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Building Regulations for Balustrades

Below are the basic requirements (heights and glass thicknesses) for glass barriers for the UK.  These are general rules and you'll need to consult a qualified professional before any construction commences: there are other requirements, such as handrail shape, distances between panels, distances from walls etc..  The information below will give a you a good idea on what your glass balustrade will look like.

For more information, we offer a surveying service.  Please contact us for more details.

Table of Contents

  1. Residential: Single Family Dwelling and Quiet Offices (Class 1)
  2. Residential: Multi-Occupancy, Busier Offices (Class 2)
  3. Areas Where People Might Congregate (Restaurants, Footpaths, Retail Areas Etc.) (Class 3)
  4. Areas Susceptible to Over-Crowding (Theatres, Shopping Malls Etc.) (Class 4).

Residential: Single Family Dwelling and Quiet Offices (Class 1)[1]

Barriers Are Required Where…

  • There is a drop of more than 600mm.

Barrier Heights

Including handrail (if used)
Barrier Heights for Single Family Dwelling (Class 1)
Location Height (mm)
Stairs, landings, ramps and internal floor edges 900
External (balconies, roof edges) 1100
In front of window 800

Glass Thicknesses for Glass Balustrades

Glass Thicknesses for Glass Balustrade in Class 1 Area
W/WO Handrail Glass Type Minimum Required Thickness (mm)
With Handrail Toughened Safety 12
Laminated 15.5
Without Handrail Toughened Safety Not allowed
Laminated 17.5

Residential: Multi-Occupancy, Busier Offices (Class 2)[2]

Barriers are Required Where…

  • There is a drop of more than 380mm
  • On stairs greater than two risers (steps).

Barrier Heights

Including handrail (if used)
Barrier Heights for Multi-Occupancy, Busier Offices (Class 2)
Location Height (mm)
Stairs 900 - 1000
Balconies and stands with fixed seating within 530mm 800
In front of window 800
Everywhere Else 1100

Glass Thicknesses for Glass Balustrades

Glass Thicknesses for Glass Balustrade in Class 2 Area
W/WO Handrail Glass Type Minimum Required Thickness (mm)
With Handrail Toughened Safety 15
Laminated 19.5
Without Handrail Toughened Safety Not allowed
Laminated 21.5

Areas Where People Might Congregate (Restaurants, Footpaths, Retail Areas Etc.) (Class 3)[3]

Barriers are Required Where…

  • There is a drop of more than 380mm
  • On stairs greater than two risers (steps).

Barrier Heights

Including handrail (if used)
Barrier Height for Areas Where People Might Congregate (Class 3)
Location Height (mm)
Stairs 900 - 1000
Balconies and stands with fixed seating within 530mm 800
In front of window 800
Everywhere Else 1100

Glass Thicknesses for Glass Balustrades

Glass Thicknesses for Glass Balustrade in Class 3 Area
W/WO Handrail Glass Type Minimum Required Thickness (mm)
With Handrail Toughened Safety 19
Laminated 23.5
Without Handrail Toughened Safety Not allowed
Laminated 31.5

Areas Susceptible to Over-Crowding (Theatres, Shopping Malls Etc.) (Class 4)[4]

Barriers are Required Where…

  • There is a drop of more than 380mm
  • On stairs greater than two risers (steps).

Barrier Heights

Including handrail (if used)
Barrier Heights for Areas Susceptible to Over-Crowding (Theatres, Shopping Malls Etc.) (Class 4)
Location Height (mm)
Stairs 900 - 1000
Balconies and stands with fixed seating within 530mm 800
In front of window 800
Everywhere Else 1100

Glass Thicknesses for Glass Balustrades

Glass Thicknesses for Glass Balustrade in Class 4 Area
W/WO Handrail Glass Type Minimum Required Thickness (mm)
With Handrail Toughened Safety 25
Laminated 28.5
Without Handrail Toughened Safety Not allowed
Laminated 39.5

[1] Domestic and Residential – single family dwellings

Office and Work Areas – light pedestrian traffic routes

[2] Domestic and Residential – multi-occupancy, balconies and edges of roofs

Office and Work Areas – areas not susceptible to over crowding

Areas without obstacles for moving people and not susceptible to over crowding – stairs, landing, corridors, and balconies

[3] Single Family Dwelling; small office and work areas (light pedestrian traffic) Areas where people might congregate – areas having fixed seating within 530mm of the barrier

Areas with tables or fixed seating – restaurants and bars

Areas susceptible to over crowding – footways or footpaths less than 3 metres wide, adjacent to sunken areas

Retail areas – all retail areas including banks, building societies or betting shops

[4] Areas susceptible to over crowding – theatres, cinemas, shopping malls, assembly areas. Footways or pavements greater than 3 metres wide adjacent to sunken areas

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