Glass Balustrade | Juliet Balcony | Curved Patio Doors | Balcony Systems Articles Main Page
In this article we will deal with the regulations and requirements for railings and balustrades. This breaks downs into a few subjects:
The information below is taken from two British standards; BS6180:2011 "Barriers in and about buildings - Code of practice" which relates to the code of practice for balustrades in buildings and BS6399-1:1996 "Loadings for buildings - Part1: Code of practice for dead and imposed loads" which specifies the information on loadings. In this article we try and simplify into layman's terms some of the information and principles contained in these standards. Most of the building regulation documents relating to balustrades, railings and balconies is based on these standards.
Deflection Balustrade under load
There is no limitation per se which material can be used as the balustrade structure, obviously the material chosen must be:
Sometimes the balustrade structure includes, and is, the barrier, such as in the case of bars or perforated metal panels, and in many cases in the modern build use is made of glass as infill panels and in the case of structural glass, actually is the barrier.
When using glass you are obliged to use what is designated as safety glass, this can be either (a) toughened (aka tempered) or (b) Laminated
(a) Toughened glass Toughened or tempering is a process that the glass is subjected to consisting of heating the glass to around 700 degrees Celsius and quenching (cooling quickly). The quenching process, which takes about 1 minute, creates a strong layer on both sides of the glass while locking tension insides the core of the glass, making it approximately four times stronger to impact than regular float glass.
Why is this called “safety glass” you may ask. Well in answer to that we can explain that toughened glass, if broken, will not break into large pieces with big shards but rather it will "break safely" and shatter into hundreds or thousands of small, and therefore, not so dangerous little bits.)
(b) Laminated glass Laminated glass is made from at least two glass panels with an interlayer. The interlayer is usually made of plastic or is resin based. Laminated glasses can be made from two float panels, two toughened panels or a combination thereof. When tested for conformity laminated safety glass is allowed to break under impact but must not allow the impacting body to penetrate the panel.
In the United Kingdom it is toughened glass that is predominantly used. Laminated and toughened glass use is growing in particularly on high rise buildings. Whereas in Europe single pane toughened glass is not allowed. Only laminated glass is allowed.
Thickness and type of glass to be used is varied and greatly depends on the area it must protect, impact class required (there are several classes for impact of safety glass) and size of each single pane used, more on this in the section relating to loadings.
For internal railings or balustrades that are inside a single family dwelling the height required is 0.9m from "datum" (“datum” is defined as the height or point you can stand on) to the top of the handrail. For external balcony or terrace areas the required height is 1.1m from datum to the top of handrail.
Handrail height for stairs, internal or external and all usages is 0.9m from "datum"
Impact testing on the glass and balustrade
The loads are expressed in kN/m (kilo Newton metre) in simple terms this is a quantity very similar to 100Kg (220lb) of pressure per metre length. If for example it is stated that there is 1.0kN/m it will be approximately the equivalent of one person weighing 100kg putting their full weight on one metre length.
There are three basic loads that are required to be met; (a) Horizontal loading on the handrail, (b) vertical loading on the handrail and (c) loading on the infill. The horizontal loading on the handrail is called a "uniformly distributed line load" or UDL (basically meaning that the load needs to be calculated in a fashion that allows for even distribution of the pressure along the complete length of the element, as opposed to the sum of the load applied to one point). The vertical load on the handrail is composed of both a UDL vertical load and a point load. The load on the infill, be it glass, metal or other, is tested and calculated in two separate ways; a distributed load and a "point load". This means the infill of the railing, balustrade or barrier must be able to withstand an evenly distributed pressure as well as a concentrated pressure on a small point.
The loads are tested or calculated whereby the maximum deflection under pressure must not exceed 25mm.
You can divide regulations into these basic areas:
A) Domestic & residential (single family home) internal stairs/landings etc in which case the handrail pressure must be able to take 0.36kN/m. For external balconies and in light office areas non susceptible to overcrowding this is doubled to 0.74 kN/m. This can be compared to having one averagely weighing person 75kg applying the full force of their body on every metre of the balcony.
B) Public areas such as retail areas, bars and restaurants- the handrail pressure must be able to take 1.5 kN/m. This is doubled to a dramatic 3.0 kN/m in areas such as malls, discotheques and areas susceptible to overcrowding.
In relation to the loads that apply in these areas on the glass or infill panels we will show here the severe of the two loads which is the concentrated point load:
When dealing with glass barrier one more element must be taken into account and that is impact resistance of the glass. A minimum of 10mm glass should be employed in balcony areas that are wider than 1.5m.
Uniformly distributed load on the handrail
Glass Balconies in London
Residential Loading Requirements on Balconies
Balcony Systems Web Purchase Money Back Guarantee >>
Curved glass doors and tinted glass balustrades add space and privacy at the same time to stunning Port Solent, marina home in Portsmouth.
Grand Designs Live at Birmingham starts tomorrow and runs for 4 days. This is our eighth year at the show and to celebrate we’re offering a superb show discount.
Glass Balustrades, Curved Doors, composite decking and Juliet Balconies are all on show at the Grand Designs Exhibition in Birmingham. Click to register for complimentary tickets
Balcony Systems Solutions Ltd. We are recruiting for our Accounts Department. Part Time Accounts Assistant 8-10 Hours per week, flexible and could be worked in school hours.
Technical office positions, CAD technician, technical office, drawing office, draftsman. We are looking for intelligent technical persons for our technical department and drawings office.
We are recruiting for our office based sales team. Here at Balcony Systems Solutions we have a great sales team and a wonderful company atmosphere.
New glass balustrade and composite decking add ‘wow factor’ to thr roof terrace. A smart new glass balcony and composite decking, supplied by Balcony Systems, add the perfect finishing touch to a basement extension.
Balcony Views Magazine is now available to view and read online. An exciting magazine with ideas, innovations, practical information and design concepts to architects, contractors, developers and self-builders.
Glass balustrades supplied by Balcony Systems shelters the terrace from strong south-westerly winds, marks the garden boundary and allows clear views.
Balcony Views Magazine is an exciting magazine which includes new ideas, innovations, practical information and design concepts for architects, contractors, developers and self-builders.
High quality, looks good, easy to fit; not outrageous costs; a winner for us.
We were going down the route of a self designed bespoke wro...
The property (Uiseag is the Gallic for Skylark - many nest on the croft)is on the Western Isles - they can be windy - yes up to 80mph, so an...
Really pleased with the service I received and the product us great and just what we wanted for our renovation project, perfect look we were...
Balcony 2 System used for balcony and deck balustrades on rear of detached house overlooking Brighton, Sussex. Railing colours - Bronze and ...
This product combines the best balance of maximum visibility through glass and a pleasing, strong supporting structure. The anodised royal ...
The look of these products are top class, I did have an issue with colour finishes as a wanted a stainless steel look, so ordered the royal ...
The balustrade components and glass all arrived on time and our builders had no difficulty with the installation. The products fitted perfec...
Very pleased with the balcony product, our joiner was impressed with the quality of the materials used and easy to read instructions.
Did what it said on the tin, looked stunning, is low maintenance,guaranteed to last in seaside environment. Good value for money.
We have just completed our new oak frame house and have a super balcony area which looks fantastic with the Balcony system solutions product...
Balcony Systems Solutions Ltd supplied a clear glass Juliet balcony for a South London family whose major home extension project was featured on Channel 4's Double Your House for Half the Money with Sarah Beeny. >>
Castleoak, a leading care sector development and construction company, specified clear glass Juliette balconies from Balcony Systems for its latest care project to make the most of magnificent lakeside views in South Lanarkshire. >>