It’s time to talk about balustrades and the safety of your family. It’s pretty common to move into or build a house and test out the handrail to make sure it feels secure, but do you know the balustrade regulations in QLD?
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to balustrades in your home. They have the potential to become quite dangerous and unsafe, which is why it’s a good idea to have them inspected before purchase and as a matter of urgency when a wobble develops.
So, how do you know what makes a good balustrade?
Balustrades and Handrails Brisbane
Most people refer to a balustrade as a handrail. A balustrade, however, is the entire railing system, which includes the handrail to provide grip for using the stairs and balcony, spindles or columns, base rails and newels (support columns).
Balustrades are most commonly made from steel or wood; however, they can also be concrete, glass or wire.
What Are The Balustrade Regulations In QLD?
When we carry out pre-purchase building inspections in Brisbane, we adhere to the state and federal regulations for balustrades. The reference to wire balustrade regulations is included in these. The regulations are the Queensland Government Department of Housing and Public Works’ Deck, Balcony & Window Safety Guidelines and the Federal Government’s Building Code of Australia.
These regulations include:
- Balustrade height and requirements on decks, balconies, and stairs;
- Construction strength and the balustrade’s ability to withstand forces such as human weight and strong winds;
- Balustrade use on retaining walls and paths; and
- Regulated tension, supports, and deflection for stainless steel wire balustrades.
With regulations spread between the two pieces of legislation, finding what you need to know can be tricky.
If you’d prefer an expert to check whether or not balustrading complies…
Issues found in Balustrades
Just like the rest of your home, balustrades deteriorate with age. Wood rots, metal rusts (particularly here in Manly qld where we’re close to the bay), glass cracks – you get the picture.
It’s important to keep a close eye on your Brisbane balustrades and make regular checks. Our weather alone is enough to weaken their integrity.
Cracks in concrete can be a sign of “concrete cancer”, where the rusting and breaking down of the metal supports within the concrete structure can cause the concrete to almost explode. Tensioned wire in balustrades, though strong, can fray and incur damage in severe storm weather.
In glass panels, check for signs of cracks that might weaken the pane, check wood for signs of rot or termite invasion, and check the metal for signs of rust that could weaken the structure.
But it’s not just older balustrades that can show problems. Brand new balustrades installed in new homes can be well off code and very unsafe which is why a handover inspection is highly recommended before you make the final payment.
What’s Your Best Bet When Dealing With A Balustrade?
Hire a professional, qualified independent building inspector, particularly one who knows the balustrade regulations QLD and what defects and damage to look for. If you’re not confident in knowing what makes a safe and sturdy balustrade, a building inspector is a smart investment.