For a few years now, balconies have been making an ongoing comeback in Israel. The planning and building regulations were changed in 2008, and this brought on a new wave of interest in adding balconies to existing residential buildings. Until that time, a balcony could potentially make your municipal taxes higher, and the bureaucracy involved in getting a permit was lengthy and complicated.
In 2008, the laws were amended, and it was decreed that a balcony can be added to an existing area without it technically being a ‘main living area’. What that means is that the balcony would be added on to what is called the house’s ‘service area’, and as such be exempt from the higher taxes, and in some cases incur no taxes at all.
The regulations allow the addition of balconies – one on top of the other – up to 12-14 square-meters. The law also states that in buildings where there are several tenants, the support of 75% of them is needed in order to get the necessary permits.
These days it is a lot easier for tenants associations to convince people to go ahead with plans for addition of balconies, but there will always be those who are against it, and those who will renege on their approval. Getting a building permit takes several months, preparing the actual balconies usually takes several months, and doing the actual job takes several months as well.
Some may say that the process is too complex, and maybe in buildings with large amounts of tenants that may be true. But in most cases, there won’t be problems or pitfalls. It all comes down to the solicitation abilities of the tenants association. When you decide to go for it, it is best to see which kind of balconies to invest in, in a way which will benefit everyone in the building.
There are advantages and disadvantages to every balcony, let’s go through some of the advantages.
The Advantages of Having a Balcony
It is not by chance that so many households and buildings have been vocal on this issue. A balcony can really boost any complex or structure, and with the variety of options which are offered to the public, there is no doubt that everyone will be able to find the balcony that is right for them. Some of the major advantages of a balcony:
Enhancing the surface area of the apartment – balconies which are built according to code will gain an additional 12-14 square meters, and contribute to the overall size of the apartment. This area can be used for any purpose: a place for potted plants and vegetation, a sitting area for guests, or even a play area for children (and/or adults who still love to play). Every owner has some kind of idea or vision for the space. There are endless uses for a balcony, and each homeowner can use it to his liking.
Enhancing the property value – with an initial investment of several thousand shekel, you can raise the value of your property by 15 percent (according to rough estimates). An apartment which has undergone some kind of upgrade or renovation, is worth more than it was beforehand. The relatively small investment, and the regulations amended in 2008, allow more citizens to join those who have already discovered the added financial benefit of having a balcony.
Natural sunlight – balconies allow to you enjoy the sunlight. The quality of our life is invariably connected with the physical places we inhabit. When there is a place in our home where we can walk out and let the sun recharge you, it becomes a place of greater health and balance. Natural light acts as a catalyst for positive physiological processes, such as the creation of vitamin D.
Balcony Types & Designs
There are various ways of adding a balcony to an existing structure. The most widely-used techniques in Israel are:
Reinforced concrete balcony – this is the most common material used in construction today. Concrete is a standard signifying quality, durability, and reliability. However, there are also disadvantages; low quality insulation, longer (and louder) construction time, and a higher cost.
Steel balcony – this is a material which is becoming more and more popular in Israel. Steel is a mixture of several elements, and it is constructed mostly of iron. It is strong and durable, but knows how to act in a flexible way. Steel is a substance with better insulation capabilities and lower costs. There is also the option of purchasing an industrial steel balcony, which is constructed in a factory or workshop, and which significantly reduces the amounts of noise, pollution, and time needed to construct and attach the balcony.
Then again, steel blends in less in the local architectural scenery (because many buildings are concrete), and there are cases when expansion of a balcony will only be allowed if concrete is used. Steel has less options when it comes to surfacing, which reduces the amount of creativity that can be put into the design.
Deck balcony – decks are a hit, whether indoors or out. Wood (or synthetic wood-like elements) provides every location with a more natural touch. It can be a hardwood floor, a pergola, or a deck balcony. It looks good, it’s elegant (when properly executed), and the costs change in accordance with the type of job and wood that you use.
On the other hand, a real deck requires annual upkeep, and some high quality wood costs a lot. A synthetic deck does cut the costs of maintenance, but the drawback, of course, is that synthetic is synthetic and some will only want the authentic wood feel.
Would be amazing to be at the end of this balcony day/night under the stars would be amazing plus that veiw💫 pic.twitter.com/HumA7RrtOa
— Adam Sankey (@ItsSANK) September 25, 2015
In 2008, the state decided to make things easier for its citizens. It may sound obvious and simple, but it isn’t. A matter like NOP 38 is no small thing. On the contrary, over time it has become one of the most significant building regulations to be amended in years.
There are a variety of reasons to upgrade your apartment or building with a balcony, and it doesn’t matter if it is a private house or a shared building. Not only can a balcony lead to a higher quality of life for the tenants, it is also a long-term financial decision which has many positive consequences.