Following the collapse of a balcony in the Berkley area in 2015 which killed six people, and also injured seven, SB 721 was authored by Senators Jerry hill and Nancy Skinner with the aim to increase the safety of balconies state wide and keep a disaster like the Berkley balcony collapse from happening again.
This bill will now require up at least 15 percent of balconies and decks in California to be inspected every 6 years at the balcony owners’ expense and SB 721 also implements new oversight of construction contractors in California who are building residences which have balconies.
A Tragedy That Will Lead to Safer Buildings in California
There’s no denying that many multifamily properties in the Monterey County Area and across California have balconies but the big question is are those balconies safe for use?
Thanks to SB 721, more building owners will be held accountable and forced to resolve issues like dry rot in their balconies if those problems are found.
Besides the increased safety standards that SB 721 will require owner owners to follow, another new bill (SB 1465) will also require contractors in California to report if they have to pay settlements of over $1 million dollars to the Contractors State License Board. Especially if those settlements involve defects in multifamily properties that they have built.
Dry Rot Caused the Berkley Balcony Collapse
Sadly, the cause of the Berkley Balcony collapse in 2015 was found to be dry rot. It was later revealed that the lead contractor on the building, Seague Construction, Inc had paid over $25 million in settlements for past jobs they had worked on in the 3 years leading up to the balcony collapse.
Berkeley residents can now have confidence in the structural integrity of the buildings that they live in because the City Council also adopted further amendments to local housing codes which require inspections of buildings that have been weather exposed at least every 3 years.
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