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There are many versions of glass balustrades that are available in the UK market these days. They should be broken down into two main categories:
The first type would be the posted type which means they rely on the vertical posts for their strength.
Examples of balustrades that are reliant on posts This type of system can have variations in types of post, frequency of posts, how the glass is connected to the post or if there’s a handrail or if there isn’t a handrail. This is more the traditional system and will usually have post fixed at regular intervals of appx 1.0m. Most posted systems will have and use corner posts. Glass is usually fixed via claps or lugs that are fixed to the post and hold the panels.
The other type of glass system would be a structural glass balustrade. Why is it called “structural glass”? well this is because the glass acts at the structure and not just a panel that in fills the gap. This type would rely on the strength of the glass for the loading. The glass being strong enough to take any load applied onto it.
Examples of balustrades using structural glass The structural glass balustrade also varies to some degree but always cantilevering the glass (By cantilevering is meant that the glass is in embedded into a type of “U” channel or some type of clamping system that holds the glass panel at the bottom of it while the load is applied to the top of the glass) Invariably a structural glass system will require thick panels of glass, usually with a minimum of 15mm and toughened. The glass itself acts as the barrier and is the balustrade both the infill panel and the load bearing element (structure), or the resister to the loads applied. On top of a structural glass balustrade you would normally have a handrail. That handrail per British standard must be able to support the load if one of the glass panels breaks and there’s a gap between two glasses that handrail must be strong enough to take the required load across the empty area that is missing the panel.
Structural glass system can now be made without any handrail, as long as the correct thickness of glass is used and that the glass must be laminated. These are also known as fully frameless systems.
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