External Balustrades: Make Hay Before the Sun Shines

As we enter the darkest depths of winter, it is easy to let those external improvement projects slip further and further down the to do list. After all, who wants to be out in the cold toiling away on something we won’t be able to enjoy until the weather turns balmier?

Motivation might be lacking all the more if the project is directly linked to opening up space and sunlight outside, with long bright summer evenings and sunny weekends in mind. Something like adding glass and stainless steel balustrades to external features such as balconies, roof gardens and garden decking.

Or perhaps building those features from scratch.

However, there are plenty of good reasons why, as the New Year approaches, you should be thinking about getting the cogs moving. A quality glass balustrade does not erect itself over night – and the sooner you get started, the longer you will have to reap the benefits when the weather gets better.

Why Glass?

First of all, let’s state the case for opting for glass and stainless steel balustrades over more traditional materials like, say, wood for decking and wrought iron for juliet balconies.

The advantages of glass can be summed up in one word – light. If you are thinking of changing your existing rail and balustrades outdoors, the likelihood is you are looking to open up the space on your decking, balcony or roof terrace. Because far fewer posts are required and the material itself is transparent, glass balustrades open up lines of vision, allowing you to enjoy the view from your outdoor sanctuary uninterrupted.

If you are thinking of adding an external area from scratch, glass and stainless steel will give an elegant contemporary twist to your designs. For features such as juliet balconies, they also allow more light into the adjoining rooms, much the same way as a glass conservatory does.

Reasons Not to Delay

Planning and Building Regulations

There is no simple and straightforward answer as to whether you will need planning permission to add glass and stainless steel balustrades to exterior features of your property. In general, if you are replacing existing balustrades, you shouldn’t need to apply for planning permission. However, the rules on the outside of properties are tight because of the potential impact on neighbours and the surrounding environment. If, for example, your new glass balustrade creates a clear line of sight over a neighbour’s property, planning permission may be required.

When building from scratch, the need for permission varies. Juliet balconies, and garden decking that takes up less than 50 per cent of the outside of the property and is raised less than 300mm, are usually covered by permitted development rights, but these can be removed at a local level. You may also need to make a building regulation application.

Planning applications can take time, so the lesson is not to leave it too late to find out if you need to make one, otherwise your project could be stretching into the following winter.

Custom Manufacture

There are plenty of high quality off the shelf products available, but to really make a statement, you might want to consider custom made glass and stainless steel balustrades. Made to measure for the perfect fit, and providing scope to add a unique personal touch to your design, start planning early to allow for the extra time production and delivery takes.

Specialist Installation

Quality of installation is just as important as the quality of the products. Accredited specialist installers are in high demand, so if you want to make sure you can secure the services of your chosen contractor when you want them, beat the spring rush and book early.