Balconies / Terraces / Railings
Balconies and terraces are coveted urban amenities. But because they are exposed on all sides, they are magnets for water infiltration. In the case of balconies, the actual supporting structure, usually concrete, is directly exposed to the elements.
Commonly encountered issues include concrete cracking and spalling, corrosion of underlying steel reinforcement, and compromised stability and integrity of railings and their anchorage.
In 2013, the Department of Buildings imposed a new FISP requirement that balcony railings and guards be inspected “to ensure that their components (balusters, intermediate railings and panel fillers) are positively secured…” Railings and guards must be inspected for structural stability as well as code compliance (minimum railing height, spacing of intermediate and bottom rails, etc.).
For each railing inspection assignment, SUPERSTRUCTURES employs an optimal combination of visual, physical, and calibrated instrumentation.
Replacement of metal handrails is one of the few instances where we sometimes choose not to match existing building elements. We recognize that the replacement of a metal handrail can have a significant impact on a building’s appearance – especially in a postwar residential building with hundreds of balconies and handrails. As architects as well as engineers, we understand the impact of railing design decisions.