SB 326

SB 326: Davis-Sterling Act, Civil Code Section 5551

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    SB 326, signed into law on August 30, 2019, added two new statues to the Davis-Sterling Act, Civil Code section 5551 and 5968:

    Civil Code section 5968 invalidated and voids developer-friendly provisions in Governing Documents that require homeowner votes prior to filing a construction defect lawsuit.

    Civil Code section 5551 adds a requirement for Associations to perform inspections of balconies and other exterior structural elements that the Association is obligated to maintain; any “Exterior Elevated Elements” for which the Association has a repair or maintenance responsibility are to be inspected. This generally includes any load-bearing components that extend beyond the exterior walls of the building to deliver structural loads to the building. This primarily includes balconies, decks, stairways, walkways, and railings that are supported by wood or wood-based products and are more than six feet above ground.

    The Associations impacted by Civil Code section 5551 are Associations with buildings with three or more multifamily dwellings. Inspections must be performed by a licensed structural engineer or architect. Larger Associations may also need a statistician, as the statute requires requires a statistically relevant sample size (95% confidence level, 5% margin of error). These inspections must be completed every nine (9) years. The first inspection must be completed by the end of 2024. Buildings constructed after the law goes into effect need to complete the first inspection within six (6) years of issuance of a certificate of occupancy.

    Visual inspections must confirm that areas are in a “generally safe condition” and “performing in accordance with applicable standards.” If the inspector finds that the waterproofing system is compromised, or that there is a risk of damage to the load bearing components of the building, they are to use their best judgement to recommend further inspections. If there are any threats to the safety of residents, the inspector must notify the Association immediately and governmental inspection agencies within fifteen (15) days of issuing their report. The Association must act immediately to prevent access to dangerous areas and take other appropriate preventative measures necessary to protect the safety of the residents.

    The inspectors written report must include: identification of the applicable building components subject to inspection; current physical condition of components and whether there is a present threat to the health and safety of residents; expected future performance of the components and remaining useful life; and recommendations for any repairs. Report must be stamped or signed and included in the Association’s Reserve Study (and preserved in Association’s records for a period of at least two inspection cycles).

    SB 326 Inspections with CMA

    CMA Consulting staff are SB 326 Specialists committed to working in partnership with your Association to ensure that the Association is in compliance with the California Legislation commonly referred to as SB 326, Civil Code Section 5550-5551.

    CMA Consulting has partnered with a local San Francisco Bay Area engineering firm to strategically plan out and implement the required inspections in a cost-effective manner.

    Please contact Jordan Hindiyeh, Director of Department 326, for a Proposal, Estimate, and Plan to move forward as soon as possible. This may seem costly now, but it will avoid major costs in the future when up against an inflexible deadline.