Rosedale United Balcony Reinforcement

Construction just started on reinforcement of the historic balcony in Rosedale United Church. The original cast iron balustrade wobbles significantly under hand pressure, and we determined together with the church administration that it needed to be remedied. We worked back and forth with Quaile Engineering for quite a while to develop a reinforcement system that will meet modern code requirements without significant changes to the balcony's appearance.

The first photograph shows the balcony under construction, with most of the cast iron balustrade pieces removed. Reinforcement is to be completed while leaving the top rail in place, so the contractor has left balustrade components at intervals to support the rail.

The second photograph is a closeup of the base of the balustrade on the inside; it is secured with screws to a wood strip with a triangular cross section. The third photograph shows the same area from a distance.

Site observations and structural analysis indicate that the main problem with this assembly is the connection between the wood strip and the joists below - it is simply nailed on from the top and rotates when there is horizontal pressure on the handrail.