1 AGGA TECHNICAL FACT SHEET . GLASS IN BALUSTRADES. FOR CONSUMERS. Introduction The exact specifications depend on a Monolithic toughened safety GLASS GLASS balustrades are ideal for balconies, number of variables, including the balus- Generally four to five times stronger staircases, pool fences and other applica- trade type, location, height above than ordinary GLASS and in the event of tions where the protection of a difference ground level and the loads it will be sub- breakage the GLASS fractures into small in level is required. Available with minimum jected to, so it is important to choose a harmless fragments and will no longer framing or even as a free standing system, supplier who has a good knowledge of support a load or act as a barrier.
2 Conse- GLASS balustrades provide a barrier whilst AS 1288: GLASS in Buildings Selection quently, toughened GLASS that is not fully still permitting uninterrupted views. Used and Installation, the Australian Standard framed is likely to fall from its fixings and externally, an additional benefit provided which all GLASS balustrades must comply would not prevent the penetration of the by GLASS balustrades is that of a transparent with. impacting object (or person) possibly to a windbreak. level below. A minimum thickness of This in turn results in limitations on the 6mm is permitted for infill panels, 8mm Design and construction minimum GLASS thickness that can be for structural panels (Figure 2) and A balustrade's primarily function is to pre- used to a maximum allowable size be- 10mm for structural cantilever panels vent people from falling from height above tween supports.
3 (Figure 1). the ground, and therefore safety is a key consideration. As such, there are strict re- In all cases the type of occupancy of the Toughened laminated safety GLASS quirements for design, construction and where the balustrade is located also A combination of toughened single piec- installation by a number of different Aus- influences the thickness and type of GLASS es of GLASS that have been laminated. The tralian Standards. These Standards set out required as the number of persons rely- benefit of toughened laminated GLASS is the requirements for GLASS and or glazing ing on the strength and support of the its strength and performance under im- supports in conjunction with the design balustrade may be different in say a pact.
4 It is capable of withstanding large loads to simulate environmental conditions shopping centre as compared to a home. loads and in the event of being broken related to high wind pressures and human the resulting fragments will be retained or object impact on the surface or edge of Other than for a single dwelling, any by the interlayer. When properly glazed, the GLASS and supports. monolithic toughened GLASS balustrades it normally will remain in place which that are over 5 metres from the sur- enhances safety and security. A mini- rounding ground level must also be heat mum thickness of 8mm is permitted for The National Construction Code soaked. infill panels, 8mm for structural panels The National Construction Code of Australia (Figure 2) and 10mm for structural canti- basic balustrade fall height requirement is The common different types of GLASS lever panels (Figure 1).
5 As follows: permitted for use in balustrades include: Any access way or landing area where Annealed laminated safety GLASS there is a fall distance of 1 metre or more Comprises two pieces of normal GLASS above the surrounding ground level re- adhered to a plastic interlayer. When quires a barrier (Balustrading) to protect laminated safety GLASS is broken the people from falling over the edge. The shattered pieces tend to remain affixed minimum height of a balustrade is 1 metre to the plastic interlayer creating a spider and if protecting a pool area, access would web' effect. As long as the impact is not Figure 1 (Source: ). need to be metres.. severe enough to pierce or dislodge the glazing, the broken GLASS tends to remain GLASS types in balustrades in place.
6 A minimum thickness of 6mm is All balustrade glazing must be made from permitted for infill panels, 8mm for Grade A safety GLASS . If used at higher lev- structural panels (Figure 2) and is not els, Grade A laminated safety GLASS should advised for structural cantilever panels be considered due its breakage characteris- (Figure 1). tics. Figure 2 (Source: ). Published: February 2015. TFS-GLSBALCON-V0101022015. 03 8669 0170. Disclaimer: The information provided in this document is current at the time of publication. It is intended as a general guide only and the AGGA recommends that you undertake your own investigations when specifying windows and GLASS products to ensure they comply with all relevant regulations and are fit for purpose.
7 It should not be viewed as a definitive guide to the law or standard industry practice in this area. The AGGA cannot be held responsible and extends no warranties as to the suitability of the information for any particular purpose, or actions taken by third parties as a result of information contained in this document. AGGA TECHNICAL FACT SHEET . GLASS IN BALUSTRADES. FOR CONSUMERS (continued). Types of balustrade panels Structural balustrades include: If the level is greater than 1000mm the GLASS can form part of a balustrade in two panels must include an interlinking hand- ways. Figure 5 - cantilever type, where the rail joining adjacent panels of at least a GLASS is fixed only at the base, either in a 1000mm wide, and/or the building so 1) As an Infill Balustrade Panel (Figures 3 & 4) channel or mechanically by stub post, that if the GLASS is broken, the handrail within an outer frame or structure, usually bolt fix, or bracket fixing.
8 The GLASS usual- will remain in place in accordance with made of aluminium, timber or steel. Can be ly has the remaining three edges ex- Clause of AS1288 Australian in several configurations but the balustrade posed and the top edge of the GLASS is Standard. Alternatively the balustrade always has a handrail with the GLASS infill exposed. can be designed as an engineered solu- panel being supported either in a channel tion and specific consultation is required or mechanically with clamps and bolts. The with a suitably qualified person. This is non- GLASS handrail must be able to resist usually a qualified engineer with GLASS the specified applied loads such as persons design experience.
9 Falling or leaning on or against the hand rail. Balustrade regulations indicate that the barriers should be constructed in such a way that a person will not fall over or slip through them. This requires that the height of the balustrade and the spaces Figure 5 - Structural Balustrade A: Non-compliant above 1 between each post should be designed metre fall height. (Source: ) properly. In terms of structural adequa- Figure 6 - Top edge of GLASS is exposed cy, the barrier or balustrade should have with the GLASS vertical edge being sup- enough strength not to collapse when a ported within a channel adhesively or person leans or falls against it or is sub- Figure 3 (Source: ) mechanically fixed to the vertical posts ject to a sudden strong impact.
10 The or balusters. Sometimes the bottom is AS1288 -2006 standard deals with: also supported but the top edge of the GLASS is exposed. Structural balustrades, protecting a difference in level less than 1000mm. Structural balustrades, protecting a difference in level greater than 1000mm with an interlinking handrail Infill balustrades, protecting any differ- ence in level Figure 4 (Source: ) The difference in level is measured from the ground or floor surface at the base of 2) As a Structural Balustrade Panel (Figures 1. the baluster or the visible GLASS site line & 2) where the GLASS is the main structural Figure 6 - Structural Balustrade B: Non-compliant above 1.