After much internal debate inside my head over whether I should publish a copy of our Waterproofing Report here, I’ve decided to. Much of that debate was should I protect our report from our peers and competitors? Part of me said yes, I should protect it, but the better part of me said, no publish it and let it be seen.
First, I want potential clients to be able to see it, how do I do that? By publishing the sample…Second reason to publish it is to share what I’m doing in an effort to bring transparency and education to the industry. With feedback and peer review, we can all get better at saving lives through better inspection techniques, methods of reporting and improving at every opportunity.
To potential clients, please take a look and read a sample supplemental waterproofing report to our Structural Engineers SB 326 structural report. (The SE’s report is not included in this download.) If you like what you see (and I am regularly updating the template to improve it even more) then get in touch for your free EEE evaluation on your HOA.
To my peers and friends, take a look and see what you think. Send me feedback if you care to. The common goal is to never let Berkeley happen again. Feel free to use anything you see. Adopt it into your reporting. If we can help each other our industry benefits and so do our clients.
We wanted to share a few comments we’ve received this month from several clients and peers that we are working with on various projects…
We don’t ask or solicit anyone to complement us, feeling that’s a little pretentious. We simply work as hard as we can for our clients and with our peers, believing that having a good team in place with clients who appreciate what we do is the key to their projects success.
We specialize in working with HOA’s and building owners who have water intrusion issues and want to get them fixed.
Send us an inquiry using the form on the left side of your screen or call us at 805-801-2380. We look forward to helping you solve your waterproofing issues.
I was going to write an article on SB 326 and discuss the bill and it’s intricacies, although not as a lawyer, because I’m not one and I can’t give legal advice-except to advise you to get legal advice…and so while I’m researching and of course reading other experts articles, opinions etc, I came across one article that stood out from the rest. It was written by David Swedelson.
David Swedelson of Swedleson & Gottlieb LLC is located in Los Angeles CA. David and the firm he is a partner in do a lot of HOA related law work and I’ve known him for nearly 18 years as member/vendors of CAI Channel Islands Chapter. David is passionate about the HOA industry and laws governing the industry. He wrote what I’d basically write-an unvarnished opinion that hits all the issues in the bill and addresses the problems a Board/Association could face if they don’t get their inspections done.
Lets look at some points David makes; On pages 2-3 of the article, David points out the fact that some balconies/walkways may be exempt from needing to be inspected. This is absolutely true; however, as David points out, just because a deck is over living space doesn’t mean it and the railing assembly shouldn’t be inspected. We agree, inspect even if it’s not “required” to be inspected. Decks over living spaces are roofs first, and therefore generally the HOA’s responsibility to maintain, repair and replace. Inspections form the basis for maintenance to ensure building components reach their maximum life expectancy. And inspections cost far less than defending lawsuits if something was to happen.
Under “Who Can Make The Required EEE Inspections” on page 3, David is again totally correct saying that inspections MUST BE MADE BY A LICENSED STRUCTURAL ENGINEER OR ARCHITECT and while a contractor may be involved in the inspection process opening up areas for inspection, a licensed contractor is NOT qualified to make these inspections. Further David cites an example that we see happening all the time, contractors telling associations that they will do the inspections and have their inspections signed off by a licensed architect or structural engineer. YES, YES and YES. I have heard of a civil engineer who has been caught signing an SB 326 report. So Associations need to be very careful with whom they have do their inspections with. We as professional SB 326 inspectors work with, and our reports are appended to the Structural Engineers stamped report. We guarantee in writing that we have no conflicts of interest.
On page 4 David addresses an important point under “What Happens If The Expert Finds Dry Rot Or Other Conditions Affecting The Structural Integrity Of The EEE?” Again, David is correct in saying that the inspector must send a copy of the report to the local code enforcement agency within 15 days of completion of the report. If there are structural defects that presents a hazardous condition, or even a hint of a hazardous condition, the structural engineer isn’t going to say well maybe it won’t collapse; no they are going to default to it’s hazardous and needs immediate attention. Why? Surfside. If you don’t know look it up.
David is correct on the dollar figures and as the deadline looms, experts will get booked up. What he doesn’t mention though is that this will be the time when grifters take full advantage of desperate Associations who are trying to meet the deadline for inspections.
On page 5 of David’s FAQ’s “What If A Board Fails To Comply With The New Balcony Inspection Law?”, David’s points are pointed. There could be a lack of coverage for the Board if an inspection didn’t get done, someone gets injured and sues.
David cites several relevant cases where that happened, and so the judicial deference rule will not protect Boards under all circumstances. Probably not something you as an Association want to be the example on…
All in all, the issues David brings up, the examples etc, all show how important it is for HOA’s to get started sooner rather than later-2025 is 2 years away; far but not that far. It’s going to get busier and busier for balcony inspection companies, and that’s not something that can be changed quickly. There’s only so many us professional and ethical balcony inspection companies and we can only do so many inspections. They take time and so do reports.
Call us today for a free EEE evaluation at your HOA, and take David Swedelson’s words with you as you seek to get your inspections done. We’re at 805-801-2380 or email us through the contact box on the left side of the screen.
“Don’t you love farce? My fault, I fear I thought that you’d want what I want Sorry, my dear! But where are the clowns Send in the clowns Don’t bother, they’re here…” (lyrics by Stephen Sondheim)
I have noticed more and more deck waterproofing and general contracting companies that are suddenly becoming SB 326 balcony inspectors. They try to disguise themselves as balcony inspectors, but the giveaway as to what their true intentions are obvious when you start looking at their websites and offerings…
I see one company in Los Angeles that advertises 50% off balcony inspections; “savings” are applied to repairs…
I see a deck inspection company in Palm Springs that is owned by the same person who owns a waterproofing company out there…
I see a company in Los Angeles that is named after an African animal that looks like a horse saying that they will start demoing your decks and then have the structural engineer come inspect…
Currently the industry is under assault by less than ethical contractors who mislead their clients, use illegal contracts, have attorneys on their payroll that enforce illegal contracts and are just seeking to separate you from your reserve accounts.
They hide behind their reports which are written to suit their needs to try to force you to replace perfectly good balconies by saying that their useful life is a year or less. They use scare tactics, high pressure and lawyers that have the ethics of cockroaches.
When sorting the wheat from the chafe in finding a balcony inspector one must be diligent. Do background checks on the company You can use the secretary of state’s business portal to find who owns what, check Yelp and Google reviews, ask for references, check with other HOA managers about their experience. Insist that your balcony inspector sign a no conflict of interest statement. Insist that your balcony inspector has no ownership interest in any waterproofing or contracting company.
We here at William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC guarantee that we have no conflicts of interest in owning a waterproofing company, any material manufacturer or have any conflicts of interest that would interfere with putting the HOA’s best interest ahead of ours. Reach out today, we don’t have any clowns here.
Lots of people are confused about the SB 326 balcony bill. Inspectors sometimes are too. We get lots of questions about whether an Association EEE’s must be inspected under the bills inspection requirements.
To make it a little easier we compiled this series of photographs showing what types of EEE’s must be inspected and which are exempt. We hope this helps a bit in understanding.
Do you need an SB 326 deck inspection? Call me, Bill Leys, The Deck Inspector today at 805-801-2380 to discuss and set up an appointment to personally evaluate your Associations EEE’s as to whether they must be inspected or if they are exempt.
Starting with decks ad balconies, here are some examples that need to be inspected….
Next are examples of stairs and landings that need to be inspected, with one example of steel stairs that don’t need to be inspected (but the connection of them to the wood framing does need to be inspected).
Walkways supported by wood framing need to be inspected, such as these examples.
So what type of deck/balcony/stair or walkway doesn’t need to be inspected? Anything that is less than 6′ high off the ground (don’t be surprised though is it’s 5′ off the ground and we want to inspect it), made of concrete or steel. And any deck supported by 4 walls like this one below. A solid wall (no columns) must support the deck all the way around for it to be exempt.
This pictorial is not meant to be exhaustive; if you aren’t sure after looking through our pictures, give a call or fill out our contact form. Sending us some pictures always helps too! We are here to help and guide you through the SB 326 process.
We’ve seen a lot of hype over balcony inspection vents here in California. This new product is the result of the SB 326 & SB 721 Balcony Inspection bills that were passed after the deaths of 7 young adults and severe injuries to 6 who survived the collapse of a balcony in Berkeley in 2015.
Essentially balcony inspection vents allow one to easily inspect the interior cavities of a deck enclosed underneath in stucco or other materials. Balcony inspection vents are designed to be installed in a retrofit fashion or on new construction across the bays on a deck. Most are set up with a piano hinge that allows the vent to be opened and the joists and substrate can be observed. Several other less expensive types require the vent to be pulled down after removing several screws.
SB 800 allows for condos to file claims for construction defects within 10 years of completion of the buildings. SB 326 adds additional language that strengthens some of that Bill and improves upon it. While condos may want to pursue construction defect claims, they may want to postpone their Balcony inspection if they suspect they have defects. Why?
Simply because the balcony inspection report becomes part of the association’s records for a minimum of 9 years and is part of the reserve study. A report showing numerous deficiencies may be a red flag to buyers, your insurance company and could cause unintended problems.
One attorney I know recommends pre-inspections of the EEEs and inspections of the building envelope in general. “I strongly recommend a pre-inspection. Open 2 or 3 locations and if there are issues,do repairs first. That way the report isn’t a surprise (and protects property values) and if the project is under 10 years old, the builder pays for inspections and repairs.” We concur and so we offer our clients pre SB326 inspections of EEE’s that are suspected of having damage/ defects.
We will open up several decks/ balconies for inspection of the structural elements. If there are damages and repairs are necessary then the beginning of an SB 800 claim can be started with the developer/builder. At the time of opening the decks and balconies we will document all conditions prior to destructive testing starting and then document while removing materials and exposing structural elements. Items removed will be documented, logged in and retained for evidence in our secure storage location. We will then issue a report to the Board on our findings.
As a structural engineer is not involved at this point and the number of elements that are being opened are limited, the cost to do this is much lower than a SB 326 stage 2 inspection would be.
If you would like a proposal for a Pre-SB326 Inspection, contact us today for a quote.
As the owner of William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC, I’ve been a proponent of doing deck inspections for a very long time. Deck collapses have been happening long before the shocking Berkeley deck collapse that left 6 dead and 7 severely injured on the sidewalk below and they continue with alarming frequency today.
With SB-326 in place, it is important to find the right inspector for your HOA. There are a lot of new inspection companies that have popped up with dubious track records and many have conflicts of interests by also owning a waterproofing company that can just happen to give you a bid… and there are the established firms like William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC that have been doing deck inspections, forensics and construction defect investigations for years and have no conflicts of interest because we don’t bid for any repair work that we may discover.
In 2006 I presented a Powerpoint presentation on decks at the Association of Professional Reserve Advisors (APRA) annual symposium in Rancho Mirage. It was there that an HOA manager approached me about doing deck inspections for his client Associations. My first deck inspection was Montecito HOA in Walnut Creek, an Apartment to Condo conversion. That inspection found numerous defects and deficiencies on the balconies.
From there my inspection business took off and I have been inspecting decks and balconies on buildings all over California for 16 years now. We are recommended by HOA management firms, Reserve Study companies such as CACM Services in Long Beach, B&W Management in Arroyo Grande and Facilities Advisors International LLC.
Read our reviews from over the years I’ve been doing inspections here- Reviews & Recommendations and you’ll see the same consistent theme, how our expertise made a difference.
Put our expertise to work for your Association today, starting with a free SB-326 EEE evaluation of your property. We’ll calculate what EEE’s need to be inspected and give you a free proposal for the work. I think you’ll find our pricing competitive and our work exceptional. Email Bill Leys at LeysWaterproofingConsultants@gmail.com today to get started.
For an HOA’s reserve accounts there is no word that could be possibly any more dangerous than the word free. Board members hear that word and everything else becomes a dull roar.
“Well they said they were going to do a free inspection if we contracted for the work and we know we have work to do anyway so we may as well kill two birds with one stone.” Well not an actual quote but close enough to what I’ve been told a couple times. My response has been simply there is no such thing as free.
First question is are they inspecting with a structural engineer or an architect on stage 1? If not then the report is not valid if it’s robo stamped.
Second question Is aren’t you supposed to get three bids for the repairs? Why are you not following the CC&Rs that require three bids on any capital expenditures?
Last question is do you really think that you were getting the best price on the repair work? Reality is is they have found an easy mark and are ready to separate your HOA from its money.
Don’t fall for free. You get exactly what you pay for. The experts at William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC Do not give away their services for free but we also don’t contract for any work. We work in the association’s best interests and ensure that your money is spent well on repairs that are necessary. With our no conflict of interest guarantee you know that we are working for you and will advise you to the best of our ability with the knowledge that we have so that you can make the best decisions for your association.
Call us today at 805-801-2380 or go to the contact box to the left and send us a message.
William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC is pleased to announce that the firm has joined the Channel Islands Chapter of CAI.
We are pleased to be a member and offer our SB-326 Balcony Inspection services, along with roof consulting, below grade waterproofing consulting and expert witness and construction defect investigations.
Member managers and Board members can look forward to having a company that can provide competitive bids, waterproofing expertise and absolute integrity in it’s interactions with clients, contractors, competing vendors and the general public. Look for us at upcoming Channel Island Chapter events, I’ll be posting dates/times and places of where and when we’ll be there.
Do you need a balcony inspection? Reach out today and request your free EEE evaluation and quote. We have partnered with a structural engineer and can provide your Association with a report that meets and exceeds the SB-326 Balcony inspection requirements.