California Senate Bill 721: Balcony Inspections & How Removable Balcony Vents Can Save You Money

California SB-721 was written and enacted to add a new level of public safety to balconies, decks, and other external, elevated elements. Under the law, owners must schedule regular and exacting inspections for any building with three or more multi-family dwelling units.

This bill excludes condos (covered under SB 326), developments, and apartment complexes. However, apartment-to-condo conversions done after Jan. 1, 2019, must be inspected before the first close of escrow.

Inspections must be performed by a qualified professional, completed by Jan. 1, 2025, and done every six years after that. To make the re-inspections easier and less costly and to prevent moisture buildup and damage inside the balcony, the property owner should install an easily removable one-hour fire-rated hinged balcony inspection vent.   

If you’re a property owner impacted by SB-721, Brandguard Vents’ fire-rated removable balcony vents can save you time and money while helping you avoid complex ramifications for non-compliance.

Call 949-305-8059 to learn more about how removable balcony vents are effective for balcony safety and inspection law compliance.

What Property Owners Need To Know

The “balcony law” covers more than balconies. Other affected exterior elevated elements include:

  • Decks
  • Porches
  • Stairways
  • Walkways
  • Entry structures higher than 6 feet above ground level

While steel structures are not regulated by SB-721, it’s important to check with local authorities to see if your community has adopted more stringent laws.

Fines for Non-Compliance

If an inspection finds cause for repairs, owners have 180 days to bring the building into compliance. Consequences for failing to do so include:

  • Notifying the owner and local law enforcement that the repairs were not made
  • An additional 30-day deadline for completing repairs
  • A civil penalty of between $100 and $500 for every day the repairs are not made after the 30 days expire

What Inspections Entail

Under SB-721, inspectors have 45 days to present owners with their findings. If immediate repairs are necessary, the inspector must report to the property owner within 15 days and give a copy to local law enforcement. As a property owner, you must keep any inspection reports for at least two inspection cycles.

Comprehensive inspections include:

  • Photos
  • Test results
  • A baseline for future inspections

The three most common outcomes after an inspection are:

  • No repairs needed
  • Non-emergency repairs that must be done within a set time period
  • Emergency repairs to make an external elevated element safe for use

If you’re required to make emergency repairs, another inspection that’s also reported to law enforcement must be performed.

Have more questions about SB-721? Call 949-305-8059 to schedule a consultation and inspection.

Brandguard Vents’ Fire-Rated Removable Balcony Vents

One of the greatest features of our latest balcony vents is that they’re openable, which helps property owners avoid expensive repair work triggered by regular inspections.

In fact, our tested and proven removable balcony vents are the only ones on the market that meet WUI requirements for use in wildfire risk areas. They’re also ASTM E2886-tested, ASTM 119 – one hour fire-rated, and CAL Fireapproved.

Facts to know:

  • Our removable vents come in 4″ and 6″ widths and a standard 60″ length.
  • Installation flange options include nail flange front (FF) and stucco flange (PG). Custom sizes and custom installation flanges are also available.
  • They’re easy to install, retrofit, and paint.
  • They’re available in custom colors and various materials.
  • Each version comes with a 30-year warranty.

Plus, all our balcony vents have overlapping baffle protection that directs airflow, helping prevent rot and provide resistance against ember, flame, and radiant heat intrusion. We also offer installation services. 

Ready to learn more about Brandguard Vents’ fire-rated removable balcony vents? Contact us online or call 949-305-8059.


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