Graphical Construction Glossary >> stairs. >> Balustrade Rules

Balustrade Rules
Various mandatory rules for balustrades

handrails not required

The sketches on this page refer to the Australian BCA for single use domestic dwellings, as of 2010 and I show it here only as an illustration of what to expect. Your regulations may differ slightly.

handrails required

A continuous balustrade or other barrier must be provided along the side to any roof accessible by the public, any stairway or ramp, any floor, corridor, hallway, balcony, deck, verandah, mezzanine, access bridge or the like and along the side of a path of access to a building, if -

  1. It is not bounded by a wall
  2. It's level above the surface beneath is more than -
    (a) 4 metres where it is possible for a person to fall through an open-able window, or -
    (b) 1 metre in any other case. (H in the above sketch)
stair handrail heights

The Height of the balustrade or other barrier must be

  1. For a stair or ramp, a height of at least 865, 34", higher than the nosing line of the treads or the floor of the ramp.
  2. The height must be not less than -
    1 metre, 39", above the floor of any access path, balcony, landing or the like.
  3. 865, 34", on the section of a landing that is a continuation of the sloping stair rail. (This is the area known as the transition zone).
  4. Openings in balustrades should not allow the passage of a sphere of 125, 5", diameter to pass through.
    This is applied to the area above the nosing line. (
    This is a slight back down for the regulations as there used to be no clear definition of this and we used to drop the bottom rails to touch the nosing line etc on open strings.)
a stair well

Note the rule above that mentions balustrades to windows. This old stair would not comply. The window opening needs protection.

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Please Note! The information on this site is offered as a guide only!  When we are talking about areas where building regulations or safety regulations could exist,the information here could be wrong for your area.  It could be out of date!  Regulations breed faster than rabbits!
You must check your own local conditions.
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