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SB 721 (Deck/Balcony) Inspections

Follow this link to the full bill: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB721

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

Estimation Breakdown

  • 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.

What Next?

If you are interested in learning how to provide quality SB 721 Inspections, considering joining the NRCIA and earning your certification

If you are looking for an NRCIA Inspector to complete a SB 721 inspector, click the button below.