Glass balustrades are often frameless, which are popular materials used for structural glazing. These provide an extra layer of protection against level changes, especially considering a building’s architectural design. Although other materials can be used, most contractors opt to use glass as barriers due to being completely clear and transparent. This minimises disruptions in terms of views, allowing the interior to flow better.
In more ways than one, however, a glass balustrade is used to protect against possible accidents that come with changes in floor level. Private regional dwellings, for instance, are required to have a balustrade installation when the floor level is greater than 23 inches.
While the prospect of using a glass balustrade seems straightforward enough, working on this project requires the knowledge of various elements. For one, you need to ensure that the materials used are strong and secure, while others ponder on the idea of the BCA’s handrail rules.
To fully understand what your balustrade project entails, here is a quick guide for you—we answer two of the most pressing questions, in the hope of quelling any doubt.
Does a balustrade installation need to comply with Australian laws and regulations?
Balustrades come with their own risks, and there are laws and regulations that cover the use of balustrades. In Australia, all balustrades should come in compliance with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) Parts 3.9.1 (stairs) and 3.9.2 (balustrades), along with Australian Standard (AS) 1170.1. The codes specify certain aspects of the balustrades’ safety, including the movement of people between levels of a building and raised platforms.
In compliance with these safety measures, continuous balustrades need to be installed at the edge of a raised platform, stairway, or path not bounded by surfaces more than 1 metre above finished ground. Balustrades must also contain openings between posts that are no greater than 14.9 inches.
The balustrades installed can have non-slip handrails for stairs, and it also needs to be stiff to avoid breaking under pressure. Balustrades need to withstand impacts determined by AS 1170.1.
Do glass balustrades need a continuous handrail installation?
The mix of glass balustrades and handrail installation certainly makes sense, especially since your primary goal is to ensure safety and security. However, according to BS 6180: 2011, Section 8.5.2, handrails are not always necessary, even if the glass used is frameless.
You only need to use a handrail if your glass has not been laminated and toughened during glass production, which is a standard procedure to ensure that no panel fails. If you are sure with your glass panel set’s durability, however, a handrail is not necessary. In essence, investing and utilising a strengthening layer within your glass balustrades negate the need for a continuous handrail.
Ensuring Aesthetics and Safety
Glass balustrades have always been a beautiful aspect of buildings, especially since glasswork has long been considered as an art form. There is more to these glass panels than meets the eye, however, as they are used all over the country to ensure safety and compliance, particularly when it comes to the BCA. If you wish to have glass balustrades installed in your buildings, it’s always wise to gain a little more knowledge—especially considering the rules and regulations.
That said, have your projects be handled by the best in Western Australia. Aussie Balustrading offers you glass balustrades and handrails in Perth, perfect for your residential and commercial needs. Allow us to deliver you quality products and unparalleled services—reach out to us today.