Glass balustrades lend a modern aesthetic to any building project, be it homes, offices or outdoor balconies. Their popularity is not merely due to their visual appeal, but their functionality and safety.
One big consideration when it comes to choosing a glass balustrade is the glass thickness you need. This isn’t always just down to visual preference, the thickness of the glass balustrade can often be dictated by strict safety regulations.
What are the building regulations related to glass balustrades?
Building regulations for glass balustrades are designed to ensure safety and functionality. These regulations vary from region to region but generally focus on aspects like minimum height, glass thickness, and the necessity of a handrail.
Check out our article ‘Do you need planning permission to install glass balustrades outside’ for more information about the regulations you need to be aware of when installing balustrades.
How tall does a glass balustrade need to be?
Determining the appropriate height for glass balustrades is a crucial aspect of ensuring their safety and compliance with building regulations. According to UK building codes, the required height for a glass balustrade varies depending on its location.
In residential situations, where there’s a potential fall height greater than 600mm, such as balconies, the minimum height requirement for a glass balustrade is 1100mm from the standing surface. On the other hand, for stairs, landings or ramps, the glass balustrade needs to be at least 900mm high, measured from the pitch line, which is the line connecting the front part of each step in a flight of stairs.
By adhering to these regulations, you can ensure that your glass balustrades serve not only as an aesthetic feature but also provide necessary safety and support.
How thick does a glass balustrade need to be?
The ideal glass balustrade thickness depends on a multitude of factors, including the length of the panels and the location of the balustrade. As a rule of thumb, for a standard residential balustrade, a thickness of at least 10mm toughened glass is typically recommended. For larger spans or commercial applications, the thickness should be increased accordingly to maintain safety and stability.
Is a Handrail Necessary for Glass Balustrades?
According to UK building regulations, under the standard BS6180:2011 Section 5.5.2, a handrail is not necessary. However, it is advised that a handrail is used unless your balustrade is constructed using toughened laminated glass as this will remain in situ if a panel fails.
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