Your guide to achieving compliance and understanding planning permission for glass balustrade projects
There are many considerations for designing and constructing architectural glazing features and glass balustrade projects within buildings. It is a challenging balancing act for installers, fabricators and other glazing professionals to ensure their glass balustrade or glass staircase project is fit for the purpose intended, looks the part, and importantly satisfies the client.
Balustrade Components UK are a leading manufacturer and supplier of bespoke balustrade fixings – glass clamps, handrail brackets, baluster posts, glass stand offs, brackets, washers, fasteners and other accessories.
A common theme our technical team picks up on is the lack of clarity between Building Regulations and planning permission. Is planning permission required? What’s the difference between planning permission and Building Regulations? How do I make sure my project achieves compliance?
What’s the difference between Building Regulations and planning permission?
According to Planning Portal (planningportal.co.uk), Building Regulations are “a set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings. They also include requirements to ensure that fuel and power is conserved and facilities are provided for people, including those with disabilities, to access and move around inside buildings.”
Again, according to Planning Portal, planning permission “seeks to guide the way our towns, cities and countryside develop. This includes the use of land & buildings, the appearance of buildings, landscaping considerations, highway access and the impact that the development will have on the general environment.”
Is planning permission required?
This is a difficult question, and you should always seek guidance from your local authority. Various architectural glazing projects require planning permission, for example if you are building from scratch, altering a listed building or planning a large extension.
For smaller projects, you can perform various types of glazing works without the need for applying for planning permission. These are called permitted development rights.
It is important to bear in mind that various permitted development rights that apply to houses do not apply to flats, maisonettes or other buildings. Also, commercial buildings have different criteria to residential dwellings.
Installers and fabricators don’t need to consider planning permission too much, as this is taken care of much earlier in the design and specification process. Although, there is a duty of care to advise the homeowner or commercial premises owner of any considerations or potential issues that may arise during the installation process.
How do I make sure my project achieves compliance?
This is much more appropriate for installers and fabricators. The design and material selection of the glass balustrade or glass staircase project was conceptualised by the architect, but then the project requires that the components are fixed in accordance with best practice guidelines.
This means each glass clamp, each stand off point fixing, and any other component is fitted to the exact requirements of the design plans. This increases the chances of achieving compliance with Building Standards.
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.
Bespoke balustrade fixtures and fittings
Our range of balustrade fixtures and accessories offer a high structural integrity and material integrity. This means by using our hardware your glass balustrade projects are guaranteed to achieve compliance with Building Regulations (provided they have been installed according to best practice guidelines).
What makes us different to other balustrade components suppliers? We are proud to manufacture a range of our own hardware, including baluster posts and stand off point fixings. Manufactured to your exact specification, using the finest 304 or 316 UK-sourced stainless steel, as well as zinc alloy.
Balustrade Components UK also offers a range of off-the-shelf items with quick lead times. This is to ensure any installer or fabricator on-site has access to a range of balustrade hardware should there be a requirement that arises.
We are a one-stop-shop manufacturer for installers and fabricators, offering high quality glass balustrade fixings with competent technical knowledge and guidance to match. Our team thrives on problem-solving and offers practical, honest advice for glazing professionals.
Balustrade Components produce an extensive range of structural glass fittings for beautiful glass balustrading – including glass clamps, handrail brackets, standoff point fixings, glass brackets, washer buttons and fixing plates, fasteners and accessories. Such balustrade fittings are available in two popular finishes – bright polished and satin polished. Balustrade Components is also able to offer bespoke finishes in powder coating, anodising and PVD. We have a wide range of stocked, short-lead time components in our factory which has helped many contractors, installers and housing developers who contact the company with urgent requirements for their project.
For your convenience, if you know which glass fixing products you require for your project you can buy direct from our glass fixings webshop.
Alternatively you can call our technical team on 01543 624 780 or email us directly at email@example.com