A balustrade is a railing supported by posts or balusters, often forming an ornamental parapet to a balcony, bridge, or terrace. Homeowners usually install balustrades to provide safety and security, but they can also be purely decorative. In either case, they are an essential architectural element that can significantly enhance the appearance of your home. But when installing balustrades in your home, you have to ensure they meet Australian standards.
Height and Gaps
Regarding balustrades, specific Australian Standards must be adhered to to ensure the safety of both homeowners and guests. These Standards relate to the height of the balustrade and the maximum allowable gaps between balusters.
Regarding height, the Australian Standard for balustrades is a minimum of 900mm. Sticking to this height ensures there is no risk of someone falling over the edge and injuring themselves. For added safety, the Australian Standards also recommend that balustrades be at least 1100mm high if you place them near a swimming pool.
As for the gaps between balusters, the Australian Standard is a maximum of 100mm. This maximum gap is to prevent small children from being able to squeeze through and potentially fall from a great height. For added safety, the Australian Standards also recommend that the gaps between balusters be no more than 50mm if you place them near a swimming pool.
Materials and Strength
There are many different materials that you can use for balustrades, including timber, glass, metal, and stone. Each material has its benefits and drawbacks, so it’s crucial to select the right one for your needs.
Timber balustrades are strong and durable but require regular maintenance. On the other hand, glass balustrades are elegant and stylish but more expensive than other options. Metal balustrades are strong and low maintenance, but they can be cold and industrial in appearance. Stone balustrades are very durable, but they’re also quite heavy and expensive.
Regarding balustrade strength, timber is the strongest option, followed by metal, stone, and glass. Glass is the weakest option, but it can be reinforced with metal or plastic to increase its strength.
All balustrades must be able to withstand a force of at least 1.5kN. This force is the equivalent of a person weighing 150kg falling onto the balustrade from a height of one metre.
If you’re planning on installing a balustrade around your home, it’s essential to ensure it meets all the relevant Australian Standards.
The first step is to mark the area where the balustrade will go. Professionals usually do this by attaching a string line to two points at either end of the site.
Next, you’ll need to install the posts supporting the balustrade. These must be securely fixed into the ground using concrete or metal footings. You should also space the posts no more than one metre apart.
Once the posts are in place, you can start attaching the balustrade. You must attach them using non-corroding fixings, such as stainless steel screws or bolts. The balustrade must also be securely attached to the posts, with no gaps larger than 10mm between the two.
Finally, once the balustrade is installed, it’s essential to check that it meets all the relevant safety standards. This includes ensuring no sharp edges or points could cause injury and that the balustrade is high enough to prevent anyone from falling over.
There are several Australian Standards that relate to balustrades. These standards cover aspects such as design, construction, testing and inspection. Adhering to these standards is important in ensuring the safety of both the users of balustrades and the general public.
Make sure your balustrades meet the Australian standards for balustrades with the help of Aussie Balustrading and Stairs. We have a dedicated team of skilled professionals with a combined 50+ years of industry experience in balustrading. From here in Perth, the meticulous quality of our work, coupled with our honest, friendly approach to customer service, has seen us expand, servicing throughout Australia. Request a quote now!