Balustrades prevent accidental falls from exposed edges at heights; it's crucial that they are safe and fit for purpose both before installation and during service.
In the UK, loading limits of free standing glass, post, rail, spindle and infill balustrades are directed by Eurocode 1 and tested to BS 6180: 2011 'Barriers in and about buildings'. Loading tests ensure the safety and performance of balustrades and their components.
Although there is no mandatory requirement to test balustrades in the UK, it is fast becoming an industry prerequisite as more manufacturers are entering the market with test data in place, and specifiers and contractors are now insisting this information is provided. Not only are manufacturers bound to ensure that their product is fit for purpose, it is also necessary for systems to be installed correctly to ensure in-situ performance matches the measured laboratory performance.
It is particularly important for free standing glass balustrades to be installed correctly as the limitation for movement provided in BS 6180: 2011 has a maximum of 25mm at the working load; this is exceedingly easy to pass as a result of poor installation. Building control and major insurers often request installation performance verification prior to signing-off buildings. The need to ensure the performance of in-situ systems will only increase and is a positive step as these systems become ever more popular; this will ensure that only quality products and installations are used.
Within the UK, there is a requirement to annually check the performance and safety of barriers intended for crowd control in public arenas such as sports stadiums, concert halls and shopping centres. Lucideon devises customized test rigs which can be temporarily installed in order to conduct the required safety checks. Carrying-out the safety checks ensures all insurance and maintenance schedules are retained, and ultimately confirms the barriers are safe for use in a public area.
At Lucideon, we test balustrades both in the laboratory and on-site to assess the on-going safety and performance of existing in-situ systems. We provide testing for the following European and USA standards:
- BS 6180: 2011 - Barriers in and about buildings. Code of practice
- ASTM E2358-17 - Standard Specification for Performance of Glazing in Permanent Railing Systems, Guards, and Balustrades
- ASTM E2353-16 - Standard test methods for performance of glass in permanent glass railing system, guards and balustrades
- ASTM E935 - Test methods for performance of permanent metal railing systems and rails for buildings
- UNI 10806 (Italian) - Prefabricated railing systems - determination of the mechanical strength under distributed static loads
- DIN 18008-4 (German) - Crash proof glazing
In addition to balustrades, we also provide testing of staircases, balconies, handrails and Glass-reinforced Plastic (GRP) products – canopies, chimneys and dormer windows.