The Building Code of Australia and all previous technical building regulations apply various regulations for balconies which have predominantly been structural and drainage provisions. A number of States’ building regulations have nominated balconies by a building surveyor/ building certifier to include in their essential safety measures schedule/ determination.

Building Code of Australia

Many clauses exist in the Building Code of Australia for the construction of balconies in the various Classes of buildings; building permits need to allow for structural, drainage, safe access (access and egress) and various fire resistance level for balconies.

The following photographs depict external balconies used as a path of travel to reach a fire isolated stairway.

The following is a part extract of clause I1.1 for an Essential Safety Measure (as appeared in BCA 2013) known as open balconies:

Table I1.12 Safety Measures – Other Measures

Safety MeasuresBCA Provision for Determining Standard of Performance
Balconies PartB1

Essential Safety Measures Audit – Balconies

An essential safety measures auditor must be aware of the provisions nominated in the Building Code of Australia for the construction of balconies. First of all because a balconies fire ratings and safety access is paramount and second the structural stability of balconies must be maintained. The auditor should be experienced to check balconies for wet rot, seaside corrosive effects and termites. It is difficult for an essential safety measures auditor to assess ‘live loads’ on balconies, unless they are occurring during an inspection. Owners and occupiers of balconies should ensure that the live load, people and equipment/ furniture do not exceed the structural capacity of the building elements in balconies to hold the combined weight up. All defects on balconies must be recorded in the essential safety measures logbook to allow for signing the Annual Statement, Annual Certificate of Compliance, Annual Fire Safety Statement, Annual Maintenance Statement and Annual Occupiers Statement.