Weight limits for balconies are put in place to keep you and your family safe. There have been tragic accidents over the years of a balcony collapsing when too many people or items are placed on it that exceed the weight limit.
In order to stay safe in your new apartment complex or condo, you need to be aware of the general weight restrictions for your type of balcony. These weight limits can vary slightly, but overall there is a country-wide regulation in place to ensure balconies can hold multiple people and some furniture.
Balcony Weight Limits
The amount of weight a balcony can hold will depend on a few different factors including the anchoring method and whether or not it is anchored into stone, brick, or metal framing, and the material the balcony itself is made with.
In most cases around the country, balconies are designed to hold up to 10 people and can support no less than 50 pounds per square inch. This includes furniture and decorative items too, so if you have some large potted plants or some heavy furniture, you won’t be able to have as many people on the balcony.
For a single family apartment or condo with a small balcony, this weight limit is plenty for some outdoor furniture, a few potted plants, a small grill, and four or five people. As long as your apartment building or multi-dwelling complex is up to date on their balcony inspections, you can rest assured knowing your balcony can support a great amount of weight easily.
Balcony safety inspections are extremely important and should be done on a regular basis. Most balcony inspections should be done at least once every 8 years, though changes in some state health & safety regulations are changing this to every 6 years.
This balcony inspection is done by a structural engineer experienced in balcony integrity, or a licensed architect that has worked with a variety of exterior structures including the balcony itself, all external walkways, any attached stairways, and all railings.
Inspections on these exterior elements are to check a variety of areas including anchoring spots where the balcony is secured to the exterior of the building it is attached to, signs of rust, warping or decay on any hardware or connection points, integrity of safety railings, and more.
New California Laws
Due to a 2015 balcony collapse in Berkeley California which caused the death of multiple people, the state has started imposing more strict rules and inspection criteria when it comes to balconies.
The health and safety code stated that balconies on buildings with more than 3 units were to have inspections every 6 years, instead of the normal 8 years. These inspections cover not only exterior raised balconies, but also decks, external stairways and walkways, porches, and other weight-bearing structures that extend horizontally from the exterior walls of a building and are more than 6 feet off the ground.