Balcony Inspections

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

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 can expedite loss of structural integrity in raised walkways.

Zebra suggests having this done at the same time as your soft story retrofit project.


Process with Zebra Construction Inc.

Step 1 - The Proposal

The first step would be to have us out to visit your property.  We would love to meet you there and teach you about retrofitting and answer any questions you may have!  Once we have measured, we will get together with one of the 3 engineers we work with and confirm design ideas from measurements.  We then send you a proposal with engineering and estimated construction based on design and projects similar to yours we have completed in the past.

Do you Already Have Engineering Plans?


What Buildings Require Inspection?

Buildings with 3 or more units are required to comply with the new "Balcony Law"

What must be inspected?

Elevated exterior elements

  • Balconies

  • Decks

  • Porches

  • Stairways

  • Walkways

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

When must inspections be completed?

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)

Who must the inspection be completed by?

  • Licensed architect

  • Licensed Civil Engineer

  • Licensed Structural Engineer

  • Certified Building Inspector

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

What is the best waterproofing system to help prevent future issues?

Zebra recommends a pacific polymer elasto-deck coating. It has a 5 year warranty but will most likely last much longer.

What to expect?

  1. 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.

  2. The engineer will visit the property to review opened areas and make plans for any necessary repairs. Each inspection vent will allow the engineer to see into 5 joist bays.

  3. 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.

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

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

  6. Zebra will complete any repairs necessary with a permit which can include sistering joists or reframing balconies due to termite damage or dry rot. We will bring balconies to code to have correct fire ratings, weld new piers if steel on railing systems if corroded and apply new waterproofing systems.

  7. Must be repeated every 6 years.

  8. Report must be kept for 2 inspection cycles - A different 15% should be inspected every 6 years if you don't chose to have all elements inspected.