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SB 721 & 326 (Chapter 445, Stats. 2018)"Balcony Law"

Exterior elevated elements must be inspected every 6 years, with the first being prior to January 1, 2025. Zebra Construction is taking a proactive approach to help make the process easy and stress free by giving you options, and enough time to plan.

The major catalyst for this senate bill was due to the collapse of a balcony in Berkley, CA which collapsed and 6 students died. A 7th died due to her injuries 7 years later. This building was barely 10 years old.


June 16, 2015 shortly after midnight 6 people died and seven others were injured after a balcony on which they were standing collapsed.

Overwhelming evidence pointed to dry rot leading the balcony to become structurally compromised.

Improperly maintained waterproofing membranes and lack of rain gutters  and improper flashing can expedite loss of structural integrity in raised walkways.



What Buildings Require Inspection?

Do buildings with out rent control need to comply?

Multi-Family buildings with 3 or more units are required to comply with the new senate bill 721, and Home Owner's Association Residences are required to comply to new senate bill 326, commonly referred to as the "Balcony Law".

Yes. All buildings must be inspected, regardless of when they were built.

What must be inspected?

Elevated exterior elements

  • Balconies

  • Decks

  • Porches

  • Exterior Stairways

  • Walkways

  • Entry Structures that extend beyond exterior walls of the building
    Including supports and railings)

Who must the inspection be completed by?

SB721 (Multi-Family Buildings)

  • Licensed architect

  • Licensed Civil Engineer

  • Licensed Structural Engineer

  • Certified Building Inspector

  • General Contractor with A, B, or C-5 License (Minimum 5 Years Experience)

Home Owners Associations

When must inspections be completed?

  • Licensed Structural Engineer

The first inspection must be completed by January 1st 2025, then an inspection must be completed every subsequent 6 years and the building owner must keep their record of inspection for 2 inspection cycles (12 years)

What is the best waterproofing system to help prevent future issues? Do I need a permit?

Coatings must have a 1 hour fire rating and be waterproof. They must have an approved ICC report.  Zebra recommends Excel-Coat Pedestrian Traffic Membrane which is manufactured by UPI. It has a 5 year warranty but will most likely last much longer with proper maintenance.

Currently a permit is not required for waterproofing membrane, but that may change in the near future based on the emergency bulletin which was released in 2017.  The Los Angeles Building Department released a bulletin requiring the membrane be inspected and improved before concealed. Click Here to View Bulletin

If stairs or any structural elements are being replaced, or repaired, you do need a permit.

The following products are accepted with ICC Reports:

What to expect with Zebra Construction?

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Call Zebra Construction & set up a free consultation. We will visit the property and give a cost for any repairs and include the cost of the inspection report.   


With the information given from the consultation, you can make a plan. You will have costs to bring everything up to code, or just to meet the SB721/326 requirements.


Zebra will complete repairs and prepare an inspection report once repairs are complete.  Fire rated inspection vents will be installed for future inspections and required ventilation.


In 6 years from the inspection date, the exterior elevated elements must be inspected again. If only 15% were inspected, a different 15% should be inspected this time.


Inspection reports must be kept for 2 inspection cycles. Inspection cycles are 6 years, so up to 12 years.


Zebra Construction will install inspection vents on the underside of exterior elevated elements which comply with building code for fire rating and allow for air flow to prevent moisture becoming trapped in wood members and have a hinge which can be opened for future inspections.

Each inspection vent will allow access to see into 5 joist bays, which is helpful for future inspections. (Inspections are required every 6 years)

The engineer must return a report to the property owner within 15 days for any elements that pose an immediate threat to the safety of the occupants and the local enforcement authority will be notified.

Non-immediate threats will be given a report within 45 days.

The engineer will give a plan for repairs which must have a permit applied for within 120 days of the report.

Zebra's Scope for Repairs:

  • Apply 1 hour fire rated pedestrian walkway waterproof system

  • Sister joists & add blocking

  • Reframe balconies due to termite damage or dry rot

  • Replace Rim Joist

  • Correct fire ratings,

  • Bring railings up to code at 42" height (Not required per senate bills, but recommended)

  • Weld new piers on guard rails if steel on railing systems are corroded

  • Install new steel stair stringers with concrete treads to meet 2 hour fire requirements

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