Glass balustrade building regulations

Whether you want to add a balustrade in a domestic or commercial setting, there are a number of regulations in place in the UK that determine what conditions your glass balustrade must meet in order to be safe, as defined by the UK government.
Height restrictions
One of the most basic legal requirements for balustrades, glass or otherwise, is height. The specific requirement will depend on whether the building is commercial or domestic, as well as whether the installation is internal or external. It’s important to note that the height of the balustrade is measured from the datum to the top of the handrail. Inside, handrails must be 0.9 metres high, while landing balustrades must at least be 1.1 metres tall – this is also the required height for external installations.
Glass requirements
Not every type of glass will be acceptable for balustrades. The two basic types of glass that can be used, as defined by the Government, include toughened/tempered glass, as well as laminated glass. Toughened glass is created by heating glass to around 700 degrees C, after which it is immediately quenched – if properly executed, this adds an additional layer on top of the glass, which results in tension locked inside the glass’s core. laminated glass, on the other hand, is made by combining two or more glass panels with an additional layer of plastic, resin, or other material sin-between. The panels used may be toughened, float panels, or any combination of the two. The key factor here is that the glass used must pass an impact test to make sure that it can withstand the pressures that come with serving the purpose of a balustrade. This doesn’t mean the glass won’t break upon impact – glass is considered safe if it breaks with a clear, small opening with detached particles that are within a given size limit, disintegrates into a ton of smaller, detached particles, or if the resulting broken pieces are dull instead of sharp. The main reason for this is to ensure that, not only will the glass withstand more than regular glass, but also cause the minimum amount of damage if it does eventually break.
Weight durability
Glass balustrades, just like any other balustrade, must withstand specific amounts of weight in order to be considered viable. For domestic balustrades for interiors, the glass must be able to withstand 0.36kN/m, while those used in external balconies should withstand 0.74kN/m. This limit is extended to 1.5kN/m for bars and restaurants, and 3.0kN/m for shopping centres and nightcluvs.

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