How Often Do Buildings Have to Be Inspected in California?

Many California buildings, especially in San Francisco, are over 50 years old. Because of this, owners must be vigilant to ensure their buildings are maintained. Good maintenance leads to safer homes and business premises. During the construction of these buildings, the code requirements were not as strict as they are today.

If you own a building in California, it is essential to have the building inspected regularly. It is best to have a professional inspect it for you rather than do it yourself. It is an excellent way to maintain preventative maintenance and prevent problems before they develop. It will reduce costs of what would be expensive repairs and ensure the safety of your tenants.

So, how often should buildings be inspected in California? 

Why Should Buildings Be Inspected?


The simple answer is it is the law. According to the Code of Regulations, Title 24, Building Standards Code, every jurisdiction in California should regulate design and construction. It helps assure the safety of the structure and utility systems for the tenants. It is also essential in preserving historical significance.

Most jurisdictions accomplish this through the Departments of Building Safety. These departments ensure that all new and old buildings meet the legal requirements for human habitation. On top of these obligations are local and federal regulations and other state codes. 

Who Can Inspect a Building?


The Building Standards Commission does not require building construction inspection by independent parties. However, it is required by the Department of Housing and Community Development for all residential constructions. Moreover, all jurisdictions adopt and amend the administrative regulations of the California Building Code. 

Also, other local ordinances and state codes require independent inspections to ensure public infrastructure and life-safety systems. The inspections can be performed by:

  • An employee of the government.

  • A contract provider for the government.

  • An employee of a government or utility.

  • Owner of the property's design expert.

  • Owner of the property's contracted vendor (authorized "special inspector").

Benefits of Having Your Building Inspected

  • It allows you to make informed decisions.

  • It helps you protect your real estate investment.

  • It enables you to streamline the repair process.

  • It gives you peace of mind knowing what condition your building is in.

  • Avoids issues and problems with tenants and homeowners.

  • Reduces the remediation costs you may have had to pay if you did not do the inspection.

  • Avoids leak-related emergencies by giving you the upper hand.

  • It ensures that all your waterproofing strategies are in place and working correctly.

  • It helps maintain a safe community.

How Often Should Buildings Be Inspected?


How often buildings are inspected is dictated by California Senate Bill 721. It was signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2018 as a response to the balcony collapse of 2015 in Berkeley. The bill governs all residential rental properties that have three or more units. According to the bill, at least 15 percent of each load-bearing, elevated exterior element like balconies with wood framing in the building undergo destructive testing every six years.

For more on building inspections in California, visit AD Magellan Construction Planning and Management at our office in Vista, California. Call (877) 899-5990 to book an appointment today.

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