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.