A Tale of Two Balcony Inspection Laws

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Over the past couple of years, we’ve written extensively about how the proper inspection of balconies, decks and other exterior elevated elements (EEEs), can prevent unnecessary risks to the life-safety and health of building occupants. As you may know, California’s state senate bill SB 721 went into effect on January 1, 2019, mandating the inspection of balconies and other EEEs on certain types of buildings in response to the tragic and fatal collapse of an apartment balcony in Berkeley.

However, SB 721 wasn’t the first law mandating such inspections. In fact, long before the Berkeley balcony disaster, the city of San Francisco passed legislation requiring inspection of EEEs and other elements back in 2004. Incorporated into San Francisco’s Housing Code under Section 604, the law requires that building owners receive an affidavit signed by an appropriately credentialed professional stating that certain elements of the property are safe and functional for their intended use.

There is some overlap between what is required under the state’s SB 721 law and San Francisco’s Section 604. To help sort out what’s required under each, check out this helpful chart.

California SB 721 Compared with San Francisco Housing Code 604

Xpera Group is well qualified to assist property owners in compliance with the applicable inspection laws. What distinguishes our inspectors is the extensive experience that comes from our background in high-stakes disputes, where our observations and opinions are subjected to trial by fire from opposing parties.

To learn more about Xpera’s Balcony Assurance services, contact me directly at or visit our balcony inspections service page.

Topics: Construction Safety, California, Construction Legal Issues, Law, Balcony


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