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SB721 and SB326 Compliance: Inspecting EEEs in Apartment-to-Condo Conversions in CA header
SB721 and SB326 Compliance: Inspecting EEEs in Apartment-to-Condo Conversions in CA header
SB721 and SB326 Compliance: Inspecting EEEs in Apartment-to-Condo Conversions in CA header

Context: Following the fatal collapse of a balcony at an apartment building in Berkeley, California, the State’s legislators passed multiple laws mandating inspection of certain building features at multifamily properties. For apartments, the applicable law is found under California Health and Safety Code Sec. 17973, more commonly referred to by the bill resulting in its passing: Senate Bill No. 721, or “SB-721,” or even sometimes just “SB721.” For condominium associations, the applicable law if found under the California Civil Code Sec. 5551, and was passed into law via Senate Bill No. 326, or “SB326.”

What happens when an apartment building is converted into condominiums?

The Challenge: Our client was part of an investment group acquiring an ultra-high end luxury apartment building along the coast in an exclusive neighborhood just north of Los Angeles. The goal of the acquisition was to ultimately convert the apartments into condominiums to be offered for sale. Knowing that either or both SB721 and SB326 would apply, an investigation of the concealed framing members of the property’s exterior elevated elements (or “EEEs” as we refer to them) was needed. To add even further complexity, this property was currently in escrow under a purchase and sale agreement, and the inspection of the EEEs would need to be performed as part of the due diligence process. Our client didn’t even own the property yet!

The Solution: Based on the many decades of forensic experience on the part of the senior consultants leading the VERTEX team, a customized inspection and reporting program was developed in collaboration with the client team. Over the course of a 5-day period, 100% of the property’s EEEs were fully evaluated, including a visual inspection of all exposed surfaces, along with borescope inspection of the concealed framing members. In total, 108 balconies, 8 stair assemblies, 31 landings and more than 2/3 of a mile of elevated walkways were inspected.

Given the fact that nearly every tenant on the rent roll had their own IMDB page, Wikipedia entry, or both, and especially considering that the property was in the process of being sold, it was essential that no trace was left of our inspection process. Workers and inspectors wore protective shoe coverings along with their standard PPE while entering units to access the multiple private balconies at each. Our subcontractor carefully patched every hole made for the borescope inspection process, removing any debris, and then later returned to each unit to paint the patches to match adjacent finishes.

The preliminary findings were delivered to the client within one business day of our last day on site. This allowed the partners to finalize the terms of the closing, update their capital improvement plans, and ultimately move forward with confidence having a much better understanding of the current condition and expected future service life of their investment’s balconies, stairs, landings and exterior elevated walkways.

To learn more about VERTEX’s Construction Contracting & Consulting services or to speak with a Construction Expert, call 888.298.5162 or submit an inquiry.