Posted on

When do Glass Balustrades Need a Handrail? 

There’s no denying the aesthetic appeal of a glass balustrade. Serving as a protective barrier, your glass balustrade will clearly define stairways, ledges, pool areas, decking and balconies whilst ensuring the safety of your friends, family, pets and guests. In some cases it may be possible to install a glass balustrade without a handrail, however for some applications this is not permitted. In this blog post we will be sharing some of the regulations which apply to all balustrade installations in NSW, including when handrails must be installed.  

Balustrading Regulations – The Basics 

A balustrade consists of balusters supporting a rail. The balusters themselves may take the form of pillars, columns or posts. There are a few key balustrading regulations to be aware of, with most of the following being applicable throughout Australia.  

  • Where there is a difference greater than 1 meter between a floor and adjacent surface, a balustrade (or other appropriate barrier) must be installed. 
  • At heights greater than 4 meters, the balustrade design must not facilitate climbing.  
  • Balustrades must have a minimum height of 1 meter. 
  • A 125mm sphere must not be able to pass between the openings of a balustrade.  
  • Balustrades must meet AS/NZS 1170.1 concerning loads and impacts. 

When are Handrails Required? 

In accordance with Australian regulations and Building Codes, there are circumstances in which a handrail is required to be installed on your balustrade. Handrails serve an important function, as they allow for tactile contact and assist with directional guidance and support. If your balustrade is more than 1m above floor level, you must install a handrail. Balustrades installed along staircases will also need handrails in most cases. Most staircases in residential premises require a single handrail, whilst commercial premises and any staircases wider than 1.2m require handrails on both sides. Handrails should also be considered for handicap ramps with an incline greater than 150mm. 

It is important to remember that whilst frameless glass balustrades are made from toughened laminated safety glass, they are not immune to breakage. In the event of glass breakage, a handrail will clearly define the area and provide some support and stability. This can help to reduce the risk of falls and injury.  

Even if handrails are not a legal requirement for your situation, they are still worth considering. There are a wide range of styles and colours to choose from, and a well-chosen handrail can complement your balustrade design beautifully whilst optimising safety.  

Balustrade Handrail Essentials 

  • Handrails must be installed if the area is more than 1000mm from the ground 
  • Handrails should be continuous  
  • Handrails should allow unrestricted movement of an individual’s hand 
  • Handrails should be smooth to the touch, without any sharp edges 
  • There are a range of design, height and width requirements which must be adhered to. In choosing a reputable glass balustrading installer, you can rest assured that their designs will comply with BCA and AS requirements.  
  • For handrail compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), you should consult AS/NZS 1428.  

Safe, compliant, and stylish balustrade and handrail installations – Contact Railsafe Today 

Railsafe are a leading installer of balustrading systems in Sydney. We take safety seriously, so you can rest assured that you will receive a compliant and high-quality installation which will stand the test of time and keep your friends, family and co-workers safe. Whether you’re looking to retrofit handrails to your existing balustrade, or invest in a brand new balustrade system, please don’t hesitate to contact us today for an obligation free quote.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *