Balustrades Overview

If you are looking for ways to improve your space or you would like to modernise and open it up, you should consider installing balustrades.  

There are several ways through which you can achieve that, you can either fit a whole new balustrading system or you can retrofit it, but most importantly you need to familiarise yourself with balustrades.  

What is a balustrade? 

A balustrade can be installed on its own or underneath a handrail. It is usually made of vertical posts, or a solid section and it can sit on the side of a staircase, on a balcony, at a deck, etc. Its main purpose is to provide protection and safety by preventing people from falling, but it can also offer privacy.  

Do I need a balustrade on my deck? 

In any project or renovation, always make sure to check if a balustrade is required. There are two regulations that oversee when a balustrade must be used – Document K Building Regulations 1991 and BS6180.  

  • Residential – the codes require the installation of a balustrade if there are flights of stairs, landings, or raised surfaces in a single-family home where the distance between adjacent levels is greater than 600mm. 
  • Other - the difference in height decreases to 380mm for other buildings, such as commercial properties 

What is the minimum height of a balustrade? 

The regulations for minimum balustrade height for residential applications are specified in BS6180 by the British Standards Institution as it follows:  

  • Barriers in front of a window – 880mm – minimum height from finished floor level  
  • Stairs, landings, ramps, edges of internal floors – 900mm - minimum height from finished floor level 
  • External balconies, including glass Juliet balcony, edges of roofs – 1100mm - minimum height from finished floor level 

What is the legal height for balustrades? 

It is important to remember that the laws and codes of practice governing balustrade height regulations change on a regular basis. As a result, it is your obligation to ensure that you are in compliance with current guidelines. If you are installing balustrades in a public setting, you may also need to adhere to industry-specific regulations. 

The law in the United Kingdom establishes minimum height requirements for both inside and external balustrades. It is important to note that these are the minimum requirements. If you are putting up balustrades in a school or playground, you might want to make them a little higher to avoid common accidents. Your balustrades could also be taller for aesthetic or privacy purposes. 

  • Internal balustrades – 0.9m  
  • External balustrades – 1.1m  
  • Commercial balustrades – depends on the type of facility, guards are required in all non-residential buildings where there is a 380mm difference between adjacent levels