The 2006 International Residential Code (IRC) Section 202 defined the term deck as, “An exterior floor system supported on at least two opposing sides by an adjoining structure and/or posts, piers, or other independent supports”. The term balcony was defined as, “An exterior floor projecting from and supported by a structure without additional independent supports”. Table R301.5 specified balconies to be designed for a minimum 60 pounds per square foot (psf) live load and decks to be designed for a minimum of 40 psf live load.
Reflecting the trend of overweight people using balconies less, the 2009 IRC has removed the separate definitions of “deck” and “balcony” from Section R202. Table R301.5 of the 2009 IRC marries both terms for a minimum design live load of 40 psf for either application.