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California Adopts Emergency Building Standards Regulations Aimed at Preventing Repeat of Berkeley Balcony Tragedy

California Adopts Emergency Building Standards Regulations Aimed at Preventing Repeat of Berkeley Balcony Tragedy

New regulations go into effect immediately & govern exterior balconies and walkways

SACRAMENTO - In the wake of the tragic collapse of a balcony that killed and severely injured several people in Berkeley in the summer of 2015, the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) today voted to approve emergency regulations to enhance building standards for the construction of exterior elevated elements.

These emergency regulations impact the construction of balconies, exterior stairs and walkways for residential occupancies, hotels, motels, apartment buildings, state-owned buildings and public schools.

“California’s building codes serve to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of the public – the code’s very essence is the protection of life and property from hazards,” said Mia Marvelli, Executive Director of the CBSC. She continued, “We are hopeful that today’s action can bring some small solace to the families and friends of the victims of this terrible tragedy.” 

The emergency regulations become effective immediately upon filing with the California Secretary of State, allowing them to be utilized by design professionals and local jurisdictions three years earlier than if they were adopted via the traditional rulemaking cycle.

Read the emergency regulations, here and the Finding of Emergency, which is the basis for taking action immediately, here

In April 2016, the Building Standards Commission convened a working group to review building standards pertaining to EEE’s. In December 2016, the working group provided BSC with an update of its work including documents provided by the city of Berkeley, the Structural Engineers Association of California, and the American Wood Council, as well as the recently approved national model building code provisions.


The California Building Standards Commission is a division of the California Department of General Services. DGS acts as the business manager for the state of California. 

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Ziggurat Building Photography


The DGS Office of Public Affairs is responsible for considering requests by professional photographers/videographers who desire access to the Ziggurat building’s 8th floor, northeast balcony in West Sacramento. DGS requires that a photographer is either on assignment from a bona fide news media outlet, or if not a photojournalist, that the photographer maintains a commercial website and/or provides verifiable references. 

Time frames: Photo shoots are limited to 30 minutes during business hours from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, excluding holidays, as our schedule and the meeting room adjacent to the balcony in question allow. DGS public affairs staff will escort photographers into and out of the building and will stay with them throughout the shoot. For photography shoots after business hours, some photographers have chosen to set-up their equipment on the balcony for time-lapse shooting prior to 4:30 p.m. on a business day, they then retrieve their equipment on the next business day. DGS assumes no responsibility for any equipment left unattended in the building. Contact our office at least five working days prior to the proposed day and time of the photography shoot.  Contact:

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