Monday, March 27, 2023

Most Oxford Commercial Balconies Deemed Safe

By Alyssa Schnugg

News editor

The Thompson House is one of three buildings having its balcony inspected next week to make sure it is in compliance with the International Building Code. Photo by Alyssa Schnugg

Commercial balconies are reviewed by the Oxford Building Department every five years to make sure they are in compliance with the International Building Code adopted by the city.

The code mandates that balconies can safely hold 100 pounds per square foot.

On Tuesday, Hollis Green, director of the Department of Developmental Services, told the Board of Aldermen that most of the buildings with balconies submitted inspection reports and were deemed safe; however, there are three building owners who still have not yet submitted reports and three building owners who did submit reports, but were found not to to be compliance with the code.

Duval’s, the Thompson House building and University Sporting Goods have not yet submitted inspection reports; however, Green told the Board they have all contracted with structural engineer Mark Watson of Tupelo.

The Simply Southern building has two weeks to get a letter from a licensed engineer stating the balcony’s current max capacity. Photo by Alyssa Schnugg

“He told me he expects to inspect them next week and should have the reports to us by the next time you all meet,” he said.

Square Books Jr., My Favorite Shoes and Something Southern did have inspections done but did not meet IBC standards.

“None of these businesses are in imminent failure,” Green said. “Chris Carter, our building official, didn’t go out and determine anything was going to fall. But this Board has to decide how we want to move forward.”

The Aldermen voted to give the three buildings that were scheduled to have inspections done with Watson two weeks to get their reports into the city and the three that were found not in compliance have two weeks to get a letter from a licensed engineer stating the balconies current max capacity.

Once the city receives the letters, the Board will evaluate moving forward and consider setting timelines for the business owners to bring them into IBC compliance.