Is your balustrade within UK guidelines?

balustrade guidelines

23 Nov Is your balustrade within UK guidelines?

A balustrade is a row of protective posts that support the upper part of a railing. You’ll find that staircases and porches often have these. They can be made from a variety of different materials including timber, metal, glass, mesh and wire. Glass and steel balustrade options are often the preferred choice for industrial and commercial buildings.

The question is, if you’ve had some recently installed, are they within UK guidelines?

What you need to know about a Timber, Glass, Aluminium, Iron, Steel balustrade

In our post, today, we’re going to be looking at how balustrades are made to be within UK guidelines. Hopefully you’ll feel able to check your own and do something about it if they’re not. If you’re unsure of their safety, get in touch with the suppliers who installed them originally.

Balustrade Safety and security is paramount

Naturally, any balustrade, regardless of what its made of, needs to be safe and secure enough to stop people from falling through or over it. A steel balustrade for example needs to be both high enough and sturdy enough to prevent a serious accident should anyone misuse it or lean too heavily on it. You also need to make sure your balustrade will help prevent a child from falling through, or climbing over it.

balustrade uk guidelines

The rules are that any balustrade must:

  • Not have any toe holds that are between 150mm or 760mm which are above the floor level
  • Have a ledge with a depth of 15mm if the ledge is between 150mm to 760mm above floor level
  • Be built so that nothing of around 100mm in diameter can pass through it.

How strong does your balustrade have to be?

You need to make sure that the balustrade can take a certain amount of force. If it’s outside, then the person installing it needs to consider the wind factor and the force of people leaning on it. Handrails can impact on the force applied to a barrier too, so this needs to be taken into consideration. If there’s going to be a large number of people leaning on your wood, glass or steel balustrade, then it will need to be strong enough to bear the weight.

How high should your balustrade be?

From the floor, both ramps and stairs should be around 900mm and measured from pitch line to the nose of the stair. For balconies and mezzanines, 1000mm and 1100mm in public areas. In front of any seated area, for example a theatre or a cinema, you should allow for a height of around 800mm.

steel balustrade

Glass balustrades

A glass balustrade will need a top edge, this is because glass can shatter and cause injury, so to avoid this happening there should be a handrail, or what’s known as a top edge, for glass balustrades.


All your fixings should be as strong as the rest of the system, including the balustrades components. This is so that rather than completely collapsing should there be an accident or a case of misuse, it will simply distort and deflect rather than undergo a complete rupture.

How long should a balustrade last?

Any balustrade, if made well, should last at least 50 years. If you can access and replace materials quickly should certain parts wear out, then this period can be reduced, otherwise all elements should have a 50-year lifetime period.

If you have any further questions regarding this or any other matter, then get in touch and one of our team will be more than happy to help.

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