apartment deck

Guidelines on Inspecting Balconies on High-Rise Buildings

Elevated balconies add more aesthetic appeal to the overall design of your buildings, apartments, cafes, or restaurants. Balconies provide condo residents, and owners, extra room to relax, enjoy the view and entertain.

Modern constructions and high-rise buildings in urban communities often have balconies that add to the selling value of the property; extra square footage to enjoy the great outdoors, or storage to maximize your living space.

It is no secret that several deaths and fatal injuries have occurred due to falls from balconies or as a result of collapsed balconies.

Just like any other structure, decks and balconies need extra care and maintenance to preserve its beauty, and at the same time ensures safety. A new installation of patios, verandas, or decks, must meet safety standards.

Inspectors carry out balcony inspections to check the safety of these structures; if these are built according to the professional and technical standards set by the industry.

Below are the things to look for in inspecting high-rise balconies to see if these are building compliant or potentially unsafe.

  • Loose connections – inspectors will look for connections that may have degraded over time. Elevated balconies with wobbly railings, stairs that may seem to be pulling away from the main structure can compromise safety. Improper use of connections may cause railings or stairs to collapse. Balcony connections that meet building codes must be used with fasteners for overall safety and durability.
  • Corrosion – metal connectors and fasteners will corrode over time due to exposure to elements. Regularly check the connectors and fasteners or better have a professional assess the condition of your balcony. High-rise buildings located near the moisture-prone areas must use stainless steel connectors and fasteners.
  • Cracks – as the building ages, it is common to develop cracks and other signs of wear and tear. Balconies, railings, stairs, or decks with cracks must be repaired immediately. Regardless if it is just a small crack, eventually it will expand which can weaken the balcony.
  • Railings – railings are made of different materials and come in different shapes which are required to be 36 inches high for homes and 42 to 48 inches high for business or commercial establishments. Basically, railings are added for safety especially for balconies 18 inches from the ground.

The industry standards set a maximum opening for the gaps between balusters; enough where a 4 diameter ball will not fit through the railings. Building inspectors will run tests on the railings of your elevated balconies to determine industry codes are met and if railings are properly installed.

  • Flashing – for new installation of balcony or routine check-up, flashing needs to be considered. The water leak under the flashing can cause cracks or connectors to corrode. Your balcony may look OK until a major issue may occur due to an untreated problem.

Elevated balconies that are inadequately constructed or illegally built with inappropriate materials can cause tragic accidents. Engineers, contractors, and building inspectors must exercise absolute judgment when constructing, designing, and inspecting balconies.

 


The National Institute of Clinical Research is an SMO/CRO with offices and labs in the following cities and states: New Jersey, North Carolina, Austin, San Diego, San Francisco, Bakersfield 93309, Fountain Valley 92708, Garden Grove 92840, Hacienda Heights 91745, Huntington Beach 92648, Las Vegas 89106, Long Beach 90806, Los Angeles 90048, Ontario 91762, Rosemead 91770, San Antonio 78207, Santa Ana 92704, Upland 91786, and Westminster 92683.

elevated walkways

Safety Benefits of Elevated Walkways

Pedestrian lanes and walkways are an integral part of a community’s identity. Pedestrian infrastructures are a part of progress and are integral to people’s safety. Elevated walkways provide health and safety benefits to pedestrians and those who explore destinations on foot.

 

Safety for Pedestrians

According to the U.S Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, there are around 4,500 pedestrians killed in the United States due to traffic crashes with motor vehicles.

Almost 8 percent of these deaths are pedestrians walking along the roadway. But these mishaps are avoidable through walkways separated from vehicle lanes. These accidents can be prevented through the availability of pedestrian walkways.

  • Health safety – making a living these days and the pressure to keep up with the fast-paced society can be very stressful. Proper and safe walkways provide a readily accessible venue for residents to exercise and de-stress. Everyday walks to and from the parking lot, grocery, cafes, or nearby establishments is a cheap yet effective way to reduce stress, improve health and mood.
  • Pedestrian safety – elevated walkways offer a safe environment for pedestrians local and tourists alike for travel and exercise. Walkways keep pedestrians from any road danger, at all times. Children in the community can also walk safely to school.
  • Improved Life quality and safety – better quality of life is not only based on monetary. Quality of life also includes environment, physical and mental health.

Providing safety walkways to pedestrians give them the peace of mind that the neighborhood is safe from a lot of potential road accidents. By providing a safe environment for adults and children helps motivate people to socialize and be more active.

 

Residential Properties

Walkways for pedestrians do not only offer safety benefits but improves property value. The same with schools, hospitals, and other public amenities, safe walkways augment residential home values.

According to case studies, residential properties near well-maintained walkways have higher property value. A safe walkway is highly regarded as a place for recreation or physical activity promoting healthy life and community.

Also, safe elevated walkways provide better transportation options for people who do not have cars or cannot drive.

The wider the separation of pedestrian sidewalks from the roadways means more comfort for individuals. Comfort and physical exercise contribute to healthier mental and physical well-being.

Sidewalks should be best designed to make sure pedestrians are safe from traffic and any road dangers at all times. Walkways should be pleasant and comfortable to walk; should be well-maintained.

Providing sidewalks in the community motivate people in the community of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, knowing that their needs are being met.

 

Developing Elevated Walkways

Safe walkways should not only be considered in urban areas but also for rural areas. Development and progress must always be considered in areas where there is less pedestrian traffic.

Less developed areas with occasional pedestrian traffic should not forget the importance and benefits of elevated walkways. Sooner or later, these will serve its purpose; providing comfort and safety to pedestrians: adults and children.

 


The National Institute of Clinical Research is an SMO/CRO with offices and labs in the following cities and states: New Jersey, North Carolina, Austin, San Diego, San Francisco, Bakersfield 93309, Fountain Valley 92708, Garden Grove 92840, Hacienda Heights 91745, Huntington Beach 92648, Las Vegas 89106, Long Beach 90806, Los Angeles 90048, Ontario 91762, Rosemead 91770, San Antonio 78207, Santa Ana 92704, Upland 91786, and Westminster 92683.

wood deck waterproofing

Repairing an Old Deck

Elevated decks are always exposed to the elements making them more prone to wear, tear, and damage. So if your deck has been around for a while, here are some simple repair steps to get it back to its pristine condition:

 

Clean your deck

Sometimes elevated decks just need some deep cleaning to get them back to their former glory.

Depending on the material of your deck, you can choose from cleaners containing oxalic acid for removing tannins and iron stains on redwood and cedar decks, sodium hypochlorite that removes tough mildew, and sodium percarbonate that’s perfect for removing weathered wood, dirt, and mildew.

 

Replace damaged boards

Damaged boards can easily make your deck unsafe. Replace rather than repair is the best option here. Pull them out by removing the fasteners and lifting them straight up to avoid damaging other boards. You can then replace them with newer boards of the same color and type as the ones used in your deck.

Finally, you should check screws and bolts for rust and loosening so you can replace them right away. Any rusting or loose screws and bolts could mean disaster if not addressed immediately because they can make your deck weak, especially when they have too much weight on it.

 


Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like: Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon

deck inspection services

5 Useful Tips in Building Railings for Your Deck

A railing is an essential part of any deck not only for aesthetics but also for safety. In fact, it’s one of the elements that qualified deck inspectors look for, which is why it’s very important to invest in good railings for your deck if you want to fully enjoy your outdoor living space.

Now if you’re building your own railings, here are five useful tips that you can keep handy for your project:

 

Take your measurements first

The size of your deck railing will depend on the size of the deck itself and it’s also very important to incorporate an anchored handrail system to make this area safer, especially if you have young children or seniors in your house.

Take your measurements first to know exactly what materials you need and how you should cut them. The standard height for deck railing posts is 10 inches while the rail height should be between 36 and 42 inches.

You can also ask your qualified deck inspectors about the ideal measurements for your deck railings so you can stay within the rules.

 

Choose the right materials for your railings

There are many options for deck railing materials depending on what matches the rest of your deck and of course, your budget. Aluminum railings are considered the most durable and they also need very little maintenance, although they could be pricier than other options.

Tempered glass railings are also another great option, especially since they give the illusion of a wider space while still keeping your deck secure. Of course, there are classic wood railings that have always been the go-to choice for many homeowners because of their timeless look.

 

Cut and secure your posts

You can start by cutting the posts according to your measurements and securing them inside the rim joists. Keep in mind that bolts should not be places less than 5-1/8 inch apart and posts need to maintain a maximum space of 72 inches in between.

 

Install your top and bottom rails

If you’re doing the installation yourself, make sure that the top and bottom rails are secured properly inside the posts by placing two 3-inch screws diagonally 2 inches apart.

When the time comes, elements like this will be checked closely by qualified deck inspectors so it really helps to follow the ideal measurements to avoid any hassles later on. You can then attach the top cap to the posts using the same screws.

 

Secure your balusters

To complete the installation, screw the balusters into the top and bottom rails. Proper baluster spacing is indicated on your local building code so it’s very important to read about it or ask your qualified deck inspectors. The standard maximum baluster separation, however, is about 4 to 5 inches in the center.

Having the right decking will allow you more freedom to move in your deck without having to worry about any accidents. This makes a deck railing the perfect investment for your outdoor living space.

 


Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like: Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon

apartment deck inspection

5 Nifty Ideas for Sprucing Up Your Apartment Deck

Living in an apartment means that you have a smaller space to work with, so you have to maximize every square foot you have including your deck.

After you’re done with apartment deck inspection, here are five nifty ideas to turn your boring deck into a cozy outdoor living space:

 

Give it some color

Just because your deck is small doesn’t mean you can’t add some pops of color to it. You could stain the wood, repaint the walls, or add accessories to the space to make it pop out without being too loud.

 

Choose your furniture well

Since you’re only working with a few square feet, you can only afford to put a few pieces of furniture in your deck. If you’re really tight on space, go for a daybed that you can stuff with pillows and a blanket for a cozy reading nook or lounge space.

You can also go for a small table with two seats for an outdoor dining area. Spruce up the space with some potted plants and you’re good to go.

 

Give yourself some privacy

Living in an apartment doesn’t exactly afford you a lot of privacy, especially with your outdoor space.

But you can solve that with a simple privacy screen made of bamboo that doubles as décor while keeping your apartment deck private so you can really enjoy your space.

 

Add some storage

If you want your apartment deck to serve the purpose of a lounge and storage area, you can pick a storage bench that could be your seating area and a space to put garden tools and other things out of sight.

You can also add shelves to display your favorite plants and décor without taking up too much of your floor space.

 

Bring the outdoors in

If you don’t have the luxury of a backyard or garden, you can still enjoy the feeling of having some greenery in your space by adding ornamental grass in your apartment deck. Ask your apartment deck inspection team if this idea is allowed in your space to make sure that you’re not violating any rules. Having some green on your foot will give the illusion of your own outdoor space even if you only have your deck.

 

A bonus tip

If you’re lucky enough to have a bigger apartment deck and your rental agreement allows it, you can always add a small pool to cool down for those hot summer days.

A stock tank pool is a great addition to your outdoor space and you can just pack it up after summer is done. Make sure to ask this during the apartment deck inspection, however, to make sure that your deck can handle the extra weight.

Are you ready to turn that once-neglected space in your apartment into your favorite spot? Follow these nifty ideas and add your own personal touch to make your apartment deck perfect for lounging, dining, and just enjoying some outdoor space.

 


Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like: Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon

dry rot repair

Tips on Repairing Dry Rot

Dry rot on your roof doesn’t just look horrible. It can also seriously undermine your home’s structural integrity. Neglect it and you’re setting up your house for wreck and ruin, not to mention significantly diminishing its sale value.

Understanding the cause of dry rot allows you to make the call on whether a repair is still possible or if it is best to replace the damaged part completely. Note that repairs may require inspections as mandated by SB 721.

 

What is dry rot and what causes it

The definition of dry rot is a type of fungal decay with the name Serpula lacrymans. It occurs in timber that has become too wet, with over 20% moisture. When this happens, the wood-destroying fungus attacks the timber.

Damp timber results in dry rot spores develop into the wood-destroying fungus. This type of fungus thrives in moist, damp, poorly ventilated conditions.

Damp timber in the home can be attributed to one or two of the following:

  • Penetrating damp, condensation
  • Leaking pipes
  • Faulty drainage
  • Broken roof tiles
  • A leaking washing machine that creates the ideal environment for fungi growth

 

Rescuing the Home from Dry Rot

Some types/amounts of dry rot can be repaired. However, repairs aren’t recommended if the affected areas provide structural stability to your home, such as with beams and joints, or even with flooring for that matter. In those cases, you should replace the wood instead of repairing it.

You’ll also need to eliminate the conditions that allowed the rot to grow. Locate the cause of moisture buildup and if you think you’re not able to do it, you can hire inspectors to check for roof leaks, damaged gutters, plumbing leaks, and/or poor ventilation.

 


Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like: Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon

building permit

Obtaining a Permit Prior to Building a Deck

It comes as a surprise to many homeowners that they need a permit for building a deck. This is understandable. If you’ve gone through all of that when you first built your home, why should you still need one now?

Decks that are poorly constructed can cause serious harm to people when an accident occurs. Securing a permit to build a deck ensures that you have fulfilled the necessary requirements proving that your intended home addition follows the building standards enforced by your state.

 

Why you should get a Deck Permit

Building a deck without a visit from deck inspectors could lead to some serious trouble. Some people find this out the hard way when they’re given a hefty fine for constructing an illegal addition to their abode.

Building a deck without a permit can also come back to haunt you when it is time to sell your house. Contractors can lose their licenses if they build without permits.

And that’s not all.

In some cases, the authorities will order a newly-built deck to be forcefully torn down because of the same violation. However, the worse possible scenario is someone getting seriously injured when a deck collapses because of faulty construction resulting from non-compliance with building codes set by the state/city.

That being said, it’s in the homeowner’s best interest to work within the rules and secure the right permit. In most cases, the deck inspectors are more than willing to work with you to make sure you end up with a great deck that meets all the code requirements.

 

Securing a Deck Permit

According to the most recent edition of the International Residential Code, decks to be constructed that are more than 30 inches above the adjacent ground will require a permit. Exemptions to this rule are the following:

  • The deck doesn’t exceed 200 square feet area
  • The deck isn’t attached to the home
  • The deck will not serve as the required exit door of the home

You’re planned deck will likely not match one or two of the criteria above which means you’ll still need to get a permit.

 

Deck Permit Application Requirements and Process

Here are the primary requirements when applying for a deck permit.

  • Two copies of scale drawings of the framing plan (overhead) of your proposed deck. These can either be created using computer drafting software or hand-drawn using ¼” graph paper.
  • An elevation drawing (front or side view)
  • A site plan showing the deck’s location in relation to the house and property lines

On your framing plan, indicate the locations, spacing, and sizes of your frost footings, beams, and joists. This information will be reviewed by deck inspectors to make sure it meets structural code requirements. Be sure to include notes or visual details showing how you are going to install the footings, guard rails, stairs, and the ledger board. Be specific about material types and grades you are using for the framing, decking, and rails. Include the kind of hardware and fasteners you plan to use.

To apply for one, start by finding out who issues building permits in your area and where you need to go to apply for one. Head to City Hall and check with the Building Inspection Department.

If you live in a rural area, there may be an independent inspector that covers a wide area. Fill out and submit a completed application, along with the requirements specified above.

 


Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like: Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon

elevated balcony

What Goes Into Elevated Balcony Design?

An elevated balcony is a beneficial addition to any home. A balcony is a liminal space between the inside and out that is sheltered and private, but at the same time, offers a view of the outside world.

This home feature is also beneficial in other ways. A balcony can increase the amount of living space and can make the room bigger than it is. It’s versatile and can be fitted with a storage closet or custom-built shed when a small space is a concern.

A balcony can also add architectural interest to the building and provide additional design options. It’s a great area to grow plants because it isn’t readily accessible to animals and pests.

Such a wide and open space filled with greenery could have multiple health benefits too. For one example, an airy balcony with a view can help promote relaxation. Having pockets of relaxation throughout your day helps you avoid the ill effects of stress like fatigue, cardiovascular problems, and migraines.

Speaking of a view, elevated balconies almost always have this feature. Whether overlooking a rolling field, woods, mountain, waterfront, or even a city always adds the view to the room.

In such cases, an elevated balcony can also increase the value of a house or building on the market.

 

But what Exactly is an Elevated Balcony?

An elevated balcony, as the name implies, is an indoor/outdoor structure typically found on high-rise buildings. Like the typical balcony that you’d find in most homes, it’s possible to use this space for growing plants, extra storage, an extension of the living room, or simply a cozy spot to relax in after a long and tiring day.

 

Design Considerations for Elevated Balconies

When it comes to an elevated balcony, there are two main design factors to consider.

Outlook. This refers to the view from the balcony. The outlook can be tricky to get right. That’s because it’s hard to control for, the views or the external perspective it falls outside the building footprint, by definition. Fortunately, almost any view can hold interest so it will boil down to constructing a balcony in a way that best frames the skyline of a great city or just the neighboring alley.

Refuge. This second factor is within the building designer’s control. When you think of refuge, you think of privacy. Having that sense of security that you have a place in your home where you can observe the panoramas or the flow of life outside without exposing one’s self to the general public. That sense of privacy is something that should be incorporated into the design of your elevated balcony. Some key considerations are the following:

  • Height above the street
  • Protection from side to side views
  • Protection from the elements and from the view of neighboring eyes

Before construction on a balcony, it’s imperative to have the plans checked to ensure that it complies with the building safety codes in a city or state. If you’re in need of quality inspection services in southern California, check out Deck Inspector.

 


Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like: Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon

Deck Inspection Services

A Terrace and Balcony: What Are the Differences?

Have you ever looked at adding an additional living space and wondered whether you should add a balcony or terrace? You are not alone. Balcony decks and terraces have long been confused with each other though, so to help you distinguish between them, here are a few key differences:

 

Size

The most obvious difference between a balcony and terrace has to be its size because the terrace is much bigger than a balcony, which is considered a smaller extension of the indoor living space.

 

Location

Another key difference between the two is their location. Balcony decks are extensions of the upper floor space. This means that they could be attached to the side of a house or a building, which makes them elevated.

Terraces, on the other hand, are usually flat platforms that serve as an extended outdoor living space. In recent years, a terrace could also mean a flat platform on the rooftop of a building where an outdoor living space could be created.

 

Finally, balcony decks and terraces are different from how they are accessed. Balconies are smaller and they are always attached to a room in the house while terraces are open spaces that have a separate entrance.

 


Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like: Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon

deck inspectors

The Five Things to Look for in a Contractor

Constructing or renovating a house can be very tricky, tedious, and stressful. Although the idea of doing it yourself can look enticing and easy, putting yourself in a situation that requires a lot of time, work and money could make you easily lose your cool. So before that happens, it’s best to hire a contractor to get the job done for you. Here are five important things that you should look for in your contractor:

 

  1. Credibility

It goes without saying that you need a contractor that’s not only good at marketing itself but also credible enough to really give you the results that you aspire.

Credibility is very important when hiring a contractor because you’re essentially putting your project in his hands, no matter how small it is.

For instance, if you need your apartment to be inspected as part of your requirements, a professional apartment deck inspection team should do the job to ensure that everything is checked properly.

 

  1. Bonding capacity

No matter how small your project is, it’s a smart move to find a contractor that could offer you a bond for your project because it’s a sign of their financial strength and credibility. An un-bondable contractor could actually be a sign that they’ve had problems with past projects and paying their bills.

 

  1. Tenure

Although there are some good contractors that are new in the business, the experience still counts a lot when you’re looking for someone to do even the simplest home renovation projects for you.

Good contractors have already worked on numerous projects in the past, which means that they’ve dealt with a lot of situations and know how to handle them properly by now.

 

  1. Safety ratings

Safety should be a top priority in all your projects. So whether you need an apartment deck inspection or a full renovation, it’s very important to look at a contractor’s MOD rating (Experience Modification Rate), which is a plan required on all employer’s meeting a premium eligibility criteria for every state.

You’d want to book a contractor with less than 1.0 MOD rating, which is based on its industry classification and the number of OSHA incidents that’s been recorded by the company over a certain period.

 

  1. Technology

The construction industry is all about adapting to new techniques, tools, and technologies to make projects more efficient.

So if you want to get things done fast without sacrificing its quality, it wouldn’t hurt to hire a contractor that’s already adept with technology and uses it for projects to be completed more quickly.

A renovation or remodeling project is a lot more serious than it looks. You’re putting your money on the line, for one, and you might also need to make some sacrifices while the project is being worked on.

So if you want things to go as smoothly as possible, it’s very important to look for a contractor that will give you the most value for your investment.

 


Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like: Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon