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Balustrading is useful in many different places and its required height depends on where it is installed. Here are 5 of the most common places that balustrading is used:

  • Balconies – Balconies come in many shapes and sizes and can be indoor or outdoor. Independent of their size and location, almost all balconies need balustrading on one or more sides.
  • Swimming pool fences – Balustrading makes terrific swimming pool fences because it can easily be designed to fit any pool shape. It also looks great, wears well and is easy to care for.
  • Patios and decks – Patios and decks often benefit from balustrading. The balustrading can add beauty to the area, prevent accidents if the patio or deck is significantly higher than ground level, and even increase privacy.
  • Staircases –  Unless they have fixed structures, such as a wall, next to them, all staircases need balustrading for safety reasons. Balustrading can be installed on all types of staircases including, straight, L-shaped, U-shaped, winder, spiral, curved and ladder staircases.
  • Ledges – Ledges can be found in a variety of places, including the edges of a rooftop terrace as well as intermediate floors that open on to a lower floor. Most ledges have a high risk of falls and balustrading makes them safe. 

How high does balustrading need to be?

As we mentioned earlier, the required height for balustrading depends on whether it is installed on a balcony, around a pool or in some other location. 

As we consider balustrade regulations, remember that a few details in these regulations can vary in different states and territories. It is essential that you be aware of the regulations in your area.

In general, the following regulations for balustrade height remain the same across Australia: 
  • Balustrade height for balconies – Since most balconies are more than 1 meters above the ground, Australian regulations require them to have balustrades that are at least 1 meter high.
    Along with this, where the balcony floor is more than 4 metres above the ground any horizontal elements positioned between 150 mm and 760 mm above the floor in the balustrading must not facilitate climbing.  A new recently introduced regulation whilst applicable to all toughened glass facades of all types also requires that glass balustrading be heat soaked where the glass is on the face edge of the building and more than 5 metres above ground.
  • Balustrade height for swimming pool fencesSwimming pool fences prevent children from accessing the pool without adult supervision. In order to fulfill this purpose, swimming pool fences must be at least 1.2 meters high.
    Any balustrading used for swimming pool fences also needs to be unclimbable and have a  self-closing, self-latching gate.
  • Balustrade height for patios and decksIf a patio or deck is 1 meter higher than ground level, it needs to have balustrading that is at least 1 meter high.
    Patios and decks that stand more than 4 meters above ground level need to have unclimbable balustrading to prevent children from climbing the barrier and falling over.
  • Balustrade height for staircasesAll staircases that do not have a wall or other fixed structure next to them must have balustrading with a minimum height of 865mm from the stair nose and 1 meter on any landings. The building regulations have an allowance called a transition zone where balustrade can be less than 1 meter on a landing where a stair meets a landing due to the height difference..
    The balustrading must be continuous for every flight of stairs and must have at least 1 handrail positioned between 865 and 1000mm above the nosings of the stairs.
  • Balustrade height for privacy screensAustralian regulations require privacy screens to have balustrades that are at least 1.7 meter high with no more than 25% transparency or obscure finish if  glass is used. If the screen receives a lot of wind, it is recommended that the balustrade post be spaced closer together , to give added safety. Glass Privacy screen balustrade protecting a difference of more than 1 meter from the ground also needs a handrail or Midrail at 1 meter high to prevent falling in the event of glass failure. Balustrading for privacy screens has the same regulations as normal balustrade for instance, where the floor level is more than 4 meters from the ground  the privacy screen must not have any horizontal elements that would facilitate climbing positioned between 150 mm and 760 mm above the floor.

We hope this post has answered your questions regarding how high a balustrade needs to be. If you have any other questions about balustrading, don’t hesitate to contact us.