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Self-draining balconies, building regs and construction

Drawing on the powers of Arrse, is there anybody with specialist knowledge / construction experience of self-draining balconies?
My 90-year old mother is in a lengthy dispute with the developers of her ‘later living’ flat as water from the balcony upstairs drips on to hers, even when there has been no rain.
The leakage is such that even on a fine day, she is unable to sit out and properly admire the uninterrupted view over the Bristol Channel to Exmoor.
In the latest round of communications with the developer they have stated the balcony is of the ‘self draining’ type and it is perfectly normal for water to drain through from the upstairs balcony on to the main, central area of hers.
I believe this to be a load of bolleaux.
This dispute was begun by my father 4 or 5 years’ ago and the developers have spun it out with no resolution.
Sadly, my father became late two years ago.
The situation is really wearing my mother down now, but she wants to resolve it.
From memory, I can not recall seeing any form of down-pipe from the balcony, nor any form of maintenance access. My feeling is there is a construction fault and the balconies are not draining.
Unfortunately I live in Switzerland, my sister lives in Oz, and we are unable - Covid rules - to visit and confirm our memories of the layout.
What I am after here, really, is somebody with real, practical knowledge of the subject who can give me some idea of building/construction regs and pertinent, hard questions to put before the developer.
I know Google is your friend and all that ...
Thanks in advance.
 

Issi

War Hero
If the property is under 10 Years old, it might be worth giving the NHBC a call.
 
Suppose your mother went on a fortnight's holiday and the tenant above inadvertently spilled a bucket of fish guts* on their balcony. They could rinse the mess off their drain but the residue would end up on your mother's balcony where it would fester for days.

The balcony should drain through an enclosed pipe.

* Other nasties are available.
 
Suppose your mother went on a fortnight's holiday and the tenant above inadvertently spilled a bucket of fish guts* on their balcony. They could rinse the mess off their drain but the residue would end up on your mother's balcony where it would fester for days.

The balcony should drain through an enclosed pipe.

* Other nasties are available.
Precisely. We had a self-draining balcony fitted at our place two years ago and I watched its construction - complete with fall to a drain and down pipe. Which is why I have queried the construction.
I think our next move should be to get an independent surveyor to report: the developers have sent a chappie around to look at it but, according to the developer, he was unable to write a report - we did request a copy and that was their answer.
I was also wondering whether we should also approach the local planning/building regs department and ask them to examine the problem.
 
OK ARSSE, the man needs help.....
NOW which of you is going to going to be f888ing first on the bloody balcony?
 
This implies that they're talking bollocks but I'd hazard it would be down to local planning and building control.

"Any water collecting on a balcony deck, either from rainfall or from watering container plants, should be addressed in the design of the balcony to ensure it doesn’t drip onto the balcony below."

 
The bad news is...

I looked up the 2002 (amended 2010) version of Building Regs, Part H3:

Rainwater pipes
1.8 Rainwater pipes should discharge into a drain or gully but may discharge to another gutter or onto another surface if it is drained. Any rainwater pipe which discharges into a combined system should do so through a trap (see Approved Document H1).

1.9 Where a rainwater pipe discharges onto a lower roof or paved area, a pipe shoe should be fitted to divert water away from the building.
Where rainwater from a roof with an effective area greater than 25m² discharges through a single downpipe onto a lower roof, a distributor pipe should be fitted to the shoe to ensure that the flow width at the receiving gutter is sufficient so that it does not over-top the gutter.

In other words, Building Regs don't expressly forbid draining one balcony onto another albeit a really stupid thing to do. The question really is what the approved construction drawings (as opposed to Regulations) show and whether the contractor complied with them.

Contrary to popular belief, conformance with Building Regulations doesn't give assurance of a good job, it just means that litigation becomes a damned sight more expensive compared with non-conformance.
 
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My immediate course of action would be to:

1. Read the building regs - call the local authority and speak to one of the building control officers (BCO) and get a pointer as to where to look.

2. Follows from 1., above, get the local building control to come and have a look and give their expert opinion.

3. Pay a fortune for a chartered surveyor to come and write a report - basically doing what the BCO would do, but charging money for it.

A piece of advice if I may as I saw my MiL go through a property dispute which in my opinion she should have won and the judge needs stringing up by his balls for his decision. Do not enter into litigation, it is damn expensive and there are no guarantees - even if you are right, it is all down to the foibles of the judge on the day.

BCO are there to make sure things are done right, they are not the enemy. If your mum is in the right they will say so, and then you get on to the NHBC.
 
You should be able to source copies of the original drawings. Ditto the Building Completion Certificate.

If you can, PM me and I'll have my wife check them out, she's an architect and qualified structural engineer.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
One could also point to your mother’s age and the potential health hazards. Okay, we’re not malarial here but it is still sitting water. It’s also a slip hazard.
 
You should be able to source copies of the original drawings. Ditto the Building Completion Certificate.

If you can, PM me and I'll have my wife check them out, she's an architect and qualified structural engineer.
I’ll have a go at that. Many thanks.
 
Thinking outside the box here...

Could you not pick up a tin of something like this....



...and paint the underneath of the balcony above? It might prevent the balcony above from draining through and dripping onto your mum's balcony. The added bonus being that the balcony upstairs would not drain and might become a paddling pool for the person upstairs?

...just a thought...
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Thinking outside the box here...

Could you not pick up a tin of something like this....



...and paint the underneath of the balcony above? It might prevent the balcony above from draining through and dripping onto your mum's balcony. The added bonus being that the balcony upstairs would not drain and might become a paddling pool for the person upstairs?

...just a thought...
 

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