What Are the Regulations for Glass Balustrades?

Modern stainless steel railing with glass Balustrades



Glass balustrades are ideal for both residential and commercial, as they maintain safety alongside a sleek aesthetic. We have previously discussed the various benefits of balustrades and whether they are safe. Let’s take a look at when glass balustrades are legally required in all types of buildings.


What Are Balustrades?

Glass balustrades are panels that serve as a barrier, occasionally supporting balusters, which are posts. They are frequently utilised on terraces, decking areas, stairwells and balconies in both residential and commercial properties. 

Although they can be formed from a variety of materials, including wood, chrome, and stainless steel, the majority of homeowners are now choosing glass balustrades, particularly frameless ones. Glass balustrades are widely employed to provide refinement and a contemporary style, both inside and outside, even though its primary function is typically as a safety barrier. For more information on what are balustrades, read our previous blog here. 


The Height

According to UK building regulations, glass balustrades must reach a minimum height requirement. But, it also depends on the type of building. As described in the Building Regulations Part K, in private residential buildings, glass balustrades are required where:

  • The height is 800mm at the opening windows
  • The height is 900mm for internal balustrades
  • The height is 1100mm for external balustrades

However, this differs for other types of buildings. For retail spaces, a height of 900mm is required for glass balustrades in all locations. Whereas in factories and warehouses, the stairs and ramps that feature balustrades must be at a height of 900mm and glass balustrades must be 1100mm on landings and edges of floors. 


Glass Loading 

One of the main features of a balustrade is as a safety precaution. The glass balustrades stop people from falling and therefore, require toughened glass to resist both high impacts and glass loading. So, it is important to consider three areas for loading requirements: the horizontal and vertical loading of the handrail and the loading on the infill.

In kiloNewtons (kN), residential glass balustrades will need to withstand 0.74 kN/m per metre run of the balustrade. Whilst, public areas require a higher measurement, with a handrail pressure of 1.5kN. This doubles to 3.0kN in high-traffic areas such as shopping centres and entertainment complexes. It is also vital to ensure that the individual glass products have sufficient thickness and are made of toughened or tempered glass.


Where are Glass Balustrades Required?

As aforementioned, glass balustrades are primarily used as barriers within both residential and commercial buildings. Typically, they are featured on floor levels with a drop, acting as both a safety precaution and as an aesthetically pleasing element. In private residential properties, balustrades are required when the floor level difference is larger than 600mm. 

This also means that glass balustrades are required in other building types (for example, large businesses or commercial spaces) where there are staircases with more than two risers. Also, where there is a floor change of more than 380mm. In commercial properties, glass balustrades are popular for rooftop spaces, terraced areas and mezzanine floors to name but a few examples.

Our glass London company works closely with each of our clients to determine where balustrades are legally required and where we believe they would benefit the most. Find out more about our services here. 


Prentice Glass

At Prentice Glass, our team of glaziers have over 70 years of experience in designing and installing custom glass products. From bespoke glass design to understanding the latest regulations of glass balustrades. We are here to help!

For more information, or to receive a quote, fill in our form here. Make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to stay up-to-date with our latest services and news in the industry. 

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