Have a question about balustrades, privacy screens or louvres?

There can be multiple areas to consider when ordering and installing a balustrade, privacy screen or louvre system. At Axiom Group it is our job to assist and provide you with the right information and best system. To help you understand some of these key areas we have provided below a list of answers to the most commonly asked questions. If you have a question that is not listed below please do not hesitate to contact one of our team by calling 1300 652336 (within Australia). 

1) What is a “toe-hold”? 
A toe hold is an element between 150mm from FFL to 765mm from FFL which is greater than 10mm or can facilitate climbing. (See references NCC2016, Vol2, Part 3.9.2)

2) What thickness glass do I need to install on my balustrade?
The glass thickness required depends on the type of balustrade you intend installing, i.e. is it a Fully framed, semi frameless or frameless balustrade. It also depends on the location of the building, where the balustrade is being installed on the building and it’s loading requirements in accordance with AS1170.1:2002 and AS1170.2:2011.

3) What fixings do I need to use to secure my balustrade into position?
This is critical and depends on what substrate it is that you are fixing into. It also depends on the location of the balustrade on the building and it’s loading requirements in accordance with AS1170.1:2002 and AS1170.2:2011. The project engineer would need to verify that the strength of the substrate is suitable to withstand a balustrade load. All Axiom systems are engineered and we provide a recommended fixing method for each style.

4) Does the handrail on a frameless style need to be connected to the wall at each end?
Not necessarily, although you will need to have an engineer approve the design. At Axiom, our frameless Metropolis, Panorama and Paramount balustrade options do not require the handrail to be fixed to the wall if the end panel of glass is less than 700mm and there is an adjacent panel of glass at least 700mm wide including any gaps each side.

5) What is the minimum height required for a balustrade?
1000 mm above the floor of any balcony, deck and landing. (see references: NCC2016 Vol2, Part 3.9.2)

6) Do all balustrades need to be engineered?
Yes. All balustrade must comply with performance requirements. All Axiom proprietary balustrade suites have been certified by an engineer. Custom balustrade must have specific engineering computations for each specific design.  (see references: AS1170.1:2012, AS1170.2:2011. AS 1288-2006 and NCC2016 Vol 2)

7) What is the minimum height required for pool fencing?
For pools, deeper than 300 mm, the minimum height from finished ground level to the top of the barrier is 1200 mm. The maximum allowable gap from finished ground level to the bottom of any barrier is 100 mm. There must be a gap of at least 900 mm between any horizontal rails on the outside of the fence to stop climbing and the gaps in the vertical members must not exceed 100 mm. Barrier gates must be self-closing and self-latching. (see reference: AS 1926.1:2012 – Part1.)

8) What is the minimum height and overlooking requirements for Privacy Screens on balconies?
Building Regulations vary from state to state and Territories for overlooking requirements. Below is an outline of the location requirements: VIC: 1700mm above floor level with a maximum of 25% open area. (see reference: Victorian Building Regulations 2006-Part 4, Regulation 419 (2), (3) & (6)). NSW: 1700mm above floor level with a maximum of 30% open area. (See reference: General Housing Code edition August 2014 page 20.) ACT: (See reference: Building (General) Regulation 2008) QLD: 1500mm in height with a minimum of 25% open area (See references:   Design and Siting Standard Part 12, A5, Economic Development Queensland PDA guideline no. 08 May 2015 page 6 and Building Codes Queensland) NT: 1700mm above floor level (See reference: Territory, Local Authority and Statutory Requirements) WA: 1600mm above floor level with a maximum of 20% open area. (See reference: Residential Design Codes of Western Australia - State Planning Policy 3.1. Clause 5.4.1 and 6.4.1.)   SA: 1700mm above floor level and not more than 30% open area screening. (see reference South Australian Housing Code)  TAS: 1700mm above floor level with solid or translucent screening. (See reference: The Planning Directive 210/2013 section 5.)

9) Do I have to have a hand rail on a balustrade?
Yes, however, there is an Axiom toughened laminated glass product which meets the purport of the law without a handrail. AxiView 15.04mm Toughened Laminate with 3.04 mm DuPont™ SGP Interlayer. If both glass panes were to shatter, the interlayer remains standing and still can withstand 0.75 kN/M live load as the standards demand. (See reference:  AS 1288 -2006 sections 7.2.3 & 7.3.2). 

10) When must a barrier become a balustrade?
When protecting a fall of 4000mm or more where it is possible to fall through an openable window or 1000mm in any other case. (See reference: NCC 2016 Vol 1 part 3.9.2)

11) What height must a hand rail need to be on a stair?
865 mm above nosing’s of the stair treads or floor ramp.  (see reference: NCC 2016 Vol 1 part 3.9.2)

12) Can I use toughened glass in a balustrade in a public area?
In some cases, yes, however certain public places need to withstand a higher concentrated or uniformly distrusted loads in accordance with AS1170.1:2002. There is maximum area for safety glass grade A & B.  (See reference: AS1288-2006 Table 5.1 and design wind pressure reference: AS1288-2006 Supplement 1.)

13) Does toughened glass in a balustrade need to be heat soaked? 
Heat Soaking for toughened safety glass is required where balustrade is more than 5 metres above floor / ground. (See reference AS1288 / amdt 2 / 2011-11-11, clause 3.8)

14) Does Balustrade glass need to comply with AS1288?

Yes, all glazing must be installed in accordance with AS1288-2006. It is the responsibility of the installer to ensure they are installing the glass in accordance with AS1288-2006 and indeed all Australian Standards and BCA requirements.

Disclaimer:
While every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that this information is correct at the time of publication, Axiom Group, its agencies and employees, disclaim any, and all liability to any person in respect to anything or the consequence of anything done or omitted to be done in reliance upon the whole or any part of this document.

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