In Focus

Balcony inspections

Teleisha Thomas

Teleisha Thomas

July 2017

The number of balcony collapses at residential apartment blocks is a trend that has both landlords and residents worried…..and fair enough, too.  People should be able to enjoy a little alfresco time at their own home without fear of the balcony or railing dropping away beneath them.

Residents and landlords often ask their property manager to check their balcony’s condition, unfortunately it’s a job that property managers aren’t qualified to do, but a quick phone call can have the right person on hand quickly.

We can call in the experts if you have concerns about the safety of your balcony. While Property Managers just aren’t trained to make those kinds of inspections, we can assist in arranging a builder or building inspector check it out properly.

Melbourne House Check director, Matthew Flood says building inspectors know the danger signs to look for in older timber balconies and newer concrete and brick constructions, and will provide a report on the balcony’s condition and include recommendations on safety improvements, if required.

“We provide a written report. There would be photographs involved, diagrams on what timber needs replacing and what we think is safe and unsafe,” Matthew says. “If we think it’s structurally unsafe we give a recommendation that it needs replacing. If it’s a concrete one and it’s cracked and needs some underpinning work, we’d recommend that an engineer needs to get involved and give property rectification techniques.”

Matthew says the age and quality of construction of some balconies means they could potentially be unsafe.

“It depends on a lot of things, like the type of balcony. If it’s a timber balcony, you’re obviously looking for signs of decay, and things like whether the balustrading is safe or it meets safety requirements,” he says.

“Sometimes on the older ones the spacings of the balustrades are a little too wide or not high enough or things like that. We make notes about whether we think it meets Australian standards or it’s going to be a safety issue.”

Regular balcony checks should be a part of every apartment block’s ‘essential services maintenance’ program, and landlords and building owners should speak to their owners corporation to ensure checks are carried out.

While property managers aren’t able to carry out inspections themselves, they’ll be more than happy to arrange a professional inspection.

If your owners corporation hasn’t organised a balcony inspection, or you don’t have an owners corporation overseeing your property, we can certainly assist with arranging a professional inspection to give you peace of mind over the condition of your balcony.

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