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Balcony's handrail spans and post spacing

Glass Balustrades  |  Juliette Balconies  |  Curved Glass  |  Balcony Systems Articles

This article covers the subject of maximum allowable handrail spans without the use of vertical posts and when posts are required with their respective maximum allowable spans.

Maximum handrail spans

These sizes relate to maximum spans of the systems that can be achieved without the need to place vertical posts. On Balcony 1 system (70mm diameter handrail system) the maximum spans that the handrail can have between points of support is 3.3 metres (3300mm).  So if you have a balustrade which is going from wall to wall the maximum span that handrail can have without posts is 3.3 metres. If, for example,  you have a balustrade with three sides made using the Balcony 1 system handrail coming out from a wall (fixed to the wall), it can go out 3.3 metres, it can turn 90 degrees another 3.3 metres and again 90 degrees and can return 3.3 metres again being fixed into a wall.  This would be structurally safe as a balustrade with no vertical posts at all.

On Balcony 2 system (116mm X51mm handrail size) because of the size and shape of the handrail it has a stronger resistance and can achieve a maximum handrail span between points of support which is larger than Balcony 1.  The maximum handrail span on Balcony 2 system is 4.0 metres so you can have a balustrade fixing from wall to wall of 4.0 metres without the need for vertical posts.  

The points of support we refer to are either a secure wall fixing or a corner of 90 degree with a minmum of 1.0m on either side.

Maximum post spacing

The maximum post spacing that you can have on a Balcony 1 system is 1.9 metres between centres of posts.  When the maximum alowable span without posts is surpassed, 3.3 metres in Balcony 1, vertical [posts must be introduced.  If for instance you have a ten metre run, it will need to be divided into a spans of maximum 1.9m spans. This will give you a result of more than 5 and of course we have to make sure we don’t surpass the maximum spacing and will need to divide the opening into 6 parts. 1.9m must be the maximum spacing so it would need to be reduced from that.  

The maximum post spacing on Balcony 2 is 2.1 metres.  Any opening or any span that is more than the 4.0metres must have posts spaced at maximum 2.1 metres.  

Balcony system 1 handrail span and post spacing


Balcony system 2 handrail span and post spacing

Maximum post spacing  Balcony 1 and Balcony 2

Common misconception and mix up

There is a common misconception and misunderstanding when we say that we can span 3.3m with Balcony 1 or 4.0m with Balcony 2.  We mean the maximum span of the handrail where it is supported both ends by way of a wall fixing or corner. It can be misunderstood that we can span this distance between posts but this is not true and this is very important to understand that it’s a maximum spacing between posts of 2.1m on Balcony 2 and 1.9m on Balcony 1, not a maximum spacing of 3.3m or 4.0m between posts.

The large maximum spans we can have between points of support and also the large post spacing we have with our system makes the system very attractive. Usually a posted system will have a post every 1 metre but the Balcony systems obviously can be almost 2 metres with Balcony 1 and just a little over 2 metres with Balcony 2 and with many balconies it can have no posts on large balconies of 3 metres wide replicating the look of structural glass yet not reaching the cost of structural glass.

An additional feature that makes the system so attractive is the fact that is has very clean lines. Between the bottom rail and the top rail we do not need any other fixings so the glass is fixed top and bottom with nothing else showing. Clean vertical glass lines all along.  When there are posts, the posts don’t have anything sticking out of them to hold onto the glass and the system overall gives a very nice feel of clean and smooth lines.  


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