As the weather warms up, households across Australia are spring-cleaning and preparing for the summer holidays.
The change in season brings much entertaining, relaxing and family time – is your house ready for it?
Architects around the country are warning homeowners that now is the time to check any decks, balconies or outdoor areas.
“Australians love spending time in the sun, especially over the Christmas holiday period,” says Robert Caulfield, director of Homesafe Designs. “Unfortunately, many homes are not prepared for the increased foot traffic or heavy loads and too many people are injured as a result.”
Homesafe Designs’ house inspection figures show that around 8, 000 balconies nationwide could be life-threatening.
Each year, over 300,000 adults are treated in hospital for accidents caused at home. Of these, roughly half are a result of falls or slips.
Caulfield says that balconies or decks, regardless of construction material, are all exposed to the elements and easily deteriorate.
“Any death or injury caused by faulty or dangerous balconies is 100 per cent preventable. As a result, homeowners can expect to be hit with hefty insurance claims if found responsible for the incident.”
A professional Homesafe Designs inspection can identify wear and tear or poor, even illegal, building practices, and put into place a safe design concept.
In the last few years, balcony and deck accidents around the country have killed or injured dozens of people and left more facing serious financial strife.
During 2012 alone, a group of teenagers in New South Wales plunged 3 metres to the ground after a house’s balcony gave way, while in Queensland, a homeowner and a school were sued over a fatal balcony collapse, and a baby being cradled by her dad died when he fell through a rotten deck.
The Queensland coroner has since called for State governments to pass laws requiring properties to pass building and pest inspections, especially before being let.
Discerning homeowners can contact Homesafe Designs for a house inspection and safe renovation design on 1300 88 7233 or visit www.homesafedesigns.com.au