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Case Study – Gutter Installation Residential High-rise Apartment Building, Melbourne

Posted 05 Jul by

Customer name – Focus Facility Management body corporate.

Property type – Residential high-rise apartment building, Melbourne CBD.

Property description – High-rise apartment building in central Melbourne houses 70 apartments, spread out over six floors.

Reason for call-out – We were called to investigate excess water running off from a balcony to the units below. We were approached by the body corporate to identify the source of water overflow that was causing issues with a tenant on the bottom floor. That resident had reported to the body corporate that they were experiencing problems with water flow coming from a balcony above them when it rained.

Initial assessment – We traced the source of the water overflow to the apartment above the affected tenant, five floors up. When it rained, the water overflowed onto this balcony. From there, the moisture would drip through the bottom of the balcony, through a 1,200mm gap, onto the façade. It then trickled to the first floor, where it dripped onto the balcony below. A flaw in the design of this 30-year-old building was the root of the issue. Only the bottom floor unit was affected as it was the smallest unit; the apartments above all had bigger, terrace-type balconies.

Description of work performed – Our solution was to recommend a gutter be installed at the bottom of the fifth-floor balcony. This could be plumbed back into the building’s plumbing system to the original down pipe, which runs into the drain. We measured it out, placed an order for the correct size gutter, and then fitted the necessary PVC pipes. We flood tested the balcony by spraying water on the balcony floor to make sure the water was carried away efficiently to prevent it from pooling again.

Areas of property treated – Balcony on the fifth floor was fitted with guttering to prevent water flow issues.

Considerations – We first had to colour match the gutter that we had made up to make sure it blended with the façade wall colour. We needed to plumb the PVC pipe into the existing pipeline, which was about six meters away from the gutter. We ran a long, straight PVC pipe horizontally along the wall at an angle and drilled into the stormwater pipe. It was then secured and sealed. The building is constructed using concrete, so we had to use a masonry drill and place a tap in to make sure it was anchored into the wall, and the guttering was securely attached to the outside of the building.

Preventative recommendations – The gutter fit prevented the issue from reoccurring. The gutter was placed directly underneath the balcony, so any water that runs off the floor in the future will be caught in the channel. The PVC pipe that runs from the gutter onto the drainpipe is angled slightly to ensure it runs into the main drain pipe, to be carried away. We recommended the client continues with annual maintenance to make sure the gutter remains clear.

Customer feedback/thoughts – The client approved the scope of works, and we haven’t received any issues with water issues reoccurring.

Summary – Drainage issues on high-rise buildings are not common, but when they occur, they need to be fixed quickly to prevent damage to the apartments or items in them. Where we see water trickling down from a balcony above other units, installing guttering is a cost-efficient solution.

We can help….

Off Your Wall is relied upon for a range of commercial property maintenance and window cleaning services in Melbourne. We work with private businesses, government, and body corporates on all buildings, including high-rise buildings, offering gutter cleaning, downpipe repairs and plumbing services.