Question for California Inspectors

A question around InterNACHI headquarters has come up regarding how SB-721 is affecting CPIs in California.
As all of you know, SB-721 requires most decks in California to be inspected by Jan 1, 2025. These inspections must be done by inspectors that satisfy California requirements.

The clause below is from the bill. I am thinking that the words that I put in bold could allow CPIs and CMIs to do these inspections. Am I correct?

Article 2.2 (a) The inspection shall be performed by a licensed architect; licensed civil or structural engineer; a building contractor holding any or all of the “A,” “B,” or “C-5” license classifications issued by the Contractors’ State License Board, with a minimum of five years’ experience, as a holder of the aforementioned classifications or licenses, in constructing multistory wood frame buildings; or an individual certified as a building inspector or building official from a recognized state, national, or international association, as determined by the local jurisdiction.

The very last phrase will give you the answer, in my opinion. The only way to know for sure is to contact the local AHJ.

“…as determined by the local jurisdiction.”

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My local area (originators of the problem that led to the law) says no. YMMV. Do write back with how it goes.

This is despite the skillset of an experienced inspector likely being above that of a contractor or god forbid an architect.

In our area it’s mostly pest guys w/contractor’s licenses, and in fact they do mostly WDO type things.

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Good to know. Can you still include inspecting the deck as part of your regular inspection and make recommendations for repair or correction?

Yeah, that’s why I said “could allow CPIs…”

Absolutely.
What I look for are the vent strips, and might even ask to see the record of the last regulated deck inspection.

I wrote up and proposed a Nachi course module on this topic a while back… while the Nachi module did not happen I still think it’s a good topic for all inspectors to at least be aware of even if the local area does not require it (for example on residential). The issues are the same: enclosed stucco cantilever elements are vulnerable to rot. The more the builder used sticky tar flashing without understanding that tar flashing is impermeable, the worse the problem.

California is emphasizing that visual assessments are not enough to properly analyze a deck structure, which is why I think they purposely left out home inspectors. They want wood samples taken and lab testing to verify the strength of the wood reviewed by architects, engineers, and building inspectors that will be putting their license / reputation on the line.

There are several engineering firms in Northern CA that are specializing in SB-721. I suspect they will be quite busy in 2024.

With the above, I do not see home inspectors being impacted.

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The way I read it, I agree.

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In theory, yes a CPI/CMI could.

But this is an invasive inspection that goes well beyond the scope or knowledge of a typical home inspector. Typical HI insurance wouldn’t cover this

I attended an in-depth presentation on this last year, and I’m leaving this to engineers.

The amount of work it would take to certify an entire building wouldn’t be worth it to a single inspector or even an inspection firm as the scale of the requirements needs a team of people for drilling, inspecting, patching, etc.

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^ THIS.

1000% agreed.

Great info. Thanks.

In my area the first work on a building installs inspection strips, and subsequent inspections are non-invasive. We’ve had the rule for way more than 5 years, so in theory at least 100% of the housing stock has been inspected – and on the ground this seems to be true.

Various local jurisdictions adopted codes prior to SB-721.
For example Berkeley CA allows only:

Who are considered “licensed professionals”?
• Licensed general contractors (http://www.cslb.ca.gov/)
• Licensed (branch 3) structural pest control operators (http://www.pestboard.ca.gov/)
• Licensed architects (http://www.cab.ca.gov/)
• Licensed civil engineers and licensed structural engineers (http://www.bpelsg.ca.gov/)
All must have current and clear licensure in the State of California.

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That said I feel that ALL inspectors EVERYWHERE should do some version of this inspection routinely: to increase the chance of catching an enclosed cantilever beam rot failure.

It’s a good inspection to do, even if your work does not meet the legislated inspection requirement. Nothing keeps you from observing and reporting rot, even if you’re the wrong type of inspector.