balconies - deck inspectors

Dangers to Be Aware Of With Second Floor Balconies

When you are going to build second-floor balconies, there are certain requirements that you need to meet in order to prevent accidents. This includes Senate Bill 721 or the SB 721 inspection requirements that building owners associated with balconies and decks.

 

 

SB 721

 

This bill covers balconies and decks and their associated railings and supports. At the same time, it covers all exterior elevated elements such as the following:

  • Balconies
  • Decks
  • Porches
  • Stairways
  • Walkways
  • Entry structures extending beyond the exterior walls of the building

 

 

The said bill will require owners of buildings affected to ensure that the first inspection is done before January 1, 2025. Subsequent inspections are also needed every 6 years after the said date or on or before January 1, 2031.

 

 

Risks Involved

 

Quite frankly, there are risks involved when it comes to building balconies in your home. That is why SB 721 inspection is necessary so that second-floor balconies should be built and monitored according to specifications. Here are examples of incidents that you may not see coming.

 

 

Accidental fall

 

Children often play around the house, including but not limited to second-floor balconies. In fact, you may never see your child getting curious as he or she climbs the railing and falls off onto the ground.

 

 

Take note that falls at moderate heights can injure anybody seriously or kill a small kid. You can’t even deny the fact that pets can get out through the balcony door and fall to the ground, resulting in serious injury if not death.

 

 

Instability of the Balcony

 

When damage is not immediately visible, particularly at second-floor balconies, it poses a threat to the safety of anyone who frequents that area. You can just imagine when someone walks onto the second-floor balcony through a rotting wooden floor, for instance.

 

 

Collapsing Of the Balcony Floor

 

If the second-floor balcony has serious damage or weak spots, it could collapse under pressure. This is due to the fact that is not anchored directly into the ground for support, so balconies have weight limits. Obviously, when a group of people would enter at once, then the balcony could collapse.

 

 

Falling Items from the Balcony

 

If you are fond of keeping heavy items on the balcony, there is a possibility that the second-floor area could pose a risk to passersby. This is because strong winds can knock items onto the ground below.

 

 

On the other hand, somebody might trip over some objects from the second-floor balcony and get injured or fall over a short railing. Thus, it is important to keep items on the balcony out of the way and close the railings.

 

 

Fortunately, though, there is a balcony bill that regulates the inspection of structures that might be prone to damage or collapse. Thus, it is important to abide by the requirements of the SB 721 inspection so that costly incidents can be avoided. After all, it is your own safety and investment you should be concerned about.

 

 

 


Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like: Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon

inspection - exterior elevated element

Housing Code Qualifications for an Exterior Elevated Element

There is a housing code in California that requires the inspection and certification of an exterior elevated element. The requirement involves property owners of residential buildings with 3 or more sleeping units.

 

 

So these are weather-exposed elevated elements such as wood and metal decks, balconies, guardrails, handrails, landings, stairways, and walkways, among others.

 

 

An exterior elevated element must be inspected by a licensed general contractor, professional architect or engineer. So they should verify that these elements are in a safe condition, adequate working order, without any signs of corrosion, decay, deterioration, or any similar damage that may pose safety concerns.

 

 

 

The said requirements would apply to the following occupancies:

 

  • Apartment houses, condos, and live/work units
  • Dormitories, convents, fraternities, monasteries, and sororities
  • Hotels, motels, or vacation timeshare properties
  • Boarding houses or congregation residences, categorized with 10 occupants for transient and 16 occupants for non-transient
  • Residential assisted living facilities

 

 

 

Apartment property owners who fail to file an inspection certification or complete corrective work upon the specified period will face penalties. This means that owners need to have their exterior elevated element inspected and certified by authorized personnel. So if corrective work is necessary, owners need to apply for a permit within 60 days of the certification date. Likewise, owners need to respond to plan check comments within a ten-day period of the correction letter.

 

 

Moreover, only a ten-day period is allowed to obtain a building permit within the date of notification of plan approval. All work must be completed within 90 days of the issuance of the permit.

 

 

 


Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like: Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon

apartment deck inspection

Landlord’s Responsibilities and the Importance of Apartment Deck Inspection

The responsibilities of a landlord should include accommodation and safety of his tenants. Other than that, a landlord should also focus on regular apartment deck inspection to ensure everything is in shape.

 

 

 

Duties and Responsibilities

 

As a landlord, you are expected to keep the home of your tenants safe. So you are inclined to provide your tenants with a secure place to live. Therefore, you must know how to secure the property by installing security locks or cameras in conspicuous locations.

 

 

When a previous tenant moves out, you need to ensure that the locks have been replaced before a new one moves in. At the same time, you must not allow repairmen to work unsupervised inside the apartment of the tenant. Obviously, this could lead to claims of robbery.

 

 

Additional carbon monoxide or smoke detectors must be in place in case of emergencies. Moreover, you should make sure that your tenants feel safe outside the building. This includes the repair of any broken step or unstable handrail in order to keep the surroundings free from hazard.

 

 

 

Comfortable Environment

 

It is expected by your tenants that their home is safe, but it should also be quiet. This must be enforced when you are screening potential tenants wherein they should be respectful of others. Therefore, there should be a strict implementation of quiet hours that should be free from loud music or noises after a particular hour.

 

 

 

Clean Surroundings

 

If you are the landlord, you need to ensure that the apartment is clean. Part of your job is to maintain the property as a whole. This includes the removal of trash daily, which should be agreed upon by the tenant and the management.

 

 

This also includes the elimination of pests around the property. You may hire a professional to do this or you can do this yourself if you can manage. So you need to prioritize apartment deck inspection on a regular basis to keep the property safe. Of course, it is part of your responsibility to respond to tenant requests promptly.

 

 

 

Apartment Deck Inspection

 

Aside from being mandated by law, apartment deck inspection is part of your responsibility as a landlord. Needless to say, your tenants would want to see apartment decks when they live there and even make prospective tenants want to check it out.

 

 

According to Senate Bill 721, elements to be inspected would include elements such as balconies, decks, entryways, porches, stairs, and walkways. That if they extend beyond the exterior walls of the building. Moreover, that would be 6 or more feet above the ground with stability and support from wood or wood-based products.

 

 

Therefore, you need to do a regular, annual inspection to ensure that these decks can be used safely by tenants’ family and friends. Take note that past collapses of exterior decks and failed railings have resulted in the loss of life if not severe injuries.

 

 

 

Your responsibility is to allow licensed structural pest control operators, general contractors, architects or engineers to inspect your apartment deck, porch, stairs, or balcony and other attachments. Allowing licensed professionals to assure the safety of your tenants will guarantee that you will never run out of tenants.

 

 

 


Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like: Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon

elevated decks

Elevated Decks Should Be Designed With Safety as Priority

There are many factors that impact the design for elevated decks. Among these factors are engineering, slow work conditions, and safety issues, which add up to high bids.

 

 

Depending on the height involved in building elevated decks, it is critical to apply caution and planning to get the job done. Here are important considerations when it comes to the construction of elevated or high-level decks.

 

 

 

Designing For Height

 

  • Bracing – Taller support posts on elevated decks will require bracing, aside from the need for lateral stability. Take note that such a design isn’t only a regular deck on stilts. This is the reason why special design considerations are needed when it involves a huge distance from the ground.

 

  • Stairs – An elevated deck design includes stairs, which is an integral part that connects the lower and upper levels. To conserve floor space, it is often placed outside. The length of the stairs can also be minimized by landing it near the house.

 

  • Railing – If your house has a high deck, the design of the railing is critical. Standard rail height for decks more than 12 feet should be around 42 inches.

 

  • Grill – It is important to add reinforcement to the structure through the heavy grill. You can add double or triple joists where the grill is. A spa can be reinforced using added columns and beams that make a continuous load path down the footings. So you can also double the joists under the spas so that the span between beams can be shortened.

 

 

Take note that height is not all about reinforcement and safety though, so a higher elevation can suggest more design possibilities. For stacked decks, for instance, you can put a porch by the lower level through a watertight floor between decks. Additionally, you may consider framing and screening the walls.

 

 

 

Big Footings

 

Typical sized footings might not be enough for a single elevated deck. For one, these might not be enough to support stacked decks. Thus, it is important to consider footings that are wider and deeper than usual to handle the increase in loads.

 

 

 

Scaffolding

 

Always remember that when elevation increases, the overall level of difficulty in building decks also increases. This is because the scaffolding can get more extensive. So the higher the work zone is, the more time-consuming it will be for moving materials, people, and tools.

 

 

 

Safety Issues

 

There are many more factors that builders need to focus, which include stacking decks over wood columns. However, it is always a top concern for builders to consider safety.

 

 

Designing elevated decks can be a concern for the crew and the contractor. In fact, even safety harnesses and scaffolding are not enough to eliminate the possibility of getting injured.

 

 

 

Therefore, management must focus on safety and make sure everybody involved should participate. So it is the responsibility of everyone to understand the risks and difficulties in working with height. At the same time, they should have a working knowledge of scaffolding safety as well as the proper usage of safety harnesses.

 

 

 


Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like: Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon

balcony decks - inspection

Why it pays to Have Balconies and Decks Inspected

Balcony decks can be the highlight of a home, which is why it’s very important to make sure that they are safe, secure and sturdy enough to be enjoyed for the years to come. And with the passing of Senate Bill 721 in California last year, deck inspections are now more important than ever.

 

Here’s why:

 

These exterior elements are constantly exposed to the elements

Balcony decks take a lot of beating—from snow loads to the weight of people on it—and it causes them to undergo wear and tear more quickly than most other parts of the house. With an inspection, any faults or damages can be addressed right away before they get worse.

 

 

Safe balconies and decks mean fewer expenses

Although it’s easy to think that an inspection is only added expense, it actually helps you save money in the long run. By making sure that your balcony decks are safe for use, you will not have to spend on frequent repairs or replacements and you can also avoid devastating accidents that can injure or even kill people.

 

 

Having your deck or balcony checked for safety is, without a doubt, a great investment because it can bring you more benefits than you can ever imagine.

 

 

 


Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon

deck inspection

Why Your Deck or Balcony Should Be Inspected

Decks, balconies, and porches have been important elements to many houses for many years. Although home designs have evolved immensely throughout the years, these external structures have remained staples because of how they add that extra space perfect for entertaining and how they can increase the overall value of a property.

 

But this great addition to your home can easily be catastrophic if you don’t pay attention to your responsibilities as a homeowner. A deck inspection is one of the most important tasks that you should invest in for your home and here’s why:

 

 

Many Decks or Balconies may not be Safe

 

It is said that only 40% out of the 45 million decks in existence are completely safe. This is mainly because not many people realize how important it is to build a deck properly thinking that it’s just an extension and wouldn’t need as much investment as the main structure of a house.

 

But while building a deck looks easy, it actually requires proper calculations and good craftsmanship to make sure that it can support the weight of the people on it, the objects placed on it and the other elements that could add to its load. A deck inspection is necessary to identify any faults in a deck’s structure so it could be addressed immediately.

 

 

A Deck Failure can Bring Devastating Consequences

 

A deck collapse that killed six people in Berkeley, California in 2015 is just one of the proofs that when a deck inspection is taken for granted, it could lead to devastating consequences. This incident prompted the passing of Senate Bill 721 in California that required all buildings with decks to be inspected for safety. But even if you don’t live in the sunny state, it’s your responsibility to keep your family and guests safe whenever they’re on your deck or balcony by making sure that it is inspected for any defects before a deck failure can happen.

 

 

A Well-Maintained Deck or Balcony can Bring you Better Revenues

 

There will come a time when you would want to sell your property, and when that time comes, you will surely thank yourself for investing in a deck inspection even if you think that it’s only an added expense now. The thing is, home buyers these days are more meticulous than ever. They don’t only look for the obvious selling points of a house, but they also get into the nitty-gritty of it.

 

Some would even go as far as hiring a building inspector to check a property they’re eyeing on before they seal the deal. Now, if you want to get ahead of the game, having a well-maintained deck or balcony can really give you that advantage. Plus, you’ll also get excellent returns since your property would increase in value.

 

 

At the end of the day, it’s all about how you take care of your home. By making sure that you have everything covered including your deck inspection, you’ll feel safer at home knowing that you can host those dinner parties on your deck or balcony without any worries of collapse or accident.

 

 

 


Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon

balcony inspection law

Senate Bill 721: The Three Things You Need to Know About the Balcony Inspection Law

When you were handed the keys to your home, you instantly thought that finally, all the hard work is done. Now, all you have to do is move in, decorate your house and go back to your daily routine—or so you thought. Being a homeowner goes beyond buying a house.

 

It’s actually just the beginning of a long list of responsibilities that you’ll have to take care of to make sure that your home, the one you invested most of your money in, will last for as long as possible.

 

If you’re living in California, you might have heard of the SB 721 inspection but haven’t really paid much attention to it. But if you have a balcony at home, it’s about time to learn about Senate Bill 721 or the California State Balcony Inspection Law and here are three things that matter most:

 

 

The Beginnings of the Bill

It was that fateful night on June 16, 2015, when one Irish-American and five Irish J-1 visa students lost their lives and seven others were injured after a balcony located on the fifth floor of an apartment building in Berkeley, California collapsed. The casualties were celebrating a 21st birthday party and had no idea of the danger in their midst. This prompted Governor Jerry Brown to sign the California SB 721 balcony inspection law to prevent similar incidents by increasing the safety of structures, especially decks and balconies.

 

 

What the Bill Covers

The SB 721 inspection bill states that all structures with three or more units that have an elevated walking surface of more than 6 feet above ground, balconies designed for human use and decks, porches, walkways and other parts of a structure that relies on wood or wood-based products for structural support should be inspected by qualified building inspectors.

 

Only qualified inspectors that include licensed architects, general contractors, civil engineers, and certified building inspectors or officials can inspect a building. An inspection should include identifying each exterior element for any defects or damage using methods like visual examinations or comparisons to evaluate the structure’s performance.

 

 

When Buildings should be Inspected

All balconies, porches, stairways, decks, walkways, and entries in the structures of California should be inspected by January 1, 2025. A subsequent inspection is also required every six years.

 

In addition, all structures with building permit applications submitted on or after January 1, 2019, should be inspected no later than six years after the issuance of a certificate of occupancy. However, if a property was inspected and declared safe during an SB 721 balcony inspection law within three years before January 1, 2019, no inspection will be required until January 1, 2025.

 

After an inspection is done, building inspectors will categorize repairs as an immediate threat or no immediate threat. While those structures with immediate threat must be addressed immediately by the building owner, those under no immediate threat can apply for a permit within 120 days after receiving the inspection report.

 

 

Learning about Senate Bill 721 is very important, especially if you have decks, balconies and other external structures that could pose serious safety issues to people. And if you want to make sure that your home or office is safe, trust only the right building inspectors to do the job for you.

 

 

 


Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like: Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon