Balustrades FAQs

Got a question about our software or services? Find an answer in our list of frequently asked questions below.


  • How do I measure for a new railing?

    Just follow the steps in our website. You can select the overall length or post centre to post centre length. We have Information available which may be useful as you are guided through the form.

  • What loadings and forces are they designed to withstand?

    The loads are expressed in kN/m (kilo Newton metre) in simple terms this is a quantity very similar to 100Kg (220lb) of pressure per metre length. If for example it is stated that there is 1.0kN/m it will be approximately the equivalent of one person weighing 100kg putting their full weight on one metre length.

    There are three basic loads that are required to be met;

    (a) Horizontal loading on the handrail
    (b) vertical loading on the handrail
    (c) loading on the infill.

    The horizontal loading on the handrail is called a “uniformly distributed line load” or UDL (basically meaning that the load needs to be calculated in a fashion that allows for even distribution of the pressure along the complete length of the element, as opposed to the sum of the load applied to one point). The vertical load on the handrail is composed of both a UDL vertical load and a point load. The load on the infill, be it glass, metal or other, is tested and calculated in two separate ways; a distributed load and a “point load”. This means the infill of the railing, balustrade or barrier must be able to withstand an evenly distributed pressure as well as a concentrated pressure on a small point.

    The loads are tested or calculated whereby the maximum deflection under pressure must not exceed 25mm.

    Areas of Building Usage and the Loads that Apply

    You can divide regulations into these basic areas:

    Domestic & Residential (Single Family Home), Internal Stairs/Landings Etc.

    In which case the handrail pressure must be able to take 0.36kN/m. For external balconies and in light office areas non susceptible to overcrowding this is doubled to 0.74 kN/m. This can be compared to having one averagely weighing person 75kg applying the full force of their body on every metre of the balcony.

    Public Areas Such as Retail Areas, Bars and Restaurants

    The handrail pressure must be able to take 1.5 kN/m. This is doubled to a dramatic 3.0 kN/m in areas such as malls, discotheques and areas susceptible to overcrowding.

    In relation to the loads that apply in these areas on the glass or infill panels we will show here the severe of the two loads which is the concentrated point load:

    Point Load for Domestic & Residential (Single Family Home) Internal Stairs/Landings Etc.

    0.25kN/m. For external balconies and in light office areas non susceptible to overcrowding 0.5kN/m.

    Point Load for Public Areas

    On all public areas such as retail areas, malls, discotheques, areas susceptible to overcrowding, bars and restaurants the point load must be able to take 1.5kN/m.

    When dealing with glass barrier one more element must be taken into account and that is impact resistance of the glass. A minimum of 10mm glass should be employed in balcony areas that are wider than 1.5m.


    If you are in any doubt about what you need to do, or to conform with, on your own project, we always recommend that you consult your local Planning Office and/or a structural engineer.

    To place an order or ask a question please email us at [email protected] or call your nearest branch and speak to one of our friendly team:

    Rainham: 01708 25 35 45
    Southampton: 023 8070 3333
    Ilkeston: 0115 930 2070
    Birmingham: 0121 565 8282
    Newton le Willows: 01942 86 88 88
    Glasgow: 0141 773 6699

  • Can I install the system myself?

    Many parts bolt or glue together, but some parts do require the stainless steel tube to be drilled and tapped, whilst other parts, such as the handrails, may need cutting to length, so if the system you plan is a complex one, we would recommend using an experienced installer. Stainless steel is harder than mild steel when it comes to drilling and cutting and sometimes specialist equipment is required.

  • What is the lead time?

    Lead times can vary, but our stainless steel parts are usually in stock. Glass can take up to two weeks to prepare and cut to size for you.

  • How long are the handrails that you supply?

    We supply handrail tubes in lengths of 5.8 mtrs, 3 mtrs, 1.5 mtrs, 1.2 mtrs and 1mtr, which can be cut down to size or joined together with connectors.

  • Do I need to buy the glass from you?

    You can place a separate order for your glass at a later date, or you can order your glass from elsewhere. However, our glass is of a very high quality and is very competitively priced.

Still need some help?