Is Your Concrete Balcony Safe? Four Signs of Balcony Issues
Friday's balcony collapse at the Spikkaker condominiums in Sea Isle City killed one worker and left people who have apartment or condo balconies questioning the safety of their own balconies.
What Happened in Sea Isle City?
A concrete balcony on the eighth floor of the building gave way collapsing onto the 7th-floor balcony where a worker was standing at about 2:20 pm.
Two other workers were on the balcony on the eighth floor when it fell onto the one below it. The two other workers suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene, according to authorities and news reports.
How Do Concrete Balconies Work?
Concrete balconies can be either continuous slab or created from steel frames that are externally mounted to the structure. The concrete floor slab of a structure is simply extended upward to create a continuous slab balcony. Steel planks are used to elongate the building's skeleton before concrete is poured on top.
Why do Concrete Balconies Collapse?
While they shouldn't collapse, unfortunately, concrete balconies can collapse. And they have.
This is often caused by a failure in the cantilevered slab --the slab of concrete reinforced by steel on the inside, which is supported by only one end. Failure of the slab can occur for many reasons, including poor design, age, or storm damage, according to HP Constructions.
What are Four Signs You May Have a Safety Issue With Your Concrete Balcony?
Older buildings: Concrete might seem like a permanent building material, but it does experience some wear. The older the building, the more likely your concrete needs repair.
Missing concrete: If you notice that there is missing concrete, cracks, gaps, changing texture, or any other things the concrete is worn, this could be a sign your balcony needs attention.
Warped, sagging, bent railings: Railings where any part has become warped, started to sag, or bed horizontally or vertically then the railing has become a safety concern. It may not end up contributing to a collapse, but it is still possible for it to break or fail to prevent a fall.
Rusting: Metal elements of the railing or the balcony should not rust. If you see rust, the metal may need to be replaced.
The experts say if you have any questions about the safety of your concrete balcony you should have a qualified professional inspect it and the railing system.