Balustrades are structural systems that impede accidental or inadvertent passage of people and objects between the areas that they separate.
Being such a safety critical item it is therefore not surprising that strict legislation is in place governing both the structural strength of the various applications as well as the non-structural design aspects.
Legislation governing the general design on balustrading varies from country to country.
For example, an accepted design in South Africa for Stainless Steel balustrades makes use of horizontal filler bars. This design is illegal for installations in public places and in some instances, even private homes in most countries as it is deemed unsafe for children.
The height specification of 1m, which is the norm in South African, is slightly lower than that legislated by many other governments with the international norm being 1.1m.
The general design also varies with South African legislation stating that barriers should be designed so that the widest gap in the barrier does not permit a sphere of diameter 100mm to pass through, making due allowance for deflection under load (refer SANS 10400-D: Public Safety). In some of the foreign markets that we service the allowable gap between filler elements is 110mm.
General design loads and structural forces that the balustrading must withstand also differ.
It is therefore imperative that foreign customers are familiar with their legislative requirements and whether any formal testing or accreditation is required prior to a product being installed.
The South African National Building Regulations refer to:
SANS 10400-B : Structural Design, which in turn refers to
SANS 10400 Parts 1 to 8 : Basis of Structural Design and Actions for Buildings and Industrial Structures
SANS 10140 : Handrailing and balustrading (safety aspects)
SANS 10137 : The Installation of Glazing in Buildings