If California's Senate Bill 721 is adopted without modification by that state's legislature, periodic inspections of enclosed balconies and similar structures on multi-family buildings that are higher than 6 feet above the ground would be required statewide. This is a common-sense measure, especially in light of the Berkeley balcony collapse in 2015 that killed six students. But as Bill Leys points out in an interesting post on PDB's LinkedIn group, one of the groups that would be authorized under the law to perform these inspections, make repair-or-replace recommendations, and certify that repairs have been properly completed are structural pest control licensees. While these folks are certainly knowledgeable about the damage that pests can inflict on a building and able to identify rot, they aren't necessarily trained in building science or understand proper waterproofing techniques. And Leys makes a good argument that even the other groups identified in the draft bill—general contractors, architects, and engineers—aren't qualified to perform these inspections, despite their skills and training.

So, who is qualified to inspect balconies? People who have been in the trades, and who have real-world experience installing waterproof outdoor structures, says Leys, who notes that there are many qualified individuals who could perform these inspections but who would be prevented from doing so if the bill passes with its current language. Of course, NADRA (the North American Deck & Railing Association) offers a deck-inspection course, and Leys believes that it would be a simple matter to develop and promote a similar course on how to inspect waterproof decks and balconies, with a checklist of items to use during the inspection. I don't know if you need to be a California resident to weigh in on the matter, but deck builders and other interested parties can review the bill and make comments to the bill's author, Senator Jerry Hill.