Open edges are a safety hazard—whether this is in a residence or a commercial space, it’s dangerous to leave a ledge unrailed or unfenced. When you have an unguarded ledge, it can lead to serious injuries. Just as bad as having an unfenced ledge, though, is having balustrades that are not built to standard.
Your balustrade is an important component of your home; it is both a design element and a safety mechanism. Your balcony, platform, or ledge should always have a balustrade and railing; barring modern minimalist designs, most staircases should have these features as well. To ensure that your balustrades are properly installed, and to be confident that your design meets legal requirements, you have to consult the regulations in your territory.
The rules covering domestic and commercial construction are frequently updated. If you are thinking of installing railing and balustrades, you have to be sure that you’re following the latest guidelines for your building type. Keep in mind the following things when discussing a project with your custom staircase manufacturer.
What are the current guidelines?
A balustrade is measured from the point where someone is stood to the top of the handrail. Inside a structure, a balustrade should be at least 0.9 meters high. This must be maintained all the way around the handrail. In contrast, the height of external handrails and balustrades can change. Outdoors, the balustrade must measure 1.1 meters from datum to the top of the rail.
The datum describes the point of reference for the structure. This takes into account the measurement from the surface where people will stand, walk around, and generally occupy. The datum dictates the minimum heights, though you and the designer can decide to increase the height of the balustrade.
What should we watch for when constructing?
You should consider getting taller balustrading if you have young children and elderly residents in your home. You want to discourage accidental falling or children climbing the balustrades; keeping safety handrails tall will help in that regard. Furthermore, if you have heavy foot traffic in your area, you should get balustrades made from a durable material like steel.
If you use a flimsy, poorly-installed glass fence, for example, you might cause an additional safety hazard if the balustrade cracks or shatters. Thus, it is not enough to have your railing installed. You have to constantly monitor your building elements. Having tall balustrades is not a 100 per cent guarantee that no accidents will take place, but it is enough of a deterrent for most days. What you could do is keep yourself informed and your risk assessment records updated.
What should you do if you spot an issue?
When your balustrade is unstable, if there are visible cracks, or if it is otherwise compromised, you must act quickly. You have to assess how much of your balustrade and handrail needs to be replaced; though it can make a great impact financially, there are greater repercussions if you leave your handrails and balustrades unchecked. Furthermore, if you’re a business owner and you fail to meet guidelines, you might be asked to pay fines.
Balustrade and railing regulations are strict, and rightly so—these greatly contribute to the safety of your staff, your family, or anyone else who uses your structure. It is important to keep your balustrades working and to make sure that they meet local standards.
For quality balustrading in Perth, get in touch with Aussie Balustrading and Stairs. We are a manufacturer and supplier of custom steel and glass balustrading, as well as railings for stairs, pool fencing, and more. Contact us today to learn more about our offers.