What You Need to Know About the SB 326 Balcony Bill 

Senate Bill 326 is now a law that amends the Civil Code Section 5551. After the initial shock of its passing, it’s time to discuss plan development. You need to prepare your board of directors and association managers on what you need for the inspection. You will also need to sit and discuss how to choose the right business partner for the job.



What Qualifies for SB 326 (CC5551) Inspection?



You may have heard of the term EEE (Exterior Elevated Elements). These are the elements that require inspection under SB 326 (CC5551). You need to understand that balconies are not the only component that requires checking under CC5551. Associations need to make visual inspections of all raised elements that extend beyond the exterior walls. 


It means all components bearing weight or loads six feet above the ground, those that support weight and consist of wood supporting structures (plywood and wood beams). These include decks, walkways, porches, and staircases with wooden stringers.



Choosing the Right Partner



As a board member or association manager, the details can be confusing. However, it is crucial to ensure that you understand them in the pre-planning stages. It will help you plan accordingly. Here are some helpful tips to start you off. 



Select a Qualified Firm



The inspection needs a licensed engineer or architect. So, do your homework and check out several firms before settling on one. Ensure that the one you choose has all the qualifications to run such inspections. That means they will have licensed professionals. Check their reviews and contact some of their clients to know if they are professional.



What Will They Inspect?



The architect or engineer will determine what to inspect. The inspector does not need to sample all the EEE. However, the sampling needs to be significant. It needs to provide 95 percent confidence that the sample represents the whole. 


The inspection will include the waterproofing protecting all the structural elements. They will visually check for dry rot, termites, or moisture damage. However, it may also use a boroscope, moisture meters, and an infrared device.



Notify the Community



Notify the community of the inspection. The engineer or architect may need access to a unit or boom lift if your community is over two stories high. Ensure that you have permission for this—don’t ambush the community. Make them aware that there may be the use of tools like the boroscope or DT (destructing testing). Help them understand the process beforehand.



Submission of the Report



After the inspection, the engineer will write, present, and submit the report to the board, not the city or county. Once the deadline of January 1, 2025, expires, the city or county will contact the management agent or the board. They will ask for proof of complete inspection.


The report will have photo documentation, maintenance needs, and the remaining useful life of EEEs. It will also state the emergency repairs you need to do. Use this as a call to action and maintenance plan. Do not underestimate the value of the report. Ensure that you use it to extend the life of EEEs and save the community countless dollars and potential future issues.


Also, getting your inspection done sooner than later will save your association money. It will also give you ample time to review the findings and plan repairs. Waiting until 2024 will guarantee you are paying above market value for the inspection. You may also battle a waitlist against the other 49,200 HOAs in California. 


For more information on SB 326, visit AD Magellan Construction Planning and Management at our Vista, California office. Call (877) 899-5990 to book an appointment today.

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