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Knowledge Centre

Particularly Frameless Glass Balustrades, are becoming ever more popular in the use of structural glazing to provide a protection against fall. The advantage of using glass for a barrier means that it is completely clear, allowing uninterrupted views.

Our Glass Balustrades can be specified on a project however there are many requirements that need to be considered to ensure that you are specifying a balustrade that is safe. Below are some of the key areas of Building Regulations.

We our always happy to help with any technical advice on your project, whether it is a frameless glass balustrade, glass railing, Glass Juliet balcony, decking glass balustrade, glass door canopy we would love to hear from you.

Do I need a Glass Balustrade?

A glass balustrade is the use of frameless glass as a protective barrier. In most cases, a glass balustrade would be used to protect against a change in floor level or drop.

Any Glass Balustrade in residential properties (dwellings) will require a barrier when the their is a drop in floor level greater than 600mm (as per building regulations) Traditional Applications where you would need a glass balustrade would be

  • External Balcony
  • Staircase
  • Decking Area
  • Roof Edge Protection
  • Patio Areas

Please look at our pinterest page for more ideas and project gallery to see some finished applications.

Height Requirements for Glass Balustrades

The height of the glass balustrade will be determined by the building’s use and is detailed in Building Regulations Part K (Diagram 3.1) Part K 6180“>Which can be viewed here.

In a private residential building a balustrade is needed:

It is also worth noting that a sphere of 100mm should not be able to pass through any gap in the barrier.

At opening windows (expect roof windows in loft extensions, See Building Regulations Part B1) 800mm FFL
Internal Balustrades (stairs, landings, ramps, edges of internal floors etc.) 900mm FFL
External Balustrades (balconies, edges of roofs, external stairs etc) 1100mm FFL

Line Load Requirements of Glass Balustrades

Building Occupancy Class (according to Building Regulations Part B) Line Load, applied 1100mm above FFL UDL, applied to entire glass face below line load height Concentrated Load, applied to any part of the glass panel below line load height
1 0.36 kN/m 0.5kN/m 2  0.25 kN 
2  0.74 kN/m  1.0 kN/m2  0.5 kN 
3  1.5 kN/m  1.5 kN/m2  1.5 kN 
4  3.0 kN/m  1.5 kN/m2  1.5 kN 

Do Glass Balustrades need a handrail? 

No you do not always need a continuous handrail even if the glass is completely frameless. However there are many instances where you will need a handrail. Selecting the correct glass thickness can sometimes determine if you need a handrail. Always consult a structural engineer if you have any doubt. 

Handrails are not necessary according to BS6180:2011 

“a handrail should always be used unless a laminated toughened glass construction is used that would remain in situ if a panel fails.” 

Getting the Loads Right 

It is essential to identify the use of the building in which the glass balustrade is to be installed in order to dertimine the appropriate loads. 

Some activities will not be specifically detailed in the British Standard and in cases of doubt local authority building control guidance should be sought. 

Never assume, always get agreement from the client of from local authority building control as to the loads the glass balustrade must withstand. Costly remedial work can be required if barriers are designed for incorrect loads. 

Glass Balconies without handrail 

Guidelines for designs without a handrail follow the same approach as free standing glass balustrade or post and glass infill designs.  

Glass Selection 

Toughened or toughened laminated glass can be used for all balustrades where a secure handrail is secure. Toughened laminated glass is suggested if there is no handrail.