Los Angeles property owners must keep their buildings extra secure with the ever-present threat of seismic activity. Balcony damage indicates a vulnerability in structural security that needs to be addressed. What should a homeowner do if they discover a balcony crack? Read on to discover what you need to know about balcony and deck repair in Los Angeles.
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L.A. Balcony Repair Basics
California Senate Bill 721, also known as “The Balcony Bill,” was signed into law on September 17, 2018. This bill requires inspections and repairs to take place for balconies, stairs, and decks in multi-family residential buildings with greater than two dwelling units that contain structures that substantially rely on wooded support. L.A. building owners who have properties with such characteristics are required by law to receive a building inspection.
The bill was signed into law following the tragic death of six people after an apartment balcony collapse in Berkeley as a result of weakened support due to decaying wood. Elevated structural areas that rely on wooded support have since been called into question as building owners in Los Angeles must rectify all vulnerable elements to ensure resident safety.
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Necessity of Repairs
Ignoring a necessary balcony repair or deck repair could seriously endanger L.A. residents. Wood structures are susceptible to water damage, termite infestation, gradual wear and tear, and elemental damage. Load-bearing structures are particularly vulnerable to weakening over time. The new law now mandates that necessary inspections and repairs occur for all exterior elevated elements.
Failing to address a potentially serious issue such as a balcony crack could jeopardize the safety of residents in the building. Inspections are needed for properties with greater than two dwelling units that have elements that significantly rely on wooden material for stability. These elements include all elevated structures that are more than six feet above the ground. This could refer to balconies, decks, stairways, porches, raised walkways, and more.
Signs of Balcony Damage
Los Angeles buildings that meet the listed requirements must receive inspections. However, additional building owners might realize that their balconies and elevated external structures also require balcony repairs. Natural wear and tear can be expected after several years of use. However, there is a difference between a balcony losing its aesthetic appeal and one becoming a hazard.
Signs that a balcony repair is needed include balcony cracks, flooring surface damage, rotten posts, stains and discoloration, unstable railings, creaky floorboards, splintering, cracks, and loose nails or screws. If any of these warning signs are noted, it’s important to book a balcony inspection immediately. Balcony and deck repair are processes that should not be stalled.
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Dangers of Not Acting
Even structures that contain concrete might have wooden support elements in areas such as floor joints. Therefore, more Los Angeles buildings may require mandated inspections than people initially realize.
Structures that are identified to be an immediate safety risk will have occupant access prevented. Emergency repairs can be made to ensure the safety of the building and residents.
Buildings that require balcony inspection will be assessed for structural damage. Balcony repair differs from structure to structure depending on the degree of damage. A licensed contractor will be able to provide an accurate project estimate. However, Los Angeles building owners need to be aware of deadlines.
Balcony Repair Details
After the L.A. building owner receives their inspection report, they will have 230 days to apply for required repair work permits. Another 120 days are then allotted for all required repairs once the permit is approved. Extensions will have to be approved by the local building department.
In addition to balcony and deck repair, restoration services can be provided. Waterproof coating systems, replacement elements, structural security, and flashing details are all options. A full repair might include concrete repairs to ensure that the structure and its railings are fully secured depending on the issue at hand. Some building owners opt for additional waterproofing elements for added safety.
Why Us? Why Now?
Don’t allow a balcony crack to turn into a structural stability risk. If your elevated outdoor structure requires an inspection by law, or if you are concerned about the structural stability of your building, act now.
At California Foundation Works, we’re happy to guide you through the entire process from the first inspection to the final touches. We will ensure that your greater Los Angeles area building meets all current California codes. Don’t delay when it comes to the safety of your residents and the property value of your building.
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