Hybrid Glass Balustrade - Aerofoil System

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Balconette's best seller glass balustrade is the Aerofoil (Balcony 2) System. The system is named the "Aerofoil system" because of the unique shape of the handrail profile. The handrail is not just aesthetically pleasing but can also allow spans of 4.0m without vertical posts.

This video explains the Aerofoil System, how it works, length limitations and how it can achieve runs without posts for 4.0m. The video explains when posts are required and how frequent these need to be. Designed and manufactured in England by Balconette at its Surrey Factory.

Maximum spans, post distances and limitations

In this video we will explain the parameters, allowable spans and post distances of the Aerofoil glass balustrade system.

The Aerofoil System uses a uniquely designed handrail that possesses an aerofoil shape and is 116 millimetres wide and 51 millimetres high.We have employed structural engineers to create a set of generic structural calculations on the application of the system in accordance with building regulations and BS6180.

The strength of the handrail and its rigidity determines the maximum span that the handrail can support. Therefore if the handrail is fixed to the wall or structure at both ends, then the handrail of the Balcony 2 System can span four (4.0) metres without the need for any vertical posts.

The wall fixing is referred to in the report as “a point of support”. Due to the way the system works and the way the glass is bonded to the rails a corner of 90 degrees where the sides are at least ONE metre long is also considered “a point of support” and therefore the same maximum span rule applies to such a corner.

For instance if you have a 3 sided balcony starting with the handrail fixed to the wall, going out 4.0 metres, turning 90 degrees and going along 4.0 metres once again turning 90 degrees returning back to the wall 4.0 metres – this entire run can be made without the need for vertical posts. In theory if you kept turning 90 degrees in this way, you could keep going forever without the need for posts

So when are posts needed?

Posts are required when one or more of the following exists; when the length of the run is longer than the maximum allowable span without posts of four (4.0) metres, or when the handrail cannot be fixed to the structure or wall firmly at both ends of the balustrade run.

When posts are introduced the limiting factor is the strength of the post and this is what now determines the maximum post distances allowed.


When posts are introduced the limiting factor is the strength of the post and this is what now determines the maximum post distances allowed.

The post is made from a two part system; the primary steel post that has a base plate, and the cover post.

On the Aerofoil System the primary post is made from a rectangular steel section sixty (60) millimetres deep by twenty five (25) millimetres width.

This post is welded to a fifteen (15) millimetre thick base plate measuring one hundred and fifty (150) millimetres by One hundred and seventy (170) millimetres.

These posts are usually installed beneath the finished floor level and then, on final installation, covered by the Aerofoil system’s cover post.

The maximum post spacing allowed on Aerofoil system with this type of post is Two point one (2.1) metres between post centres. This means that once the run surpasses four (4.0) metres in length, posts must be introduced and the maximum span between post centres can be Two point one (2.1) metres.

Corner posts are not required and the Two point one (2.1) metres can be measured from the corner, which is a point of support.

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