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Is your balcony a liability?

Spring and Summer in Australia tend to draw us all outside – to the beach, the river or park, into the garden or onto the balcony. If your favourite outside room is a balcony, take time out now to check that it is in good repair.

Wooden balconies and decks are often subject to water damage and rot, and should they collapse, can result in serious injury. Furthermore, many of the timber decks built in the sixties and seventies were constructed of inappropriate timber which is now rotting and becoming unsafe, especially with extra weight being placed on them.

Structures that pose most risk are those that rely on timber beams for support, though any balcony or raised deck, whether it is timber, concrete or features steel supports, should be checked out regularly for safety.

Some warning signs include:

– Rusting bolts and brackets;
– holes or cuts in the balcony floor surface or balustrades where water might get in;
– the balcony moves when walked on;
– damp spots or stains where the balcony joins the main part of the building;
– rust stains and cracks, particularly near joints and corners;
– shaky handrails and balustrades;
– balustrades where damp spots or stains can be seen on the cladding.

If warning signs are evident, or if you have any doubt, you should seek advice from a qualified expert as soon as possible.

Here are some tips for safer balconies:

– Hardwood is the strongest choice for decking timber. Often hardwood is hard to treat but its natural durability means that it will stand the test of time. It is recommended that hardwood be seasoned (usually kiln-dried).
– Compressed sheeting is a synthetic option that is durable, cost-effective and waterproof. The sheeting can be covered with any finishing material.
– Ventilation for supporting bearers and joints is (or at least should be) provided by minimum ground clearance. Where the walls below the deck are enclosed, sub-floor ventilators must be also be provided.

Additionally, the ground clearance must be increased where the deck/floor is to be constructed in a termite prone area. These requirements are regulated in the Building Code of Australia.

About Adam Nobel

CEO | Principal
M. Bus, Grad Dip Adv, B.Int Bus, LREA


0417 007 001

Adam is the founder and Principal of Hugo Alexander Property Group. With a previous career in advertising, 22 years experience in property investment, and 16 years in Brisbane real estate, he knows the market inside out to ensure his clients grow their wealth faster.

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