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Inspection tips when buying units

Inspection tips when buying a unit

By John Dowling Australian Building Inspection Services www.abis.com.au


Last month we introduced the subject of buying a high-rise apartment and the need for an inspection.  In that introduction, we cited a couple of conditions and examples that highlight that need.  This month we'll expand on that, focusing on the balcony.


In apartment living, the balcony often becomes a focal point of your lifestyle. It's ideal for relaxing after work and enjoying the views, and a place to sit with visiting friends, it is as essential part of the home that helps to create a far more 'open' feeling, even in the smallest apartment.


For the balcony to be useful as a place to socialize with friends, it should be at least 3 metres deep. Any smaller and it will only fit a few people, let alone any furniture or entertainment facilities such as a barbeque. For apartments with more than one bedroom, an apartment layout that offers each bedroom its own balcony is far more ideal.


In addition to the size of the balcony, make sure it includes utilities such as a dual power point, gas fitting, more than one light fitting, a tap and drainage.


Now, from a building inspection point of view, balconies should have non-slip flooring and safety glass for any glass balustrades. The balustrade should be well constructed and secured.  It needs to be checked thoroughly for any evidence of deterioration. The balcony should slope away from the entry and have good drainage facilities.  Doors leading to the balcony should be checked for any signs of moisture retention and water ingress. If there is a balcony immediately above, check that there is no evidence of water or moisture problems that could impact on your balcony.  


Most complexes have rules incorporated into their by-laws regarding balconies. The most common is to prevent washing being hung on folding clothes racks on the balcony. The idea behind such by-laws is to keep the appearance of the building as a whole looking neat and uniform.


While balconies may not be foremost in your mind when considering a high-rise apartment, they do become an integral part of the apartment lifestyle.  Make sure it's 'just right' for you.