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Balconies and pool safety barriers

October 30, 2019

There has been instances of balcony failures or children drowning in swimming pools and in many cases this is due to lack of maintenance of the balcony or pool safety barrier.

As builders, what can we do to make our clients aware of the importance of maintenance? One method is to provide your clients with a check list as part of the handover documentation of the things they should look be maintaining over the life of the building.

HIA has put together this simple guide you could pass on to your clients on the maintenance of their balcony or pool safety barrier.

Timber balconies

  • Check exterior timbers for insect attack and/or decay
  • Check the structure is properly fixed to the building or that the beams run into the building
  • Check the base of timber posts for rot and check brackets and bolts for signs of rust
  • Ensure that water does not pond at the base of a post or at a wall support, or pools on the balcony surface

Checking concrete balconies

  • All concrete balconies are susceptible to decay, cracking and flaking concrete and corrosion of reinforcement are signs of decay - Look for spalling (where chunks of concrete are flaking off or cracking)
  • Small cracks in a concrete surface may look harmless but allow moisture to get in, which can cause problems
  • Examine the underside of the balcony - Rust stains on exposed steel reinforcing are signs of a serious problem
  • If in doubt engage a structural engineer or suitably qualified person familiar with concrete structures to inspect the balcony

Balustrades and handrails

Check handrails and balustrades to make sure they are not rotted, corroded, loose or unstable.

Pool safety barriers

  • Maintaining the pool safety barrier can save lives:
  • Gates are self-closing correctly and not propped open
  • Latches on gates work correctly
  • Items/furniture are not placed against the barrier to enable climbing
  • Landscaping does not allow climbing
  • Openings in the barrier have not increased due to movement of the ground or barrier
  • The barrier remains structurally sound

For further information, please contact HIA Building Services on 1300 650 620.