Regulatory Codes and British Specifications Applicable to Balustrading & Handrails

Building In a previous article we covered the bare basics on building regulations with a handy 8 point guide.

In this article we introduce some of the regulatory codes and British specifications which apply to balustrading and handrails in the UK:

Applicable Regulations and British Standards

  1. BS 6180 2011 gives the latest recommendations and guidance for the construction of barriers in and around buildings. This document looks at the use of balustrades, covers the design of barriers, use of materials, fixing methods, and gives guidance on loadings and allowable deflections.
  2. BS 6399-1 & BS EN 1991-1-7:2006 are the generally recognised codes of practice for the minimum recommended dead and imposed loads in buildings. The portion of BS EN 1991-1-7:2006 that is relevant to balustrading and handrails is table 4 and this gives the recommended minimum load requirements based on the type of building occupancy. Please speak to one of our specialists who will be able to provide accurate load information on your particular application.
  3. BS 5395 provides recommendations and codes of practise for the design of straight flights and winders in part 1, and helical & spiral stairs in part 2.
  4. BS 8300 provides guidance of the design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people. It is a huge document covering a large range of aspects from toilets to staircases!
  5. Approved Document K is a building regulation document providing guidance on protection from falling, collision and impact.
  6. Document M again is a building regulation document covering access to, and the use of, buildings by everyone, including disabled people.  This covers requirements for balustrades and handrails, both internally and externally.

Look out for further issues where we will drill into more detail, including proposed government changes. In the meantime drop us an email if you have any questions.

Information is given as a guide and is not intended to be exhaustive. It remains the reader’s responsibility to take specific independent advice and to comply with local legislation. Taken from BSS5395, EN1991, BS6180, BS8300