From 2001 to 2016, there were 239 balcony collapses in the United States. This resulted in more than 4,600 emergency room visits.
You often hear news stories about tragedies involving people overloading balconies. But you may not know that railings not up to code are one of the top causes of balcony collapse.
Proper balcony railing inspections are imperative for the safety of occupants. Hotels, apartments, condos, or any structure that has a balcony needs special inspection and approval.
If you recently bought a building with a balcony, the information below will tell you everything you need to know about railing safety. It will help you know how to identify dangerous balconies. And will explain the proper steps to take to make sure your building is safe and secure.
How Do Balcony Railing Inspections Work?
Many states like Florida have special requirements for buildings with balconies that are three or more stories. A Central Florida Building Inspector balcony inspection will assess every component of the structure. This includes decking, wall attachments, fasteners, ledger boards, and railings.
Inspectors will look for loose or improper connections. They might look for “toenailing,” or fastening two pieces of wood together with angled nails, rather than a bracket. Inspectors will look for nails (which can pull out) used in place of screws.
Most balcony railings are made from anti-corrosive materials, such as steel. But corrosion of connectors and fasteners can be a sign that the balcony needs maintenance or replacement. Wood rod is another indicator that the balcony railing is not secure.
Balconies exposed to the elements are more susceptible to these problems. Also, structures near the ocean can see more rot and corrosion due to sea salt.
Also, balcony railing specifications can change over time. Older railings may not meet current buildings codes. For instance, these regulations determine the maximum space between pickets or bottom brackets.
Regulations determining the height of railing also can change over time. And they may be different for residential and commercial buildings.
How Often Should You Have Balcony Railing Inspections?
The state of Florida requires initial balcony railing inspections for new constructions. You also must get one when establishments change ownership. You must submit a certificate that demonstrates inspection and an application for approval.
You also must update the license every three years. Note that ground level or decks no more than three feet in height are exempt from these requirements.
Find a Licensed Inspector Near You
Now that you have an idea of the importance of balcony railing inspections, schedule yours today. It will give you the peace of mind that your property will be safe for you or anyone using it.
For over 30 years, Central Florida Building Inspectors has provided professional inspection services. These include residential, commercial, and industrial properties.
We are a family-owned business that prides itself on quality work and excellent customer service. Reach out to us today to learn about our competitive pricing and to schedule an appointment.