Following the tragic Berkeley balcony collapse in 2015, California law was changed to require inspections of “exterior elevated elements” at regular intervals for condominiums, common interest developments and apartment buildings. It is critical that property managers and community association board members comply with these new laws, both for the safety of residents and to avoid possible penalties for failure to comply with the Davis-Sterling Act. For more information about these legal requirements and Garcia | Marsalli, LLP’s balcony inspection program, please click here.

Single-family homeowners need to be just as mindful about the condition of these exterior features even though the law does not require subsequent inspections post completion. We have seen shocking balcony construction flaws over the years, and all of these homes were approved by the local building department during original construction.

Deck and balcony problems can be due to poor workmanship and construction, such as missing or improperly installed sheet metal flashings, poor priming and painting, poor quality materials, as well as design flaws, water damage, or excessive building movement. Sometimes, the problems may not be visible to the naked eye and can only be identified by a trained expert and/or following testing.

Our inspectors will look for the following types of issues during a balcony/deck assessment:

The photos below show just some of the conditions we have observed in our clients’ properties:

DISCLAIMER: The photos above are for illustration and reference purposes only. Your property may or may not have the issues represented above, and no legal representations, guarantees or warranties are made with respect to the ability to recover for the same or similar issues. The existence of a defect or construction problem, including those illustrated above, does not necessarily mean that there is a legal basis for recovery. There are several statutes of limitations, applicable laws, building codes and possible legal defenses which will impact a homeowner’s or homeowner associations’ ability to assert a claim and recover damages or other legal relief. Questions about the foregoing should be directed to one of our attorneys.

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