SB 721 became law in late 2018. This bill requires an inspection of exterior-elevated elements (elevated more than 6 feet above ground level) that rely in whole or in substantial part on wood or wood-based products for structural support or stability for buildings with three or more multifamily dwellings units by an inspector.
That includes balconies, decks, porches, stairways, walkways, and entry structures that extend beyond the exterior walls of the building.
The first inspections and any ensuing repairs require completion by January 1, 2025. Re-inspection is required every six (6) years.
Inspectors and Property Owners need to understand this law and its impact on the inspection industry to be properly prepared. Those outside California should be aware of this new legislation as it could carry over to other states.
Understanding the Timeline for Inspection
Not much has changed since the bill’s passage in 2018, but we are halfway to the deadline for the first inspections. However, that is about to change as property owners set their timelines and budget for inspections.
Understanding the bill and what would occur if repairs are required helps define the inspection timeline for property owners. Below are two models that outline the time required to complete the inspection process for a best and a worst-case scenario.
Best Case Scenario: No Repairs Needed
A qualified inspector completes the deck inspection and finds no damage or need for repairs. The inspector will document and report the results to the appropriate governing body.
Estimated Time: 45 Days
Worst Case Scenario: Repairs Needed
A qualified inspector completed the desk inspection and finds damage or a need for repairs. These repairs must be completed, re-inspected, and documented before the deadline.
Estimate Time: 285 Days
Reporting Initial Inspection Results: 45 Days
Applying For a Repair Permit: 120 Days
Completing Repairs (If Permit Approved): 120 Days
Property owners have until January 1, 2025, to complete and file the inspection report. They should plan a buffer of 45 to 285 days before the deadline, depending upon the condition of their property. That means properties likely to fail the inspection and require repairs should start the process in early 2024, which is a little over a year away.
Inspections will create new opportunities. Are you ready?
The deadline is approaching sooner than expected for some property owners. As 2025 gets closer, the demand for SB 721 inspections will ramp up, but how much demand will there be?
According to housing information for California, there are over 14 million properties, and over 3.5 million (28%) are properties with 3+ units. It is fair to assume that many properties will pass inspection. However, there is likely to be a small fraction that requires extensive repairs.
That small fraction of properties is about 5%, according to a study of US property repairs. Using that as a baseline, we estimate that roughly 175,000 properties in California will need repairs to pass the SB 721 inspection.
Inspectors who are ready to provide SB 721 inspections and perform remediation repairs now, stand to see a significant increase in the demand for their services. Utilize this information to learn more about SB 721 and how you can leverage this into an opportunity to expand your business and increase revenue.
NRCIA Inspectors can perform SB 721 inspections and property owners can utilize our network of reliable professionals to find an inspector near them.
If you are interested in learning how to provide quality SB 721 Inspections, considering joining the NRCIA and earning your certification
LeakFREE® Roof Certifications provide property owners an assurance that their roof will remain leak-free for the duration of their certification period. But what happens if a leak does occur during that period?
We are going to follow a recent example provided by an NRCIA Inspector. Below we will break down the steps the property owner took from the start of the certification to fixing the leak.
Receive a LeakFREE® Roof Certification
Over a year ago, a property owner contacted an NRCIA inspector requesting an inspection and roof certification. An NRCIA Certified Inspector then completed a LeakFREE® Roof Inspection, during which the Inspector highlighted several repairs required before the roof could be certified.
The property owner completed the repairs, and upon re-inspection of the repairs, the Inspector issued a LeakFREE® Roof Certification. With roof assurances in place, the homeowner was ready for whatever the future may hold.
Active Leak Found in a LeakFREE® Roof
Recently, the property owner found an active roof leak. The roof is still within the certification period. They contacted the NRCIA Inspector that issued the LeakFREE® Certification and requested a diagnostic inspection. Diagnostic inspections are for certificate holders, and they entail a 3-zone inspection process to determine if the damage is covered by the certification.
In this case, the damage was covered by the roof certification. Specifically, there was a leak from damaged underlayment at a valley location. The damaged underlayment could have been identified and repaired during the first initial inspection (before issuing a certificate) but was missed by the inspector.
Damage Covered by Certification
Since the damage is covered by the LeakFREE® Roof Certification, the inspection fee and repair fees were waived for the property owner. Certifications will have different monetary limits of liability depending upon the roof system and other factors. The limits-of-liability outline the maximum monetary amount of damages covered by the issuing Inspector.
The NRCIA Inspector then worked with the property owner to outline the repair plan. After the repairs were completed, the certification will continue until the end of the period. After that period, re-certification is possible after re-inspection. This cycle helps set up a great roof care plan for property owners.
When trouble did arise, the homeowner had no out-of-pocket expenses to repair this unforeseen issue. Trusting your roofing professionals and the organization that stands behind the inspection process is essential for every property owner.
In summary, this property owner saved money, time, and stress by originally contacting an NRCIA Inspector. NRCIA Inspectors are the only inspectors authorized to complete LeakFREE® Roof Inspections & issue LeakFREE® Roof Certifications.
The NRCIA is excited to announce a new partnership with OREP!
NRCIA members can sign up through the member portal to E&O Insurance, Business Support, and Risk Management. NRCIA Members get exclusive discounts for OREP’s services.
Who is OREP?
OREP specializes in placing errors and omissions and general liability insurance and providing valuable benefits to real estate appraisers, home inspectors, private investigators, restoration contractors, mold remediators, real estate agents and brokers, mortgage field service professionals, energy raters/auditors, environmental concerns, and others. Receive fast, personal service from the OREP staff. The insurance experts at OREP have done business the same way for over 20 years. We will help you find the best combination of price and coverage available to meet your needs, depending on the size, scope, and location of your business. OREP offers the lowest rates on appraiser’s insurance with same-day coverage & confirmation (most cases). For instant E&O quotes for appraisers click here.
The NRCIA is excited to announce a new partnership with UAV’s Drone Pilot Ground School.
NRCIA members are encouraged to sign up through the member portal to get $100 off the one-time course fee!
WHO NEEDS A DRONE LICENSE?
If you’re looking to fly a drone for any non-recreational purpose, you must get a Remote Pilot Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under the Part 107 regulations. Common names for this Certificate are drone license, Part 107 license, and Part 107certificate. Your Certificate can be used to operate a drone in all U.S. states and territories. You must renew the certificate every 2 years.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
From start to finish, it takes the majority of students 4-6 weeks to get their FAA drone pilot license.
Study with Drone Pilot Ground School
Most students spend 15-20 hours over 2 to 3 233ks going through the online self-paced lessons and practice tests.
Pass the FAA Exam
You’ll get 2 hours to take the 60-question multiple-choice test, and you’ll find our right there if you pass or fail.
Get Your FAA License
After passing your test, complete a 15-minute online application at home. Get your temporary certificate within 4-6 business days, and you’re legal to fly commercially!
WHAT’S ON THE TEST?
The FAA test has 60 multiple-choice questions. You have 2 hours to take the test, and you must get a 70% or higher to pass.
There are 120+ concepts in the UAS Airman Certification Standards. Here are some of the key topics you’ll be tested on:
Drone Laws & FAA Regulations
National Airspace System (NAS)
Reading Sectional Charts
Weather & Micrometeorology
sUAS Loading and Performance
Crew Resource Management
Radio Communication Procedures
Physiological Effects of Drugs & Alcohol
UAV’s Drone Pilot Ground School online test prep course covers all 120+ concepts that may appear on the Part 107 test. Interestingly enough, the FAA does not require that students demonstrate drone flight proficiency in order to get a drone license. The Pilot Program does offer hands-on flight training through in-person flying classes with experienced instructors.
Jon is an Internachi certified home inspector, and the owner of Top Inspections LLC, in Philadelphia, Pa. He holds a part 107 commercial drone license and flies a DJI Mavic Air 2. The company website is https://topinspectionsllc.com
It is becoming much more common for drones to be used for roof and exterior inspections. Drone images can provide a great overall picture of the roof. With a skilled pilot, it is also possible to get in close for detail shots. Drones are especially helpful if the roof is inaccessible due to height, steepness, roof covering material, or poor condition. Some inspectors use a drone for all roof inspections that do not have safe, permanent access. Drone inspections save time and reduce liability. While drone roof inspections cannot completely replace walking the roof when it is safe and appropriate, they are an important tool for an inspector to consider.
The photo below shows a drone photo of a roof and exterior (See Figure 1: Oblique angle drone photograph). The overhead point of view allows the inspector to evaluate many aspects of the roof and exterior in one shot, and get an impression of the overall condition of the outside of the building. For example, in this photo the metal gutters and flashing look worn and corroded, and show evidence of piecemeal repairs. Several slate shingles have been replaced. The bay roof peaks have received a last resort repair using roofing cement. The stone walls show evidence of chronic water management problems. By contrast, the bay windows and scalloped siding appear to be in very good condition.
The photo allows the inspector to conclude that the house roof and exterior has received some localized patching and repairs of various quality, but overall needs to be thoroughly renovated.
There are lots of drones on the market that home inspectors can choose from. Prosumer models feature cameras with resolutions comparable to a high-quality phone. Higher end models have larger photo sensors, zoom lenses, and can include infrared capability. There is plenty of information available for selecting a drone and learning to fly. Beyond that, it is important to fly legally and safely while doing inspections. The purpose of this article is to provide a simple introduction to legal and safe commercial drone operation.
Getting Your Pilot Certificate
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires commercial operators to fly by the rules of Part 107 for small unmanned aircraft systems. To summarize the rules as they apply to home inspection, a Part 107 drone “license” is required if compensation is received for use of the drone images. This includes images in a paid inspection report. For perspective on this federal law, note that posting drone footage on YouTube to promote a business is also considered commercial use. Suffice it to say that home inspectors will need a Part 107 Pilot’s Certificate.
The first step to getting a Part 107 certificate is to create a personal profile with the FAA. This can be done at https://iacra.faa.gov/IACRA/. The FAA calls this profile the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application. The purpose of the profile is to create a digital folder to contain any pilot ratings and aircraft registrations associated with the drone pilot. The FAA will run a background check as part of creating the profile. It is important to note that when the application is approved a unique FAA Tracking Number (FTN) will be assigned to the personal profile. This number will follow the pilot throughout his career. Be sure to write down this number. It will be needed when registering for the exam.
After getting signed up with the FAA, it is time to study for the Part 107 exam. As per the FAA, the exam topics include:
Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation
Airspace classification and operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation.
Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance
Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance
Crew resource management
Radio communication procedures
Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft
Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol
Aeronautical decision-making and judgment
Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures
Operation at night
There are many companies that charge for Part 107 training classes, both in person and online. A typical class costs $150.00. Some people pass the test by watching free YouTube videos. Another good option is to get a review book. The author favors a book called, The Remote Pilot Test Prep 2021, by ASA Test Prep. The FAA publishes a book that is used in conjunction with the ASA book. It is called, FAA-CT-8080-2H Airman Knowledge Testing Supplement for Sport Pilot, Recreational Pilot, Remote Pilot, and Private Pilot.
The key to the ASA book approach is the quizzes at the end of each chapter and the online access to 5 free practice tests that are available with the purchase of the book. The questions and answers on the chapter quizzes and the online tests are very similar to the actual Part 107 exam. The aviation maps, charts and tables in the FAA Airman Knowledge Testing Supplement are nearly identical to those that appear on the real exam.
When working through the ASA test prep book, make sure to understand and review all quiz questions that are missed, and the topics from which the questions are drawn. Make sure to understand all the quiz questions and answers before taking a practice exam. Then take one practice exam and review the missed questions in the same way as the quizzes. Keep reviewing and taking quizzes and then keep taking the exams until a solid passing score is achieved. Once you’re comfortable with the practice exams, it is time to take the real exam.
The test must be scheduled in advance and taken in person. The FAA provides a list of test centers. The fee is $175 for every test attempt. The exam is two hours long, and there are 60 questions. The test results appear in the student’s IACRA file about 48 hours after the exam.
Once the exam results are in the IACRA file, there is one more step to achieving the drone pilot certification. Within the IACRA profile, an application for the Part 107 certification must be submitted to the FAA. Even though the test has been passed, it is still necessary to apply for the certification. If that seems confusing, it is. Just remember the steps: Set up the IACRA profile.
Note the FTN number. Make sure to enter the same FTN number when signing up to take the Part 107 exam. The results of the exam will appear in the IACRA folder a few days later.
Use the exam results to make an application within the IACRA profile, for the Part 107 certification. Once that is completed, a temporary certificate is available online to print out. The permanent airman card showing the Part 107 certification will be mailed to you within a few weeks. Remember that proof of certification needs to be carried with you during all drone operations. By virtue of preparation for and passing the exam, the Part 107 certificate holder understands how to fly safely and legally. The following highlights and introduces some important points, but is by no means a complete explanation.
Rules for Flying
The basic limitations are that a drone must be operated during the day, always in a visual line of sight, and no higher than 400 feet above the ground. The limitations apply in uncontrolled as well as controlled airspace. In uncontrolled airspace, there is either no need for Air Traffic Control (ATC), or it is not practical. The Part 107 remote pilot is expected to fly by the rules anyway.
But in controlled airspace that is usually found around airports and densely populated areas, it is necessary for the part 107 pilot to request authorization from ATC.
Authorization may include additional limitations on altitude and other aspects of drone flight. There are many caveats to these rules. For example, uncontrolled airspace can be temporarily controlled or restricted due to a public event, such as a football game, or the presence of VIPs. The remote pilot finds out about these exceptions by reading the Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS) that are available online.
Inspectors that perform roof inspections in urban and suburban environments often find themselves in controlled airspace. One look at an aviation chart will show how complicated navigating in controlled airspace can be (See Figure 2: Aviation Sectional of Southern Los Angeles, CA). Since the drone pilot is flying in a very localized area and at an altitude safely below manned aircraft, things are a little simpler.
To make things easier for commercial drone pilots, the FAA has partnered with some online sites that provide ATC authorization in near real-time. The system is called the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC). Airmap.com and KittyHawk.io are two websites that will display ATC authorization in real-time. Applying for authorization is almost as simple as placing a pin on a digital map. For each flight, the pilot logs the location, date, and time of the desired flight, the drone that will be used, the altitude and the duration of the flight. Figure 3 shows a screenshot from Airmap.com. Outside the blue circle is uncontrolled air space. The red dots indicate restricted airspace.(See Figure 3: Grid from Airmap.com showing maximum altitude).
Under normal circumstances, the authorization from ATC will come back in a few minutes. Authorization comes with some notes about the flight, relevant Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS), and a brief weather report for the time and location of the flight. It is a good idea to book the flight at least the day before in case there is an issue. For example, if the inspection site is very close to an airport or in a restricted area, the allowed altitude may be reduced to 0. It is good to know that sooner than a few hours before the inspection.
Hopefully, this article has presented a useful introduction to getting a Part 107 license and flying in a controlled airspace. There is a lot more to learn about safe commercial drone flying. The first step is to get an FAA IACRA profile set up. The next is to study for and pass the Part 107 exam. Then, use the results of the Part 107 exam to apply for certification within the IACRA profile. Finally, use LAANC for rapid ATC flight authorization.
NRCIA Members get a discount on education services provided by Drone Pilot Ground School. Sign in and visit the member portal for more information.
NRCIA is excited to announce our new partnership with RAES!
RAES provides solutions exclusively for roofing and exterior contractors with custom management software and business consulting services that optimize your sales, production, and accounting operations.
While business owners and their administrative team might be adept at the professional skills customers expect, the reputation of a company can often be left vulnerable to the shortcomings of subcontractors and other associates. Whether a sales rep neglects to follow-up with a quote, your supplier loses track of your order, or your subcontractor no-call no-shows, as far as the customer is concerned, the buck stops with you and your company.
That is why Robert Budron founded RAES. His company’s driving idea is that, with the right tools, business owners in the roofing and exterior restoration industry can greatly reduce and even eliminate many of the common problems plaguing their reputation with customers. RAES focuses on developing personalized solutions for roofing and exterior contractors through a combination of technology and consultative business services.
We invite you to learn more about RAES and how they are helping owners take back control over their business, and in the process, RAES the industry standard.
By its very nature, the insurance business is somewhat of a gamble. There are, however, ways to keep your customers’ roof claims to a minimum. All it takes is an understanding of your top risks and a knowledge of the right strategies to protect your customers’ property. One of those strategies is to require a specific type of roof certification called a LeakFREE® Roof Certification.
What Is a LeakFREE® Certification and What Does It Entail?
A LeakFREE® Roof Certification is a unique type of certification that can only be offered by members of the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association (NRCIA). This certification is a guarantee on the roof that the guarantor will assume all liability for covered damages of the roof for the certification period, usually two years. The guarantor will either repair or pay for repairs for any covered damages during that time.
A LeakFREE® Roof Certification involves:
+ A thorough roof inspection with a detailed inspection report
+ An assessment of the roof’s current health and validation that it fortified against future damage
+ A warranty is guaranteed for a set length of time, putting the liability on the guarantor for all covered damages during that time
For homeowners, this inspection is a strong asset to have, as many insurance companies will offer discounts for those with a LeakFREE® Roof Certification. In fact, some insurers will only insure homes with LeakFREE® Roof Certifications.
One NRCIA inspector served an older client whose insurance provider would only insure her wood shake roof if she received a LeakFREE® Roof Certification. He inspected her roof and gave her a repair estimate, performed the repairs, and issued her a two-year LeakFREE® Roof Certification. Not only was he able to help her get the homeowner’s insurance she needed, but he continued to inspect and re-certify her roof every two years for the remainder of the roof’s life.
How LeakFREE® Certifications Benefit Insurance Companies
The obvious benefit of a LeakFREE® Roof Certification for homeowners is that they can ensure that they won’t need to pay for any repairs that fall into the certification’s coverage. However, insurance companies benefit as well by reducing the potential of a roof claim.
An insurer can mitigate risks because a roof with a LeakFREE® Roof Certification will not need repairs for any covered damages for the length of the certification. You can rest assured that claims for this period are highly unlikely.
Second, insurers will also benefit by knowing that the roof is getting proper maintenance and repairs during its certification period. This lowers the risk for claims even after the certification period ends because many roof claims are the result of shoddy prior repairs or a lack of past maintenance. Not only will this save you the expense of paying out claims for roof repairs, but it will save you in claims for internal home damage that occurs from a roof failure, such as interior water damage from leaks.
Mitigating your risks for a roof claim is more important now than ever and this need will likely continue to rise because roofing claims appear to be increasing. For example, one particular company reported a 25% increase in roof claims from 2019 to 2020. We are also seeing increases in some of the top causes of roofing damage, such as hail losses which cost up to $14 billion per year, and fire losses which cost an average of $28 billion per year.
As climate change continues, hailstorms and wildfires are expected to increase along with other causes of roof damage. In this time of increasing risks and losses, any steps you can take to lower your claims and losses will be critical to your bottom line.
Encouraging LeakFREE® Roof Certifications Among Your Customers
If you want to reap the benefits of LeakFREE® Roof Certifications, it may be as easy as implementing a new policy for your customers. You may choose to require these specialized certifications in select circumstances or to offer a discount to any customer with a LeakFREE® Roof Certification.
In either case, the NRCIA is available to help you learn more about LeakFREE® Roof Certifications, how to entice your customers to receive them, and how to educate your customers about the benefits. Contact the NRCIA today to learn more.