When installing air-conditioner condenser units and planter boxes on upper-storey balconies in residential buildings it is essential to consider their placement in relation to the balcony barrier (balustrade). If installed close to a balustrade, they can provide a climbing point for children who could fall over the barrier with tragic consequences.

The National Construction Code requires that: where people could fall 1 m or more; a barrier must be provided which must be continuous and extend for the full extent of the hazard; and be of a height to protect people from accidentally falling”.

To further ensure the safety of all people using balconies, particularly when positioning planter boxes on balconies as they are not regulated, the VBA suggest that the following be incorporated:

  • Provide screens with non-climbable elements around or in front of the air–conditioning condenser unit;
  • Provide a 900 mm non-climbable zone from the top of the barrier, similar to that of a swimming pool barrier;
  • Install a steeply angled capping to the top of the unit to prevent climbing on to the unit;
  • Install the unit above the height of the barrier;
  • Ensure that there are no fixed items between 150 mm and 760 mm above the floor within a horizontal dimension of 900 mm from the inside face of the barrier or in the case of the planter box on the outside that the planter box is not situated at an open joint between the glass panels, where that opening is greater than 10 mm;
  • Ensure that any conduits, pipes, taps and hose cocks are also placed behind guards.

Further information can be found via : Industry-Alert-Air-conditioners-on-Balconies