SB 326, California Civil Code §5551

A new law, SB 326, was enacted in California this year. It requires the inspection and proper maintenance of elevated balconies and decks, as well as their associated waterproofing systems. If the condominium association contains at least 3 residential units, and has a deck that is at least 6 feet off the ground and is partially or completely supported by wood structures, it will require an inspection.

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If the deck or balcony meets all requirements, is in generally good condition, and can accommodate loads including people and anything that may be placed on the deck, the inspector will sign off with their approval. If the deck or balcony doesn’t meet these requirements, or seems unstable, repairs will be required to avoid any fines.

What does the Inspection Include?

The inspection must be completed by a certified professional, such as a licensed architect or licensed engineer, with support from a waterproofing expert. They will first conduct a visual inspection of the entire deck, including:

  • Waterproofing
  • Flashing systems
  • Drains
  • Doors
  • Stairs
  • Siding
  • Handrails
  • Railings
  • Mounting plates
  • Structural supports
  • Beams
  • Stucco

The final report is then provided to the homeowners association. The report includes the current condition of the deck, as well as the life expectancy of the elements inspected. 

Statistical Sampling vs. Complete Inspections

Statistical sampling is when some of the units in the association are inspected at random, resulting in a level of certainty that the majority of units do not have structural issues. However, using this type of sampling does not guarantee with 100% accuracy that all units are safe and no structural issues exist. 

WICR provides complete inspections, as this is the only way to ensure all decks are free of structural damage.  We strongly suggest ALL waterproofing and all decks, walkways, stairs and railings be thoroughly inspected.