Considerations when designing a balustrade

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Care must be taken when citing balustrade, the following is a quick guide to the main factors when deciding what type of balustrade is best for the project involved. The list is by no means exhaustive and we suggest that you seek professional advice if unsure.

Position/Grade of material and finish

  • Indoor or outdoor use.
  • Atmospheric conditions.
  • Swimming pools – High Humidity, Chlorine.
  • Coastal – High atmospheric corrosion.

Balustrade Position

  • Balcony
  • Stairs
  • Ramps
  • Guardrail

Level of Use (Building Regulations)


Private dwelling or similar which is used by a small number of people who are generally familiar with the handrail, stair or balcony.


Used intermittently by a large number of people, some of whom are not familiar with it and which is located in a commercial building, office or public building.


Used simultaneously by a large number of people, many of whom are not familiar with it and is located in an assembly building such as Theatres, Concert halls, Retail etc.

Regulation and Standards

  • Stair Design:-
    • Approved Document K (1) & M (UK)
    • Approved Document Part S (2) Scotland
    • Approved Technical Booklet H (3) Northern Ireland


  • British Standard BS5395-1:2010
    Code of practice for the design construction and maintenance of straight stairs and winders.
  • British Standard BS6180:2011
    Code of practice for barriers in and about buildings.

Fitting Capabilities

Whilst no specialist experience is required a general degree of knowledge is helpful when choosing fittings for bases and top rails.

Please ask for assistance if unsure.

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