Deck railing code – If local laws follow international residential code, balconies in your area that are 30 inches or more above surrounding floor must have guardrails. Even if balcony has additional supports – potentially classify it as a porch or deck – it should have handrails based on same 30-inch rule. If you build a bench or level area on edge of living terrace, you cannot count as balcony railing if balcony floor is located 30 inches or more above surrounding floor.
Deck railing code should be installed to reach a height of 36 inches above balcony floor. Railing can be solid, as in case of transparent or translucent Plexiglas or plastic walls, popular in modern buildings. Otherwise, if railing is made up of handrails or balusters, they should be spaced at intervals of no more than 4 inches. Also, if handrails do not continue to balcony floor, instead find a horizontal toe-board piece, space between floor and bottom edge of to joint cannot be more than 4 inches.
When constructing a balcony, many communities require a preliminary inspection prior to start of construction, as well as an inspection of building at completion of work. In addition, International Code Council recommends that building owners and managers have balconies and deck railing code periodically inspect, especially wood, a material highly susceptible to weathering and decay.