Requirements for Frameless Glass Balustrades
Glass balustrades, in particular, frameless glass balustrades, are a popular use of structural glazing to provide a protection against level changes in an architectural design. The advantage of using glass for such a barrier means that it is completely transparent and clear, minimising disruption on views from within the building and also minimising the impact the existence of the barrier has on the building design.
Height Requirements for Glass Balustrades
The necessary height requirements for glass balustrades are determined by the building’s use and is detailed in Building Regulations Part K (Diagram 3.1). These are given in the height of the balustrade above Finished Floor Level (FFL).
In a private residential building a balustrade is needed:
|At opening windows (expect roof windows in loft extensions, See Building Regulations Part B1)||800mm|
|Internal Balustrades (stairs, landings, ramps, edges of internal floors etc.)||900mm|
|External Balustrades (balconies, edges of roofs, external stairs etc)||1100mm|
Commercial, assembly and retail spaces have different height requirements for their balustrades. The purpose of these height requirements is to ensure that the balustrade offers adequate protection from level changes considering the likely traffic and use of the space.
Do glass balustrades need a continuous handrail?
It is a common question we hear during the specification of a frameless glass balustrade. The simple answer is no, you do not always need a continuous handrail even if the glass is completely frameless. Handrails are not necessary according to BS6180:2011 Section 8.5.2:
“a handrail should always be used unless a laminated toughened glass construction is used that would remain in situ if a panel fails.”
So if you use toughened and laminated glass that will remain in situ should the glass panel fails then you do not need a continuous handrail.
We would recommend using toughened and laminated glass as standard for all frameless glass balustrades. The thickness of glass needed will depend on the location of the balustrade considering the use of the space. Of course every situation and installation is different, so we work with you to come with the best solution to your exact requirements.