By now many people have read the story of a deck collapse in a vacation rental in Georgia…9 people were injured, including several senior citizens. Fortunately no one died.
The pictures of the “accident” show a typical deck collapse scene, the rotted wood at the house to deck connection, the furniture and deck spilled all over the ground, rescue crews giving first aid and transporting victims to the hospital.
As a professional performing deck inspections I can say that I see this typical scene over and over, particularly on single family homes and it seems, very often that they are on rental properties. After viewing this picture above I tweeted out to Airbnb and VRBO that they could help lead the drive to deck safety by requiring owners to have professional inspections signed off before they can rent the property and let people use the deck. Very often on rental properties there are a number of people visiting having a party on the deck and then they go over to the edge of the railing where the view is to have a picture taken of the group and that’s when the decks framing becomes overloaded and the deck crashes to the ground.
Influential and powerful companies like VRBO and Airbnb have the ability to drive owners to have inspections performed on the deck. Insurance companies can also start requiring inspections of decks before they insure a property.
As a professional inspector whenever I am at a party or someone’s house with a deck on it I will walk underneath the deck and take a look at the connections between the house and the deck, the framing the posts etc., to make sure that I am not going to be the victim if the deck comes down. That may make me sound like a Debbie Downer but I’ve seen the results of too many deck collapses hospitalizations, death, long-term injury. The Berkeley deck collapse should have been a wake-up call Nationwide but we just ended up going back to the usual and typical shrugging and saying not much we can do…
Well there are things we can do, we can require inspections on vacation rentals where it’s likely that large groups of people will gather in the deck. We can stop or severely reduce deck collapses by requiring owners to have their decks inspected yearly. A typical deck inspection might run $250 to $350…
To paraphrase Rage Against the Machine, “It has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime What better place than here, what better time than now?” It’s time to start fixing this preventable problem.
We are excited to announce that we have been selected to perform the balcony inspections for an HOA in Pasadena CA by the Board of Directors.
The Associations cantilevered decks are subject to SB 326 requirements and we brought a very competitive cost to perform Stage 1 inspections. We are pleased to be the firm selected from amongst very worthy peers who also bid this project.
When your Association is ready to get a proposal for balcony inspections we hope to reach out to us. We guarantee that we have no conflicts of interest, we guarantee that we only use a Structural Engineer who will inspect and then sign your report and we do our best to bring you the best price in the industry. Contact us today using the contact form on the left side of this web page or call Bill Leys directly at 805-801-2380.
We are pleased to announce that Shoreline Condominiums in Santa Barbara has selected William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC to perform their SB 326 balcony inspections.
Shoreline Condominiums has over 60 decks, multiple walkways and bridges for pedestrians and numerous stairs supported by wood framing that requires inspection under the bill.
Clients understand how important choosing the right inspection company is to perform these vital inspections and appreciate that I guarantee in writing that I have no conflicts of interest. I don’t own a waterproofing company or have any interest in any company’s products that I might specify to repair your decks.
Call me today to schedule a free EEE evaluation of your property. 805-801-2380. Ask for Bill,bI answer the phone every time and you’ll be in good hands.
We are pleased to announce that we’ve signed a contract with Carhill Condominiums in San Luis Obispo to perform Stage 2 inspections of the Associations EEEs.
Stage 2 inspections include destructive testing and borescope camera inspections after our Structural Engineer determined after a Stage 1 inspection that water was getting past the building envelope into structural members of the EEEs.
Bill Leys, president of William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC said ” We are fast becoming the choice of HOA managers and Associations to perform SB 326 inspections because of our commitment to being free of conflicts of interest by guaranteeing in writing that we do not own any contacting firm, bid on any work or have any interest in any products we may specify for repairs and restoration of an Associations EEEs. Managers recognize that low ball bids for balcony inspections come from firms that own waterproofing companies that want to do the repair work. These companies know they can pad the cost of inspections into the cost of repairs and the Association is hoodwinked into thinking they got a deal. William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC always seeks 3 bids for Stage 2 inspections and 3 bids for repairs to structural elements.”
The experts at William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC invite your Association to come experience our professionalism, expertise and no conflicts of interest guarantee and see why we are becoming the choice of HOA professionals to perform EEE inspections.
We are excited to announce that we were selected to perform the balcony inspections at Varsity Park HOA in Moorpark by the Board of Directors of the HOA under SB 326.
The property is managed by A Diamond Management located in Thousand Oaks.
Bill Leys, President of William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC said the award of the contract to the firm is another sign that the managers of associations recognize the experience of the company and that the firm’s competitive pricing allows HOAs to be able to afford the best deck inspectors in the industry. “A lot of other companies don’t have deck inspectors who have actually installed deck waterproofing systems like I have. Years of experience installing deck systems and tearing apart failed deck systems teaches one a lot more than what ” book learning”: ever can. Real experience makes a difference.”
Please contact us for your free no obligation EEE evaluation and proposal for an SB 326 inspection. We visit every job personally so we know your property, and what it will take to inspect it effectively. We don’t ask you to send us pictures and tell us how many decks you have… That’s not your job to do the deck inspectors job.
See why Bill Leys is The Deck Inspector. Call or email us now.
We are proud to announce that we’ve recently signed agreements with Bella Villeta HOA in Santa Barbara and Hueneme Shores HOA in Port Hueneme for SB 326 balcony inspections.
Bella Villeta HOA is managed by The Management Trust Santa Barbara division and Hueneme Shores HOA is managed by Community Property Management of Camarillo.
Bill Leys, president and owner of William Leys Waterproofing Consultants LLC said ” Managers are reporting to us that our bids are very competitive, our proposals are detailed and very informative and that, along with our guarantee of no conflicts of interest, has led the way in Boards of Directors having an increased trust that they are hiring a reliable firm with years of experience in inspecting decks.”.
Leys has been advocating for deck inspections and inspecting decks since 2007… Long before Berkeley happened and has been a front runner in developing inspection standards, testifying at California State Senate hearings on the balcony bills in 2017.
HOAs and managers needing SB 326 inspections should contact us to get their free EEE evaluation and proposal for the required inspections.
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.
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.
SB-326 Deck inspections, roofing & waterproofing consultants who specialize in working with HOA's and building owners.