Maintenance & Replacement
Maintenance and Replacement Key Points
- Conduct visual checks periodically
- Cassette® components are designed with ease of maintenance in mind
Like any product, to achieve optimal performance and longevity, maintenance and replacement of parts must be carried out systematically. Whilst routine planned maintenance of the balcony structure may not be required, we advise for a periodic (max 5 yearly) investigation of a representative proportion of the installations to be made. This is to identify any premature ageing or developing conditions. This should involve visual checks looking for material deterioration (e.g. rotting or delamination), component tightness, and damage (e.g. chips on glass) which could lead to premature ageing or failure.
To assist with maintenance, we have worked to simplify product design to enable safe but replaceable components where possible and have experience of assisting designers to incorporate components like abseiling hooks on specific projects for maintenance and cleaning purposes.
Cleaning Drip Trays
Cleaning Drip Trays Key Points
- NHBC like to avoid a single drainage outlet
- Drip tray inspection is simple and from above
When looking at drainage the NHBC consider what happens when outlets are blocked. Our Cassette® balconies have multiple drip trays which have two benefits. Firstly, on a free draining balcony water collects and moves to the front of each drip tray avoiding reliance on a single outlet. Secondly, individual drip trays can be replaced from below making cleaning drip trays much easier.
Operating Instructions Key Points
- Consider inherent risks in the design
- Occupants should be informed of risks and limitations
- Consider emergency conditions in design
By their very nature, balconies and balustrades are often at high altitude and form edge protection. To reduce safety risk exposure or product issues, the design must take appropriate precautions to achieve or exceed regulatory requirements and industry guidance.
Consideration of operating Instructions risks should include:
- Climatic conditions – occupants should be aware that wind and weather conditions can vary significantly from that experienced at adjacent ground level. Particularly with decking, the surface may become slippery if wet.
- Safe working load – balconies are typically designed to resist a 2.5kN/m2 live load. Occupants should be prohibited from storing heavy items (paddling pools, large plants, etc) on the balcony
- Fire prevention measures – users must take suitable precautions when using a balcony to smoke or cook etc.
- Material properties – balconies often use products and fragile material like glass which must be carefully specified to avoid deterioration or failure but to also have suitable replacement strategies if required.
- Child use – many balconies are used by children. Climbabilty, gaps, etc should be considered and appropriate regulation requirements fulfilled.
Whilst each project should have its specific O&M (Operation and maintenance) manuals for the balconies, emergency conditions must be part of the design considerations so that if an emergency condition such as a product failed, the safety risk is minimised as quickly as possible. For example, with glass, should a glass panel fail through impact, vandalism or failure, this could result in an exposed edge and should have an emergency procedure.
Glass is generally considered to be one of the best materials to use in balustrades. There are critical considerations needed...Find out more
Lifespans of Balconies
Balconies are one of the few structural elements exposed to weathering. Lifespan duration depends on maintenance and mid-life replacement. CAB...Learn more