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Help: My Patio Has a Drop Off PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 January 2008

I am busy building a house and have a 2m drop off from my patio to the garden. The builder says he is not putting in stairs or balustrade unless I pay for it.  I have said that according to the specs of my house, the patio should not have a drop off at all. Do you perhaps know where I could find some information regarding what is safe and what is required by the builder?

Amanda answers:

The first question to ask is who prepared the plans and specs of the house as it  may be that they did not indicate the drop at the patio or that they got their house floor levels incorrect in relation to the site.   If the drawings do not indicate a drop and if the builder has worked in accordance with these, then he is entitled to charge for a railing and steps down as he would not have costed for these in his original quote.

However, if the builder has done some earthworks or put the house at the incorrect level, causing the drop at the patio, then he must put a railing and steps in at his expense. I think that the National Building Regulations call for a 1m high rail where there is possibility of a person falling off an edge and injuring themselves. The problem could be solved by adding a sloped 45 degree section of grassed verge between the patio and the ground so that the danger of falling off and injury is reduced.

Amanda Katz Architects


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