Planning the perfect balustrade for your project
Glass balustrading is an extremely popular solution for a range of building applications, for many years now glass balustrading has been seen as the ‘go to’ solution for safe, secure and minimal look screening. In particular, the use of glass balustrades on balcony areas has been prevalent because of the safety benefits of glass balustrading coupled with the aesthetic advantages a sleek, clear ‘all glass’ balustrade systems can offer.
Typically glass balustrades can be divided in to three fundamental types, post, frameless or point fixed (also called stand off’s). Unsurprisingly post based systems feature a number of baluster posts in combination with glass clamps to secure the glass. Glass clamps are available in a range of sizes to accommodate various glass thicknesses, the clamps are available in ‘D’ or square shape and either radius or flat back depending on whether the post they are being fixed to is flat or round.
Frameless glass balustrades rely on a channel, base shoe or profile, all three are essentially the same but named differently depending on the manufacturer/supplier. The channel manufactured from aluminium and often clad in a finish of choice acts as the fixing point for the glass. The channel is available in various configurations to enable a range of applications, such as surface mounted, side mounted or top fixed with a flange to name a few. The channel is also available in a range of sizes to accommodate a range of toughened and toughened laminated glass.
There are several ways to fix glass into the frameless glass balustrade channel, either with a wet cement, tapped in wedges or a fixing device which in essence uses a tool or device to secure a specific ‘grip’ or torque upon the glass.
Point fixed (stand offs) offer an alternative solution to post and frameless systems. Point fixings are typically round fixings that secure the glass via a drilled hole in the glass with a threaded screw and cap, they can be resin fixed or screw fixed with a back plate. Point fixings require the glass to be drilled but the aesthetic benefits are worthwhile as the impact upon the overall installation is minimal. Point fixings are often used in combination with post and frameless installations depending on the specific needs and requirements of a project.
Several factors need to be considered when planning your perfect glass balustrade installation. Firstly, safety, is the balustrading in a potentially crowded area? Is there a risk of fall? For example, a stadium application. Glass balustrading can provide a safe and secure barrier for a range of applications, the type of glass and height of the glass balustrade need to be considered along with relevant British Standards, i.e. 6180:2011.
Secondly, Aesthetics, what look are you trying to create? Do you prefer the more substantial, regimented look of a glass post balustrade system and the extra sense of security and balance? Or perhaps you are looking to achieve the ‘all glass’ look with the bare minimum of interruption to the views beyond the balustrading? The great thing about all solutions is the light, fresh feeling they provide by unrestricting sunlight into any given interior or exterior. Consideration needs to be given to the type of handrail required, does it need to be fixed to the side of the glass? If so, the glass will need drilling. Handrails or ‘cap rails’ can be fixed to the top of the glass; this use of handrail also provides an important safety benefit by protecting the top of the exposed glass. Consult British Standards and local building regulations for specific details on the use of handrails.
Balustrade Components UK are a leading manufacturer and supplier of bespoke balustrade fixings – glass channel/profiles, glass clamps, handrail brackets, baluster posts, glass stand offs, brackets, washers, fasteners and other accessories.
Ensure your project achieves compliance
The relevant Building Standards for glass balustrade and glass staircase projects include Approved Document K for the Protection from Falling, Collision and Impact; and BS 6180:2011 Barriers in and about buildings.
Approved Document K sets out criteria and regulations for protection to people against impact, falling and collision with the glass balustrade structures.
British Standards 6180:2011 gives guidance and recommendations for the construction of railings and balustrades, including factors such as the material selection for the balustrades; the specified height that balustrades are to be constructed to; the various loadings that balustrades are meant to withstand; and the application or use of the balustrades and how this affects the design.
For further information on the range of high quality glass balustrade fixings available, or if you require support with your build project, please contact our friendly, competent team on 01543 624 780 or email email@example.com