This new law will have a significant effect on Common Interest Developments (CIDs) through the State of California. The bill was introduced as a response to the Berkeley balcony collapse in the Library Gardens Apartments on June 16, 2015, when thirteen pupils fell forty feet by a fifth-floor balcony which collapsed, killing six and injuring seven.
The cause of the collapse was ascertained by the California Contractors State License Board to be”Dry rot across the top of the joists suggests long-term humidity saturation…of Oriented Strand Board (OSB) in direct contact with the joists. Additional locations of water damage and dry rot were discovered on the wall OSB sheathing and the surface of the doubled deck joists across the deck edge to wall port by severely rotted structural support joists.”
Scope & Purpose of Inspection Bill-SB326
The objective of the inspection is to”ascertain whether the skin elevated components are during a normally safe condition and performing per applicable standards.”
The Inspector shall conduct a visual inspection in a”statically significant” random sample of places to supply 95% percent confidence the sample results are reflective of the entire project’s state.
Together with the development of building codes and legislation in the past century, construction security is now ubiquitous in America. The majority of the public assume that buildings are secure. That assumption today is barely challenged unless there are very clear indicators that portion of the construction is in corrosion or disrepair.
But, there are elements of a building that frequently continue to have recorded failures that cause harm to occupants: balconies, decks, porches, and staircases. According to the data compiled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, constructions such as balconies and decks failures have generated tens of thousands of accidents annually (recorded by emergency room visits).
A visual inspection is defined as”the least intrusive method needed to inspect load-bearing elements, including visual observation only or visual monitoring along with, as an instance, using moisture meters, borescopes, or infrared technologies.”
But if the Inspector observes conditions that indicate water intrusion additional inspection is needed, as well as the Inspector”shall exercise their best professional judgment in determining the requirement, scope, and breadth of any additional inspection.”
What Are Exterior Elevated Elements?
An Exterior Elevated Element (EEE) Inspection is a structural element of a building (including supports, associated waterproofing systems, and railings) that has the following properties:
- It extends beyond a building’s exterior walls
- It’s designed for human use
- Has a walking surface over 6 feet above floor level
- They include balconies, decks, porches, stairways, paths, and entrance structures.
It sounds vague and confusing until you read §5551(a)(1) and §5551(a)(3) which unpacks the nested definitions:
- “Associated waterproofing systems” embody flashings, membranes, coatings, and sealants that defend the supporting parts of exterior elevated parts from exposure to water.
- “Load-bearing components” means those elements that go beyond the exterior walls of the building to supply structural loads into the building from decks, balconies, stairways, paths, and their railings, that have a walking surface raised over six feet above ground level, that’s intended for human occupancy or use, and that’s supported in whole or in substantial part by timber or wood-based products.
Along with inspecting EEEs, another significant change implemented by the bill is that no HOA governing documents can inflict any preconditions or limitations on the board’s ability to commence and pursue legal proceedings against the developer or builder. It also nullifies any existing conditions in associations’ covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs)
Who Can Perform EEE Inspections?