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Self-draining balconies, building regs and construction

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
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.

I suspect the answer is that an individual is not allowed to do something on their property that impinges on a neighbour's legitimate rights to enjoy their property but it will require the wise guidance of M'learned friends to untangle the answer.

As a first step, I'd be inclined to get in touch with the local council to find out the lie of the land, and some organisation like Age Concern which may be able to help with legal advice. Banker's suggestion is a good one because, if they have deviated from the planning permission specs, the planning department will do your work for you.

It's probably also worth having a look at the conditions of the leasehold too because there could be some useful clauses in there. I wouldn't go down the Building Regs route however; that's generally about build quality and whether the thing's going to fall down, not whether it's being a nuisance to others.

One thing's for certain though, get some sound advice because a property spat is no place for amateurs and, meantime, assemble lots of evidence.
 
I suspect the answer is that an individual is not allowed to do something on their property that impinges on a neighbour's legitimate rights to enjoy their property but it will require the wise guidance of M'learned friends to untangle the answer.

As a first step, I'd be inclined to get in touch with the local council to find out the lie of the land, and some organisation like Age Concern which may be able to help with legal advice. Banker's suggestion is a good one because, if they have deviated from the planning permission specs, the planning department will do your work for you.

It's probably also worth having a look at the conditions of the leasehold too because there could be some useful clauses in there. I wouldn't go down the Building Regs route however; that's generally about build quality and whether the thing's going to fall down, not whether it's being a nuisance to others.

One thing's for certain though, get some sound advice because a property spat is no place for amateurs and, meantime, assemble lots of evidence.
Good advice. Many thanks.
 
Is the design of the balcony such that it’s a series of decking boards with gaps in between? This was a common way of forming decks for small sized balconies. If so, then it’s the original approved design and not much you can get back to the developer on. All you can do is fit a lining underneath which diverts the water, and also allows ventilation to the deck above, otherwise you’ll get a rotted out upstairs balcony collapsing on to your mum’s, bit like ones we had to deal with last year. E2A: lease arrangements allowing. If it’s a managed property, it may be worth taking it up with them as well.

As well as rebuild timber decking ones a few years ago because some knobhead decided to have a BBQ next to some stored items. Burnt out the balconies above, as well as immense smoke damage to the top floor flat. Zinser paint sales had a field day.
 

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