughly

  • Licensed and Experienced: Are they licensed specifically for balcony work, and do they have a proven track record in California?
  • Beyond the Report: Do they offer repair services or help you source qualified contractors? This streamlines the process if issues are found.
  • Your Advisor: Can they explain the nuances of the laws and how they apply to your specific buildings?

Step 4: Post-Inspection Action Plan

  • Prioritize Repairs: Required repairs usually have their own deadlines based on severity. Don’t ignore these, as it undermines compliance.
  • Budgeting: Are there non-emergency repairs that can be planned for a future budget year? Discuss this with your inspector.
  • Recurring Schedule: Consider setting up inspections on a cycle (every 5 years, etc.) based on your building’s age to stay consistently compliant.

A Note on Changing Deadlines

Remember those times you finally figured out a complex tax form, only to have it completely change the next year? Balcony regulations have that same frustrating potential. California lawmakers could adjust inspection timelines, what’s considered a reportable issue, or other details at any time.

So, how do you avoid getting caught off guard? Here’s your survival toolkit:

  1. Choose an inspection company committed to staying on top of regulatory updates. A good one will alert you to important changes proactively.
  2. Property management associations are a lifeline for these things. They often send out newsletters or alerts when laws affecting your properties shift.
  3. Even if you’ve been through an inspection cycle before, don’t assume the next one will be exactly the same. A quick check-in with your inspector or association can save headaches later.

Contact DrBalcony for a professional inspection!

Ensure the safety of your balcony and living space with DrBalcony - We're a Tech Engineering firm that specializes in California SB326 & SB721 balcony inspections.  Over 300+ completed projects in California.

Request A Free EstimateClick To Call

Need Help Navigating Balcony Inspection?

Confused about the specifics for your properties? Need a reliable inspection team? The DrBalcony experts are here to help!

FAQ Section: Top Questions & Answers

My building is older, but the balconies were replaced a few years ago. Do I need a full inspection?

YES! Unless the balconies are entirely new construction built after the law’s effective date, an inspection is likely needed. It’s about the underlying support structures, not just the visible balcony surface.

Can my regular maintenance contractor do the balcony inspections?

Probably not. Unless they hold one of the specific licenses required by California law (architect, engineer, etc.), their inspection won’t be considered valid for compliance.

I manage a small property (4 units). Are these laws really relevant to me?

Check carefully! The laws focus on buildings with 3 or more units. If you’re borderline, it’s always better to consult with an expert or check official CA government resources for the latest interpretation.

What's the average cost of a balcony inspection?

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on the building’s size, the number of balconies, ease of access, and the inspection company’s rates. Always get detailed quotes in writing.

We had some balcony repairs done recently. Do we need another full inspection?

It depends on the scope of the repairs. If they were major structural fixes, a follow-up inspection might be wise to ensure everything was done correctly. Discuss this with your contractor and an inspection company.

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