The focus of this blog post is the upper level balcony visible in the following photo.
Standing on the balcony, it is about 16 feet to the carport floor below. Surely a fall from this level, onto the hard concrete below, could prove deadly or result in injuries perhaps worse than death.
The problem is the barrier railing.
The issue with the railing is not readily apparent, and from the ground it certainly looks fine. From the deck itself however, we can see that the barrier railing is spliced right in the middle—and merely toe-nailed together. The top of this barrier should be able to withstand 200 lbs of lateral force. It is unlikely that it could do that.
This barrier certainly would not resist the impact that could be produced by a couple of kid’s or adults rough-housing, as kids of all ages are prone to do. The barrier can’t just look OK—it has to be OK.
At the very least it should be one solid piece the length of the deck, and a secondary solid piece under the top piece the whole length of the deck would be even better.
Let’s hope it gets repaired prior to something bad happening.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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