I am a balcony inspector; the company that I work for does inspections under the two balcony bills. I speak often with other people in my industry including other balcony inspection company inspectors. We pretty much all agree that there is a lot of confusion amongst owners boards of directors and even the attorneys on interpreting the language in the balcony bills.
SB 326 regulates balcony inspections for condominiums. It requires inspections every 9 years by a structural engineer or an architect. It also requires a much higher percentage of balconies be inspected as opposed to what is required for apartment balcony inspections.
SB 721 regulates balcony inspections for apartments. Under this bill a general contractor can perform balcony inspections.
The balcony bills need to be combined into one to eliminate confusion. The balcony bills need to eliminate general contractors from being able to inspect balconies. The balcony bill purpose is to provide independent unbiased opinions on the condition of the balcony structural elements and waterproofing.
General contractors are suddenly becoming balcony inspectors with only one purpose in mind and that is to wrangle work out of the inspection. As a balcony inspector I do not bid or work on any balconies I only work for my clients best interests in ensuring that the balcony is safe and secure and that if there is work that needs to be done we assist them in making sure that the work is done right.
The general contractor on the other hand is only concerned with feeding his business with more work and balcony inspections can certainly provide that. It’s in the balcony inspectors best interest to find as much as he can and say that it’s at risk when it may or may not be. He does not have your best interests first he has his own.
I have become aware of one company in Southern California that is acting as a deck inspector and the owner of that company also owns a waterproofing and general contracting business that he uses to feed his deck inspection business with and the other way as well. Not only is this a gross conflict of interest it is against any ethical persons idea of acting in the best interests of the client.
In order to keep confusion to a minimum the two balcony bills should be combined into one and ban any inspector from performing any work or bidding for any work on a balcony inspection job that he does for a period of 24 months after the inspection. Regulations governing home inspectors ban them from bidding any work on homes that they inspect. The purpose of this is to keep them on the level and the same needs to be done here.
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