There’s nothing more Australian than having a barbeque at home surrounded by family and friends. In a strata situation, many apartments feature generously-sized balconies that are perfect for a small gas barbeque.
While balconies add to the enjoyment of an apartment, it’s essential that they’re maintained to minimise the chance of injuries or at worst fatalities.
The Australian climate can be unforgiving with extreme heat, corrosive sea air and intense thunderstorms so it’s important to regularly check your balcony for wear and tear. The Executive Committee may even consider periodically arranging an expert to check all balconies in the scheme. Signs that your balcony needs attention include poor water drainage, loose handrails, rust stains, deflection and spalling.
All maintenance should be carried out by a licensed tradesman and all renovations on the balcony should be undertaken by a licensed builder after seeking the appropriate council planning and building approvals.
In new constructions, all balconies must be built in line with the Building Code of Australia and relevant Australian standards. Essentially the Code requires that the materials used for the structure can withstand the loads and stresses that would be reasonably expected to be placed upon it.
If you’re entertaining, it’s worth taking into account the amount of people coming along. The additional load may not have been considered when the balcony was built and could put undue stress on the construction. The weight could be exacerbated even further by the barbeque and if you have any heavy pot plants or table settings.
If you want to buy an apartment with a balcony, you might consider engaging an expert to provide a report specifically on the balcony.
Tenants renting an apartment in a strata-titled property should note any issues with the balcony in the condition report prior to moving in. There are over-arching laws that require landlords to maintain the property in a reasonable state of repair – so if you identify serious issues with the balcony before moving in, the landlord is required to have them rectified. During the tenancy, inform the landlord or managing agent as soon as possible if issues arise.
More information on balcony safety, contact your Strata Manager at Netstrata.