Balcony Inspection Checklist: All That You Need To Know 

By - Chris Barnard
Last Updated - February 26th, 2024 4:49 PM
condo-balconies-for-inspection

Maybe you own a hotel or condo building that’s three stories or taller, or maybe you live in one such property. But whatever the case, you do need a balcony inspection checklist more often than not. 

You see, DBPR HR 7020 balcony inspections are something that you’ll require every three years in a row. Not to mention, you’ll also need them when buying or leasing a building or simply planning to rent your property as an Airbnb. 

But a million-dollar question that you might ask here is: how do you go about these inspections? 

Well, for starters, you should go through a standard balcony inspection checklist and acquaint yourself with the areas covered in the inspection. Thereafter, you can hire a licensed balcony inspector and make sure that they examine each area mentioned in the checklist. 

Now, if you’re curious about what balcony inspection checklists cover and how you can get an inspection using one, you’re at the right place. 

Read on, as I’ve detailed a complete balcony and deck inspection checklist and answered all your questions about balcony inspections. 

What is a balcony inspection? 

Before we get into the details of balcony or deck inspection checklists, it’s important you know what this inspection is all about. 

A balcony inspection is a close-up examination of all such balconies and railings of your building that are higher than 17 feet from ground level. And this is done by certified balcony inspectors who are also licensed in their state of operation. 

Herein, inspectors like myself examine each and every component of the balconies and decks that are covered in the inspection checklist. As a result, we’re able to identify potential faults or defects in the checklist items and list them in our inspection report. 

Wondering when you need this inspection? 

Balcony inspections are necessary for all such Florida buildings that are used for public lodging and are three-storied or higher. That’s because buildings like these need a DBPR HR-7020 certification to keep operational, which in turn calls for a balcony inspection. 

For instance, if you own or operate a hotel, motel, Airbnb, or multi-family condo building, you need to obtain a DBPR HR-7020 certificate every three years. Similarly, if you’ve bought one such building recently, you’ll need a fresh DBPR certificate. 

And to do so, you’ll first have to hire a balcony inspector who will examine the existing condition of the balconies and determine if they’re up to standards for certification. 

Get A Thorough Balcony Inspection Today!

Our balcony inspections follow Division of Hotels and Restaurants guidelines and help you obtain the necessary DBPR HR-7020 certification. Click ‘Inspect My Property’ now to safeguard your balcony and ensure the highest standards of safety.

What is a balcony inspection checklist? 

Now that you know what a balcony inspection is all about, let’s get started with the ins and outs of the balcony or deck inspection checklist. 

Simply speaking, a balcony inspection checklist is a document containing the list of components to be inspected. Also, it outlines the existing condition of each of the components after the inspection, thus helping determine your balcony’s overall safety and maintenance needs. 

You see, a checklist like this is based on the latest safety and quality standards and includes even the smallest of balcony parts. This ensures inspectors examine your balcony thoroughly and as per applicable standards, marking each of the balcony parts as safe or unsafe. 

For instance, a checklist for balcony inspections has a checkbox after every inspection item. So, based on their inspection findings, your inspector will check the boxes for those items that are up to standards. 

As such, you’ll have a clear idea about which of the balcony components are safe and which ones need to be fixed in order to ensure safety. 

Which areas does a checklist for balcony inspection include?  

As we discussed earlier, a balcony inspections checklist will include every nitty gritty of your building’s balconies. 

After all, this checklist is designed to help you ensure complete balcony safety. And to that end, you’ve got to secure the smallest of balcony systems and components. 

All in all, here’s a standard balcony inspection checklist with all the balcony components included in there: 

#1. Balcony surface

The first item in a standard inspection checklist for balconies is the walking surface, given its importance in terms of safety. Here, inspectors like myself will determine whether or not the surface is safe by inspecting the following: 

  • The overall condition of the balcony surface
  • The condition of the walkways attached to the deck
  • The condition of your balcony’s entry 

#2. Balcony framing 

Next up in the checklist, we’ve got the framing of your balcony, which is as important as the surface itself. 

Now, to establish the present condition of the frame, I’ll examine the following components: 

  • Fasteners
  • Posts
  • Joists
  • Beams
  • Ledger

Although these are smaller and often overlooked balcony components, when it comes to safety they play an essential role. And that’s exactly why they’re on the second spot on the checklist. 

safety-tips

#3. Stairs attached to the balcony 

Thirdly, a checklist for balcony and deck inspection covers the stairs that are attached to either the balcony surface or the overall framing. 

Here, I’ll look at stairwell-specific components to establish how safe these stairs are. And this includes a close examination of the following: 

  • Railings
  • Threads
  • Risers
  • Stringers

No matter how safe your balcony systems are, an unsafe stairwell can still expose residents to the worst of dangers. As such, the above stairwell components are crucial for safety, and I suggest you keep them in the best condition. 

#4. Railings attached to the balcony 

Finally, the inception checklist covers all the railings attached to the balcony frame. And here are the railing components that an inspector like myself will examine as per the checklist: 

  • The existing condition of handrails (to verify safety standards and locate potential safety hazards)
  • Railing material and age (to determine its service life and check if it needs replacement) 
  • Spacing between the railing spindles (to see if the spindles or balusters are spaced as per safety norms and aren’t too far apart) 
pro-tips

You might also want to read – Pre Purchase Building Inspection: What To Know Before Buying.

What are the common defects that a balcony inspection checklist uncovers? 

The main objective behind conducting balcony inspections as per a standard checklist is to unearth problems that pose serious risks but aren’t otherwise visible. In fact, this is exactly why you’re required to get these inspections and a subsequent certification every three years. 

Not to mention, it is commonplace for a checklist inspection to locate certain recurring defects or problems. Moreover, inspectors are always on the lookout for these problems, given the risks they pose. 

Now, in case you’re curious, here are some common defects that a balcony or deck inspection checklist can help locate after the inspection: 

#1. Corrosion in the fasteners 

Fasteners are among the most crucial balcony components in terms of safety. However, corroded fasteners are also a common sight during balcony inspections in Florida, something inspectors repeatedly flag in the checklist. 

You see, this region is known for its highly humid weather and usually saline air. And this is especially true for areas closer to the coastline. 

As a result, metal components like fasteners corrode much faster. Also, apart from the usual safety risks, this leads to a general degradation of the wooden surface or frame closer to the fasteners. 

So, while you can generally expect your inspection checklist to flag corroded fasteners, this is more likely if your building is closer to the coastline. 

#2. Dry rot

Like corroded fasteners, dry rot is yet another problem that results from local weather conditions and is usually detected during a balcony inspection. 

For instance, dry rot results from high moisture exposure, which creates perfect conditions for wood-destroying fungi to breed. So, the closer you’re to the coast, the greater the likelihood of dry rot within your balcony’s wooden parts. 

A dry rot is a major safety concern that makes the entire balcony surface unstable and thus unsafe to use. And the worst thing is that you might not notice dry rot if it is beneath the surface. 

As such, if the inspection checklist flags dry rot, I strongly suggest you take it seriously and replace all the wooden components. 

Read further: Why Regular Balcony Inspections Are Crucial For Older Buildings

#3. Loose railings 

Loose railings are also a common occurrence in balconies and are often flagged during an inspection. And this ranges from railings fixed improperly to missing fasteners to loose or missing railing spindles and more. 

Meaning it is likely that your checklist will mention railing defects after the inspection. 

Now, it goes without saying that railings are among the most critical components for safety. So take my advice and fix the railings as soon as the inspection locates any defect. 

Bonus: Inspectors also see if the railings are as per specifications

Apart from locating usual defects, balcony inspectors will also examine if the railings meet the installation requirements. For instance, while conducting balcony inspections, I also assess whether: 

  • The railing has an optimum height 
  • The space between spindles or balusters isn’t too much 
  • The opening between railings and stairs is at a minimum 

#4. Cracks on the deck 

It is common for the deck surface to develop cracks, especially in the humid and often wet Florida weather. That’s because cracks, among other similar wear and tear, often result from water intrusion. 

For instance, I’ve discovered cracks of all sizes while conducting balcony inspections during the past twenty years. And while some of the cracks I flagged were outrightly visible, others were too small to be noticed even in broad daylight. 

So don’t be surprised if your balcony inspector flags such cracks in their inspection report. 

#5. Flashing defects 

Flashing, also called moisture barrier, is the topmost layer on the balcony surface installed to prevent moisture intrusion. And this goes a long way to prevent problems arising out of moisture. 

However, the flashing isn’t without problems either. For instance, from a shorter than required length of flashing to an old and failing flashing, there are a bunch of defects that I usually identify. 

In short, you can expect a balcony or deck inspection checklist to highlight a flashing defect. 

pro-tips

You might also want to read – What Do Building Inspectors Look For In Commercial Properties

Balcony inspection checklist: Frequently asked questions 

Can you follow the checklist and carry out a balcony inspection by yourself? 

No, you can’t. 

While the items on balcony inspection checklists look simple to assess and verify, it isn’t that straightforward. That’s because some defects are too small to detect, and that calls for trained eyes and specialized tools, something only licensed inspectors can offer. 

Moreover, Florida balcony inspection requirements clearly state that you should only hire a licensed inspector for a DBPR HR-7020 certification inspection. And this can be anyone from architects to engineers and more, given that they’ve got the required paperwork. 

So, unless you’re a licensed balcony inspector yourself, you can neither carry out an inspection nor can you check the boxes in an inspection checklist. 

How much does a balcony checklist inspection cost? 

Assessing the existing condition of your building’s balconies as per a standard checklist can cost you upward of $1250. 

However, this is an estimated cost, and the exact amount you pay will depend on the size of the balcony and the number of balconies or decks in your building. 

For instance, condo buildings and apartments have a higher number of balconies compared to hotels and Airbnb. Meaning a balcony inspection for the former will cost you on the upper end. 

Similarly, factors such as the location of your building and the date of the last inspection also determine the cost of the inspection. 

Wondering how much you’re likely to pay for a balcony inspection? 

Get in touch with us and receive an estimated inspection quote for free!

How long does a balcony inspection take? 

A balcony inspection can take anywhere from a few hours to an entire day, depending on the number of balconies in your building and the size of individual balconies. 

For instance, while an Airbnb can be inspected well within hours, a high-rise condominium can take anywhere from an entire day to a few days. 

Also, once the inspection is over, report preparation will take another 2-3 days. 

You might also want to read – What Is A Condition Report & Why Do Properties Need One?

Get A Thorough Balcony Inspection Today!

Our balcony inspections follow Division of Hotels and Restaurants guidelines and help you obtain the necessary DBPR HR-7020 certification. Click ‘Inspect My Property’ now to safeguard your balcony and ensure the highest standards of safety.

Final words 

As you can see, a balcony inspection checklist is a comprehensive list of all the balcony systems and components covered in an inspection. Also, the checklist serves as an important document highlighting the areas with defects or problems after an inspection. 

In fact, this is very similar to a standard building inspection and is used by balcony inspectors to ensure that their inspection is both thorough and complete. 

Looking for one such inspection for your hotel, Airbnb, or condo building? 

You can reach out to us!

At FCBI, we’re a team of licensed and seasoned balcony inspectors with 20+ years of industry experience and advanced-level certifications. So, whatever be your building type or inspection requirement, we’ve got you covered. 

You can also find our commercial building inspectors in JacksonvilleMelbourneOrlandoSt AugustinePalm CoastDaytona BeachPort OrangeSawgrass, and more.

Chris Barnard

Hi there! I am Chris Barnard, a licensed building inspector and the founder of Florida Commercial Building Inspectors. With over two decades in the inspection industry, I’ve delivered thousands of commercial and residential inspections across various states. During all these years, I’ve developed detailed insights on the ins and outs of building inspections, something I look forward to sharing with you through my blogs.

Inspect My Property
Share via
Copy link