The Importance of Engineering on Frameless Glass Balustrades

The Importance of Engineering on Frameless Glass Balustrades

16th October 2019

Why should I get my frameless glass balustrade engineered you may ask?

With glass being used more frequently for unobtrusive views and creating open areas for applications such as;

  • High-end residential homes
  • Commercial properties
  • Sporting complexes
  • Shopping centers where high crowd loading is a determining factor of which glass is fit for purpose,

Engineering is sought for glass balustrades when the current standards for glass do not prescribe a specific application or installation type.

Engineers take into consideration and calculate factors in a number of critical elements including:

  • Application and method of installation
  • Substrate which the balustrade will be affixed to
  • Wind loading (if external)
  • Cyclonic region
  • Crowd loading (where high levels of human traffic may occur)

To meet relevant loading requirements Engineers will specify:

  • The total thickness of the glass
  • The overall dimensions
  • The type of glass required, e.g. Laminated, Toughened or both
  • The installation details, fixing centers, type of fixings.

Who’s responsible for obtaining an engineering certificate?

Well this depends on the situation. The responsibility of obtaining an engineering certification falls into a grey area. Is it the responsibility of the glazier installing the balustrade or is it the builder/owner builders’ responsibility? Whichever way we look at it, the balustrade must comply to current Australian standards. If the current standard does not help in the selection of the glass to be used for the application, then an engineer must be consulted to determine what is suitable.

What can happen if I don’t seek engineering certification on my frameless glass balustrade?

In the event of an incident relating to the balustrading, it is good to show a duty of care for your customer. It is always better to be safe than sorry and have a copy of the engineering certificate on file.

How can Tough Glass help?

We can help facilitate engineering certification with the below information:

  • Address of the installed glass balustrade
  • Sizes/drawings
  • Fixing method
  • Description of what it will be used for? i.e. Frameless balcony installed on second floor

What you will receive:

  • Correct thickness needed
  • Quantity & location of fixing points required
  • Suggested and or compulsory size changes (if required)
  • Most importantly an engineering certificate.

Recommendations

We recommend getting your hands on a copy of AS1288:2006 – Glass in Buildings Selection and Installation. This is the Glaziers encyclopedia to turn to when in doubt about glazing applications. This Australian code covers specification, selection and installation of glass products in residential and commercial applications.

You can get a copy here: SAI GLOBAL- AS1288:2006 Glass in Buildings Selection and Installation

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