A Guide To Understanding Planning Permission for Balustrade Glass Fitting

8 years ago 0 category Knowledge Centre

Are you unsure about Building Regulations and planning permission for your glass balustrade fitting? If the answer is yes, keep reading!

If the next question you are asking yourself is, ‘What is the difference between Planning Permission and Building Regulations?’ Let me explain, according to “Planning Portal”.

“Building Regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings. They also ensure that fuel and power is conserved, and facilities are provided for people. Planning seeks to guide the way our towns, cities and countryside develop.”

Basically, building regulations are set standards for design and construction and Planning Permission are those who seek to guide by the standards for the safety of our towns, cities and countryside developments.

When building a glass balustrade, the first thing that you should consider is the Planning Permission Regulations. If you are thinking where do I start? We have provided a guide to planning permission, taking information from the BSI published ‘barriers in and about building code of practice’ which came into effect on 31 March 2011.

“This British Standard gives recommendations and guidance for the design and construction of temporary and permanent barriers to be provided in and about buildings and places of assembly, such barriers being positioned and designed to protect persons from various hazards and to restrict or control the movement of persons or vehicles.”


B&A Wire Rope



The British Standard applies to the following;

  • Barriers that indicate routes
  • Walls, glazing and other elements of building or structures where such elements act as protective barriers
  • Areas other than spectator areas of sports halls and buildings used for spectator sports.

The British Standard does not apply to the following;

  • Barriers used in building operations and works of engineering construction
  • Safety, barriers, with or without opening gate features, for the protection of children up to 24 months, where the safety requirements is covered by a specific safety standard
  • Permanent means of asses to machinery
  • Barriers used in spectator areas of sports halls, and a building used for spectator sports

If you are within the “Applies to” category keep reading, as this is everything the BSI advise you to consider and the restrictions you might face when applying for planning permission and a glass balustrade fitting is involved.

General guidance is that barriers should be designed to resist the most unfavourable likely imposed loads and wind loads separately without unacceptable deflections or distortions.


The Design Criteria

Next up is design criteria for ‘barrier’/ balustrade heights.

Minimum Barrier Heights are outlined below:

Single Family Dwelling

  1. Barrier in front of a window – 800mm
  2. Stairs, Landings, ramps, edges of internal floors – 900mm
  3. External balconies including Juliette balconies, edges of roofs – 1100mm


All other Uses:

  1. Barrier in front of a window – 800m
  2. Stairs – 900mm
  3. Balconies and stands, etc. having fixed seating within 530mm of the barrier – 800mm
  4. Balconies and stands etc. having fixed seating within 530mm of the barrier, provided the sum of the barrier width and the barrier height is greater than 975mm – 750mm
  5. Other positions including Juliette balconies – 1100mm


Design Procedures

For barriers, other than vehicle barriers, either permissible stress or limit state design procedures should be used. The strength of the barrier should be designed as the ultimate limit state (ULS) and the deflection as serviceability limit state. This means, it should accept the most unfavourable test conditions stated in the BSI “Minimum horizontal imposed loads for parapets, barriers and balustrade” you can see the table by clicking the following link – http://bit.ly/1SYIO9W


Does your balustrade fitting include glass?




Below we have listed the design criteria for those balustrades that include glass panels, such as:

  • Fully framed infill panels; the deflection of the glass in two-edge framed infill panels should be as recommended
  • Two –edge framed infill panels; the deflection of the glass in two-edge framed infill panels should be as recommended
  • Clipped infill panels; the clips should be positioned around the periphery of the infill panel, at a maximum spacing of 600mm. Each clip should be not less than 50mm in length and should be made in accordance with specifications.
  • Bolt fixing of glass infill panels; where glass is supported by bolted connections through holes in glass, the toughened glass should be used. Bolt connections for infill panels should be made in accordance with the specification
  • Position of infill panels relative to the mainframe; Infill panels should be fully contained within the supporting structure. In order not to apply unintended loads to the infill panels, they should have handrails above the glass or attached to the side to which the public have access.

Other factors:

  • Please note that where there is a risk of falling, and the barrier contains an opening window which extends below a line 800mm from the floor, either the opening should be restricted to a maximum width of 100mmm or it should be protected by a suitable barrier at least 800mm high.
  • Barrier with a glass infill panel. In this type of barrier, the mainframe of the barrier should be designed to withstand the loads applied to the top rail and the glass should be used to form the infill panels.
  • Freestanding glass protective barrier. In this type of barrier, the glass should be designed to withstand the design loads. Each glass panel should be clamped to the structure along its bottom edge, the handrail attached to the top edge of the glass and there should be no balusters.


We hope this has helped and given you an insight into what you must consider when installing your glass balustrade fitting.

If you have any further questions regarding the BSI’s code of practice our friendly customer advisors will be more than happy to answer them for you. You can contact the team here.






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