Acting Fair Trading Commissioner Robert Vellar today announced a new NSW guide on balcony and deck safety and encouraged homeowners to do regular inspections and maintenance.
Mr Vellar said there had been a number of recent incidents in NSW and other states involving balconies and decks that had resulted in injury or death.
“Outdoor living is a popular part of Australian life and home owners have a responsibility to check their decks and balconies are safe for use and to prevent serious accidents,” he said.
“Like all parts of the home, decks and balconies can deteriorate over time. Exposure to weather, insects and heavy loads such as barbecues, pot plants and even people can cause structures to weaken.”
Fair Trading has produced a practical maintenance and safety guide for timber, concrete and masonry decks and balconies, covering topics such as:
- What can affect the safety of a deck or balcony?
- How do I keep my deck safe?
- What if there is a problem?
- Who are the experts?
- Buying into, or renting a home with a deck or balcony; and
- Building a new deck.
The guide also contains a maintenance checklist.
Mr Vellar recommended having structures inspected by a qualified expert and only using an appropriately licensed tradesperson to undertake repairs.
Check if a tradesperson is licenced and holds the right type of licence with Fair Trading at
www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or by calling 13 32 20.
Under NSW tenancy laws, landlords must provide and maintain rented premises in a reasonable state of repair.
Any maintenance concerns or damage should be noted in the condition report, which both parties are required to complete and sign at the beginning of a tenancy.
New balconies, decks, balustrades and railings must be built to meet the requirements of the Building Code of Australia and relevant Australian Standards. The Building Code requires the structure and materials used to build a balcony or deck withstand the loads and stresses that would be reasonably expected to be placed on it. Older buildings should have been built to the relevant codes and standards in force at the time they were built.
The Guide can be found on the Deck and Balcony Safety page on the NSW Fair Trading website www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au