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Apr, 2014

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Isle of Wight
    Posts
    282

    Default Balcony Railing Repair - Building Regs

    Hi All,

    I've got to have a repair done on a flat roof 1st floor balcony on a detached (tenanted) house. It has a reinforced masonry railing, which is 200mm below the current building reg railing height of 1100mm. Over the winter some water got into some of the mortar joints and with the frost caused some cracking, some bad some minor.

    The house dates from the 1960s. My question is - if I am just carrying out repairs do I have to have the railing height raised to the new minimum height?

    Is there a limit on how much repairs I can make before I need to meet the regs - for walls etc I know the limit is replacement of 25% of the element, but would this apply to a balcony railing?

    Grateful for any comments.
    caveat emptor
    If it sounds like I know what I am talking about........I don't.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    4,453

    Default

    I don't think it's strictly necessary, but wouldn't it be a good idea to increase anyway, just in case a drunk tenant falls off?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Isle of Wight
    Posts
    282

    Default

    I agree raising the height would be ideal, although noone has fallen off in 40 years.... yet. The problem with doing this is that this balcony is huge, 17 metres of railing. Also, being 60's construction it is impossible to find matching masonry to raise the height, although I am considering a raised bar above the existing brick and blockwork. There is also the cost and time required to do wholesale changes to the balcony and probably some quite severe disruption to the tenants 'quiet enjoyment', but this is less of a concern that ensuring I meet my legal obligations.

    I guess my main issue is: how far can I repair or modify before needing building reg approval?
    caveat emptor
    If it sounds like I know what I am talking about........I don't.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,089

    Default

    If all you are doing is re-pointing, re-rendering and swapping out a few bricks then there's no need to comply with the current Building Regs regarding the height of the railing.

    I would echo that, as works are being done, that increasing the height of the railing would be prudent. If there is currently just a wall that could be topped with a handrail system - such as Key Clamp - very easily and for not a lot of money.
    There is always scope for misinterpretation.

    If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Isle of Wight
    Posts
    282

    Default

    Thanks for the advice - key clamp and similar is tricky because of the construction of the wall, no obvious anchor points. The extra height would have to be done with masonry and I think it would probably look unsightly. The whole system is probably wrong but it would be too much disruption to replace it for not much gain to the existing tenants.

    I think I will play it safe by repairing what is there and look for an opportunity in the future to upgrade it. Many Thanks
    caveat emptor
    If it sounds like I know what I am talking about........I don't.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,089

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Wight Knight View Post
    Thanks for the advice - key clamp and similar is tricky because of the construction of the wall, no obvious anchor points.
    150mm long countersunk M10 s/s or anodized bolts chem-fixed through the top of the brickwork. If that's not secure enough then there's something fundamentally wrong with the wall.

    Or alternatively - if you have the width - mount two brackets on the inside face of the wall and extend rail above wall.
    There is always scope for misinterpretation.

    If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

    Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Isle of Wight
    Posts
    282

    Default

    The wall is mostly sunwall with reinforced joints. There are brick piers but too far apart to take what would be a high bending load. Could be moved inside, but I am reluctant to compromise the intregity of the flat roof below.

    Thanks for the ideas.
    caveat emptor
    If it sounds like I know what I am talking about........I don't.

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