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Home Living : June 29th 2010
6 HLN - HOME LIVING: NORTH, Tuesday, June 29, 2010 Make sure your balcony is safe » ADVERTISING FEATURE HOMELIVING People buying properties with large decks or high balconies are urged to request a copy of the building permit for the structure and an independent assessment of its safety by a registered inspector. In light of recent accidents involving balconies, Archicentre, the design and property service of the Australian Institute of Architects, says sellling a house with an unsafe balcony could be compared to selling a car with no brakes. Archicentre ACT and NSW manager Angus Kell said it was important people buying homes had access to appropriate building permits to gain an understanding of when the deck was built and approved by the local council. Archicentre's pre-purchase home inspection statistics show about 6 per cent of Australian homes have a timber balcony or deck and that about 2 per cent of these (8000) were potentially a source of fatal accidents. ''The potential for multiple law suits against agents and vendors of homes sold with illegally-built or unsafe balconies is a very real issue given the fact that many of the collapses can happen with large numbers of people on the deck,'' he said. ''Anyone who buys a home with a balcony that is in disrepair and which collapses, injuring people or themselves, could find themselves in no man's land with insurance claims because they are responsible for maintaining their home in good order." Archicentre says there is a need for people to continually inspect their decks and balconies for rotting timbers and rusty corroding steel fittings which could lead to life-threatening balcony collapses. ''As a safety measure, all homeowners should thoroughly check the timbers, fixings and structure that support and attach the deck to the home, and check the bracing members and support beams of the deck, timber posts and steel columns looking for soft, spongy sections of compressed timber and rusting steel." Homeowners' check list -- timber balconies Identify the species of timber. Oregon may not be appropriate for external structures. It is distinguishable by a broad softwood grain pattern and a pinkish colour when fresh surfaces are exposed, like during a split, for instance Check for any compression or deformation of the structural members Test the timber by probing with a sharp object like a screwdriver Gain access underneath using a ladder. Check connection points at the beams with a screwdriver for deterioration. Timber generally rots where two pieces of timber join together. Examine brackets and bolts to make sure they are not rusted Make sure the timber balcony is properly fixed to the house or that the members run into the house Check base of timber posts for rot and again check brackets and bolts for signs of rust Posts need to be securely anchored into the ground and not just bolted into the paving Check handrails and vertical balustrades to make sure they are not rotted and unstable Concrete balconies Look for signs of concrete balcony slab deflection. If so, there is a problem Examine the underside of the concrete balcony. Rust stains on exposed steel reinforcing are signs of a serious problem Check handrails and balustrades to ensure they are not rotted or unstable Details: archicentre.com.au TIMBER KITCHEN RESTORATIONS We refinish your timber doors & benchtops, bringing them back to new for much less than the cost of a new kitchen Ph: 1300 888 245 ww w.aglrestoration.com.au free quote all areas 2122417i hlf wk33 Internal Shutters · Motorised Blinds · Blockout Blinds · Roman Blinds · Sunscreen Blinds and more... WIDEST RANGE AVAILABLE · INTERNAL & EXTERNAL TIMBER & ALUMINIUM Blinds &Shutters Give your windows and doors a new look. We will come to your home and work with you to find the best solution and design to meet your needs. Phone Yvette or Kris Burbage today for a free measure and quote on 9624 7767. 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June 22nd 2010
July 6th 2010