Specifying glass balustrades – what you need to know
Glass balustrades are an increasingly popular feature within modern construction designs. Specifying glass balustrades is possible in two options – frameless glass designs and post systems. These structural glazing elements are used primarily to provide an aesthetically pleasing glass barrier to protect against a change in floor level or a drop.
Specifying glass balustrades entails a comprehensive understanding of the requirements involved in the project and its specific use. For example, multi-occupancy residential blocks may require glass balustrades in the balcony areas. Commercial premises may need frameless glass balustrading in internal areas.
Balustrade Components UK offers comprehensive technical advice and specification guidance, working closely with Architects, Contracts, Specifiers, Housing Developers and other industry professionals to design beautiful glass balustrading.
We offer a range of high quality bespoke glass balustrade components (as well as standard, short lead time components) as well as the innovative AMG Frameless Glass Railing System.
Design considerations for glass balustrades
The use of glass and steel within building constructions has become symbolic of the modern built environment. The combination of materials not only has positive aesthetic benefits, as the large glass panels maximise light within internal areas of buildings, but also highly functional benefits.
Firstly, toughened laminated glass is an excellent choice for balustrade projects due to its strength and durable properties.
It features a strengthening interlayer within the glass panes which helps to keep the structure of the glass in-tact should it be smashed or compromised. This is particularly relevant for frameless balustrade options where no handrails are used.
To complement the glass panels, stainless steel is an excellent material to use. High structural integrity, outstanding material performance (impact resistant, fire and heat resistant, and corrosion resistant), mechanical functionality and great hygienic qualities mean it is an exceptional choice for high quality glass balustrades and balconies.
Balustrade Components use the finest quality, UK sourced, 304 and 316 stainless steel as well as zinc alloy, to produce our balustrade fixings. We continually develop our range of structural glass fixings, such as base channel (top and side mounted), glass clamps, handrails and fasteners and standoff point fixings. This ensures they are relevant and integrate seamlessly into the finest glass balustrade systems.
Specification criteria for glass balustrades
Standards set out in relevant UK Building Regulations – Approved Document K for the Protection from Falling, Collision and Impact, and BS 6180:2011 Barriers in and about buildings, ensure that glass balustrades are specified to the required conditions.
The aim of a glass balustrade is to provide a protective barrier against a change in floor level or a drop.
For residential buildings (single and multi-occupancy), a glass balustrade is required when the difference in floor level is great than 600mm. For non-residential buildings, the criteria is when the floor level change is more than 380mm or on staircases with more than two levels.
Regulations also stipulate that the glass balustrades need to be a certain height in order to provide adequate protection.
Balustrades in internal areas (e.g. staircases, mezzanine floors, ramps) require a height of 900mm, whereas glass balustrades in external areas (e.g. balconies, external staircases) require a height of 1100mm.
The final consideration within this article for specifying glass balustrades relates to the load bearings and requirements, which dictate forces applied to the barrier without being compromised or penetrated.
There are three main load types to consider – line load, uniformly distributed load (UDL) and concentrated load.
There are various load factors that affect above load requirements, but a major consideration is the use of a particular building and the traffic levels. It is important to seek specialist advice when determining the correct load factors for your glass balustrade installation.
Our team at Balustrade Components offer competent advice and exacting design solutions for glass balustrade installations.
Experience, advice and problem-solving is key to Balustrade Components UK’s operation.
Paul Startin, Managing Director, comments,
“We work closely with architects and contractors where we help design sophisticated balustrades using expert CAD systems and designs; calculate, apply and test load bearings on the glass structure to ensure they are fit for the purpose intended; and finally provide high quality stainless steel balustrade fixings.
Our strength at Balustrade Components is the ability to help our clients through every stage of the specification process, from concept through to completion.”
Precision engineering is core to our operation, and by manufacturing high quality balustrade fittings in continuing innovative designs. It ensures quality stems through the entire specification process for a balcony or balustrade project.
Architects, contractors and specifiers are assured that by using our balustrade fixings their project will be aesthetically pleasing, long-lasting and durable. Their projects will also conform to UK Building Regulations Approved Document K for the Protection from Falling, Collision and Impact.
Homeowners and end-users will benefit from having a beautiful balustrade or balcony on their property which not only gives unobstructed views of the building aspects. They also benefit from a high regard for safety.
Balustrade Components UK are pleased to be exclusive UK distributors of the AMG Railing Frameless Balustrade System. This advanced system creates beautifully elegant frameless glass railings that really maximises the use of glass, and can be either side or base mounted.
It is tested to meet the strictest building code requirements throughout UK and Europe, including BS 6180:2011, CSTB, AbP, NBN B 03-004 and Nederlands Bouwbesluit 2012.
The AMG Frameless Glass Balustrade System will be perfect to use on new build multi-occupancy residential buildings, commercial buildings, high-end single occupancy residential developments, transport facilities and other general municipal buildings.
The system will provide aesthetically stunning frameless glass railings that have a high level of functionality and safety, conforming to the latest building regulations.
For your convenience, if you know which glass fixing products you require for your project you can buy direct from our webshop
For further information on the range of high quality glass balustrade fixings available, or if you require specification support with your build project, please contact our friendly, competent team on telephone 01543 624 780 or email us