We often think that balustrades are merely decorative accents. The series of vertical posts along the stairway and the vertical railing on top of them are a common sight in any residence, despite appearing in multiple forms and styles.
Aside from serving an aesthetic purpose, however, they also have an essential security and safety function. These are a crucial element of any stair design—providing stability for both the person travelling up and down the steps and for the entire stair structure as well.
The Importance of Continuous Handrails in Perth
Most people don’t give much thought about the style or importance of continuous handrails unless they are designing or renovating a house. What is important to homeowners is that safety handrails along stairways are a requirement. There are many codes and guidelines that regulate the design and construction of handrails for them to be considered safe.
If you are in the middle of house construction, and you want to make sure that your stairs are built according to the standards, here are critical points according to the Building Code of Australia (BCA):
Handrails are required on any change in elevation over one meter.
If you have a difference in elevation inside your home, you may need to provide a handrail to one side, even if there are only one or two steps to climb. This is a requirement if the height difference is more than a meter—although most houses typically have more significant elevations that require several stair treads anyway.
When in doubt, provide a handrail regardless of the height to guarantee that people can cross the elevation safely.
Your handrail needs to be continuous along with each flight of stairs
It can be confusing to imagine what continuous handrails indicate, but it all depends on the interior design. What you need to keep in mind is that, regardless of your stair plan, you need to be able to reach out and hold a handrail while you traverse along the entire length of the stairs, from top to bottom. Safety handrails, however, are not required in the landing area between flights.
You only need to put them on either side
You are only required to install one horizontal handrail on either side of the stairway. Even if you don’t have a row of balusters (vertical wood or metal posts to hold up the bar), you still need at least one railing attached to the wall or half-wall. In some cases, walls surround entire stairwells, but even with the possibility of holding onto the wall, you still need to provide something to hold on to.
Some balustrades in modern houses are made of a frameless half-walls of glass. In this case, your interior designer may need to become creative with the application of a handrail by expertly anchoring it to the surface, or providing a metal bar along the edge of the glass instead.
Continuous handrails may seem like a difficult addition to throw into your house’s design—especially wiht all the requirements dictated by law. While there are many indications to follow, a capable interior designer can make safety handrails both beautiful and functional at the same time.
Are you looking for a supplier of balustrades and commercial handrails in Perth? At Aussie Balustrading, we offer a variety of safety handrails designs perfect for any Perth installation. Call us for more information and view our catalogue today!