Balcony space is a highly coveted feature for any home or apartment. You can use it to house flowers and herbs or as an outdoor gathering space perfect for enjoying Los Angeles weather. However, not all balconies are created equal, as many begin to deteriorate over time.
Since having a secure balcony is critical for resident safety and structural security, balcony repairs are needed if problems arise.
Are you in need of balcony repairs in the greater Los Angeles area? In some cases, balcony inspections are required.
“The Balcony Bill”
Balcony remodeling is a step that many homeowners wish to take for aesthetic purposes, but balcony repair is often less optional. California Senate Bill 721 was signed into law on September 17, 2018, mandating inspections and potential repairs for multi-family residential buildings of three or more units that contain balconies, stairs, and decks constructed entirely or mostly out of wood support.
Also known as “The Balcony Bill,” SB 721 was signed into effect to prevent deaths from collapsing balconies after six people lost their lives in Berkeley in 2015 due to a balcony collapse.
The Balcony Bill includes balconies, decks, stairways, walkways, porches, and entry structures that have more than six feet of elevation. Inspections and repairs are required to ensure resident safety.
Since Southern California is vulnerable to seismic activity, having unsecured wooden structures can pose a serious safety threat to residents. Having a balcony that is not secured can also threaten the building stability and any residents below the unit if damages occur during a balcony collapse. Therefore, wood-framed and structurally compromised balconies require a professional inspection.
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Is an Inspection Needed?
Many building owners find themselves questioning if balcony repair or balcony crack repairs are needed for their structures. How do you know if you need a balcony inspection? Inspections are required for buildings that contain three or more living units and have substantial wood-based balcony support. Exterior walking surfaces that are six feet or more above the ground in buildings that meet these criteria require inspections.
While some might think only older buildings need balcony repair, the inspections do not discriminate against building age. Any structures that meet the criteria require an inspection without exceptions. Keep in mind that some concrete balconies contain wood floor joints as support. If a substantial amount of the balcony or exterior walking space support comes from wood, then an inspection is required by law.
Spotting Signs of Damage
In addition to buildings that require balcony inspections by law, homeowners and building owners should take precautions to ensure that all outdoor structures that contain walking space are secured. Signs that repair is needed include sagging balconies and walkways. Soft spots can be noted when standing or walking on balconies and outdoor walking areas, indicating that the safety of these structures is compromised. Additionally, loose handrails pose a safety threat that should be corrected immediately by professionals. Cracks are also a sign of damage, as is intrusive water or improperly drained water.
Balcony crack repair should always be handled professionally to determine if the damage is structural or surface. If balcony damage is classified as posing an immediate safety risk, then emergency repairs will be needed. All other building owners will have 120 days post-inspection to correct any identified damages. Local building departments may grant time extensions as needed. However, delaying the process could lead to jeopardized resident safety.
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Future Balcony Codes
In addition to SB 721, there are other codes that California residents should be prepared to meet. Civil Code §5551 requires visual inspections for condominium associations starting in 2025. This includes all load-bearing components that are primarily supported by wood and that stand at least six feet above the ground.
Follow-up inspections must occur every nine years to ensure that conditions have not worsened.
The building inspector must also submit a report to the board speaking on the condition of the structure. Keep in mind that balcony repair laws exist for a reason. Balcony damage can quickly lead to compromised building safety. Cracks in the balcony can cause water intrusion, which can cause issues during cold weather and lead to the formation of more cracks.
This process could lead to structural damage to the building. Additionally, problems such as loose railings provide a clear code violation that could lead to injury or death. Balcony codes, therefore, exist to protect and save lives.
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Call the Professionals
Balcony repair and balcony remodeling are projects that should be handled by professionals. Balconies and exterior walkways can cause serious safety risks if not properly constructed and secured. Additionally, legal problems can arise if your balcony does not adhere to current codes. A professional evaluation will be able to determine if any work is needed on your balcony to secure the structure. Professional contractors can also assist in securing the necessary construction permits and ensuring that the balcony work meets all current codes.
Balcony repair can attend to many failing areas of the structure. In addition to correcting damage, waterproofing and drainage solutions, preventative action against damage, carpeting or tiling, and sealing services can be provided. Booking a balcony repair or remodel will ensure that your balcony both looks its best and is secured to provide a safe gathering space for many happy years to come.
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At California Foundation Works, we are happy to offer premium services at a fraction of the cost to ensure that your home is structurally sound within budget. We offer a wide range of home and yard services to accommodate homeowner wants and needs.
Our company values include open communication, client collaboration, and a dedication to delivering the best version of your home possible. Interested in scheduling any services? Call today to discuss questions or book your initial consultation!
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