Internal Glass Balustrade Regulations Explained

Internal glass balustrades have dual purposes. Their sleek lines and innate elegance ensure they’re the perfect complement to modern homes/offices and period properties alike. For an added wow factor, colour or etched designs can be applied to the glass surface. However, as well as looking incredible, they also play an important safety role, protecting people from falling from internal balconies, landings and staircases. In order to do so however, they must meet certain internal glass balustrade regulations.

Internal Glass Balustrades Regulations Explained

Which situations require an internal glass balustrade?

Whilst internal glass balustrades can certainly be designed and installed for purely aesthetic reasons, there are some situations in which a form of balustrade will be required. These include the following:

  • If it is a domestic property and there is a drop in the floor level of more than 600mm
  • Any sort of property where there is a change in floor level that exceeds 380mm
  • If there is a set of stairs which have more than two risers. The last two risers on any staircase are not required to have an accompanying balustrade.

What is the minimum height for internal glass balustrades?

The minimum height for internal glass balustrades in the UK is currently 0.9m. This is measured from the point at which the balustrade is fixed to a surface, whether that be the floor, edge of a staircase or balcony. This is slightly lower than the regulations for external balustrades where the distance from the fixed point to the top of handrail must be a minimum of 1.1m.

What load weights must an internal glass balustrade be able to withstand?

When it comes to withstanding heavy loads, glass is the perfect panel material. Tempered or laminated glass are both regularly used in the creation of internal glass balustrades because their unique characteristics make them incredibly safe, secure and strong. UK regulation does not favour either tempered or laminated glass over the other.

For the handrail and other fixtures and fittings, we would recommend using stainless steel. In addition to its strength it has the advantages of being easy to clean and maintain.

When testing the ability of an internal glass balustrade system to withstand certain loads, we focus on three key areas:

  • A load applied to the glass infill panels
  • A vertical load on the handrail
  • A horizontal load on the handrail

When a load is applied to an internal glass balustrade, some leeway is allowed. The component is able to move up to 25mm but no more.

UK internal glass balustrade regulations are outlined using kiloNewtons, expressed as kN. The requirements vary depending on whether the balustrade is being installed in a domestic or commercial setting. In domestic situations, internally the balustrade needs to achieve 0.36kn/m, externally the balustrade must withstand 0.74kN/m for every metre section. More public and situations require an internal glass balustrade that can withstand a 1.5kN load per metre section. High density and high traffic areas or where areas are susceptible to overcrowding must go one step further and tolerate a load of 3.0kN per metre.

Now that the UK internal glass balustrade regulations have been explained, why not get in touch with Glass & Stainless to discuss your own requirements?