Balustrade regulations in Australia: What you need to know

In Australia, builders have to comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) which specifies a number of different requirements for balustrades, stairs and handrails. This is true whether the balustrade is indoors or outdoors, on a landing or patio, or many metres above the ground in blocks of units or multi-storey commercial developments. 

When installing a balustrade at your building, there’s a number of building code regulations that you need to know about. 

Homeowners, building managers and body corporates should know what is involved in installing compliant balustrades – not just the builder. That way, you can ensure that your builder or construction contractor installs the safest railing system possible that will perform well for many years to come. 

When do you need a balustrade? 

A balustrade is required for any type of walkway, stairway, balcony or deck, where the floor level changes by more than 1000mm. 

How high does a balustrade need to be? 

One of the most important things is the height of the balustrade, and this is often where builders can trip up. 

The height must be 1 metre above the floor or ground which sounds simple enough. However, this refers to the finished height of the floor: meaning when floor coverings like tiles, carpet or decking beams are added, the installer can unwittingly raise the floor height so that the balustrade is no longer compliant.

Standard ULTRALOX panels come with a minimum height of 1050mm to comply with Australian standards and building regulations. This means that builders have 50mm of leeway to work with, ensuring even the thickest tiles and carpet can be installed without compromising the effectiveness and safety of the balustrade. 

What about balustrades on multi-storey buildings?

For buildings with multiple floors such as apartment buildings, hotels, commercial developments and units, there are extra regulations to take into consideration. 

Floors or levels that span more than 4 metres above the level below must have extra safe balustrades installed. In particular, any horizontal elements must be designed in such a way that they are difficult to climb. This is applicable to any part of the balustrade that sits between 150mm and 760mm above the floor. 

This means that any decorative elements or cross pieces are generally a bad idea on balustrades that are used on multi-storey buildings. 

That’s why ULTRALOX balustrades have a single low cross piece for support with no through pieces in the middle that might make it easy for someone to climb. 

What is the lifespan of a balustrade? 

Another key factor when reviewing Australian balustrade regulations is that they apply to all installations, not just new projects. 

That means that over a number of years, a balustrade can be subject to weathering or wear and tear which could render it non-compliant. This is particularly relevant when looking at wooden balustrades: being a natural material, wood is prone to rot, splinter or warp meaning it can easily go from compliant to non-compliant in just a few years. Not to mention the regular maintenance to keep it in good shape!

That’s why smart homeowners and professional builders choose an aluminium balustrading system that will stand the test of time. Durable aluminium is engineered to last, looks great, and requires virtually no maintenance. 

Choose ULTRALOX to stay compliant with regulations

ULTRALOX is a prefabricated aluminium panel system that is coated in durable architectural grade powder coating. 

100% Australian compliant, it is engineered and approved to Australian Standard 1170 – Commercial and Residential Buildings. With several stylish designs available and a hidden fastener system, it is quick to install and compliments a range of different building styles. 

Contact ULTRALOX to find out more about safe and compliant balustrades and railings that will make your building look great for years to come. 

Stay on schedule with ultra-fast installation

Keeping your job on track is critical, no matter what project you’re working on. For construction professional, time is money so make sure you’re making the smart choice when it comes to aluminium balustrades. 

Enabling extremely efficient on-site installation, the ULTRALOX balustrading system was designed with building contractors in mind. Created to address the common problems faced by installers, the balustrading system ensures lightning-fast installation, keeping labour costs in check and making scheduling with other trades a breeze. 

Why choose ULTRALOX? 

Originally designed in the USA and now available in Australia, ULTRALOX fully pre-assembled balustrading allows for an incredibly quick and simple assembly on site. Basic tools are all that’s required, as opposed to a mass of loose fittings and fasteners needed to install other systems. 

ULTRALOX ensures a professional fit on your aluminium balustrade system by using a unique snap-together system that slashes time on site for contractors. Our customers typically report that each panel can be installed up to 30 minutes quicker than competitor systems, saving an average of 6 – 8 hours per deck!

Ideal for both commercial and residential projects, the high-quality finish of ULTRALOX makes it the product of choice for architects and specifiers. It is fully approved to meet all relevant Australian Standards and offers the highest safety and durability standards in the industry.

What do I need to install my ULTRALOX balustrading? 

ULTRALOX arrives on site fully pre-assembled, without the need for a complicated shopping list of additional fasteners and components. There are just a few simple tools you’ll need to have on hand to quickly and efficiently install your aluminium balustrading. 

Installation equipment: 

  • Cordless drill
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • 3/8″ hex driver bit
  • #2 square drive bit
  • Mitre saw (fitted with a non-ferrous blade)
  • 3/16” drill bit
  • Appropriate PPE including safety glasses 

Fast and easy installation procedure

Pre-fabricated panels mean that you can often install ULTRALOX aluminium balustrading out of the box. However, if you need to trim panels to fit on site, this is easily achieved by cutting the aluminium panels with a mitre saw. 

ULTRALOX uses a simple post kit that comprises the base and the post itself. These are fitted together in situ to ensure that any slopes, variance or tolerances at floor level can be managed using the modular system. After drilling the aluminium posts into position, it’s easy to simply snap the horizontal panels into the U-shaped quick-lock brackets. 

These fastening clips are then hidden from sight by the top rail, providing a streamlined and professional finish. 

For detailed installation instructions, ULTRALOX has a full range of instructional videos available online. 

Get a price on aluminium balustrading

Whether you’re working on a deck, patio, staircase, balcony or verandah, ULTRALOX is the aluminium balustrade fencing system of choice for smart builders who are looking to slash installation times. 

Plus, our factory lead times are incredibly fast too! With a variety of different aluminium railing systems manufactured by our patented interlocking machine, we can produce high quantities quickly and deliver to your site fast. 

Contact ULTRALOX for a fast quote today.

The Benefits of a prefabricated aluminium balustrade

In recent years builders and architects have been looking to aluminium balustrade as an alternative to both timber and steel.

Aluminium is a light weight, high strength material which is often chosen because it will outlast other popular balustrade materials like timber and steel.  Aluminium is also a cheaper option than say steel or iron but offers all the same durability and strength.

The problems with a standard aluminium balustrade

The reason that many builders and architects have been turned away from using an aluminium balustrade in the past is due to several reasons:

  • Long lead Times
  • Expensive labour
  • Inconsistent welding
  • The welders are rarely certified
  • Finish needs to be applied after assembly
  • No testing of the system for compliance

The Benefits of a prefabricated aluminium balustrade

Before the Ultralox system was introduced to Australia the only method for aluminium balustrade was the previous manufacturing methods, which especially with the lack of system testing for compliance would turn many people off the product.

The Ultralox system allows Systemo to prefabricate balustrade all in Australia with the Ultralox interlocking machine. What does this mean?

All balustrade is made consistently on the one machine.

Because the railing is all machine manufactured every rail will look the same, this gives any project a stylish and professional finish without the concern of inconsistencies and the potential to have to hold up project deadlines for replacement railing if there is a major manufacturing defect.

Lightning fast turnaround times

Because the product is machine manufactured an order can be placed within 24 hours of delivery requirement, much faster than the previous methods.

Not only does the manufacturing time drop dramatically, installation on site is halved and can be done with the help of a library of installation videos!

Ultralox is fully tested to meet ICC-ES AC273 and AS1170 requirements

Because the Ultralox system is machine manufactured and each railing is identical Systemo can test and test again to ensure the system is 100% compliant to Australian standards. 

With traditional Aluminium balustrade systems, it is very hard for producers to be able to replicate railing systems to undertake the testing required to pass for compliancy.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of the Ultralox system you can contact a representative by calling 8646 3377 or filling in the contact us form on our website.