Balustrades are rail fixtures that are fixed along the edge of a building opening or passage.
They have 2 uses:
- To prevent people from accidentally falling down especially in high rise buildings passages.
- To add aesthetic value and appeal to a building.
A well designed balustrade should be well anchored on the concrete slab so as to reduce any chances of causing an accident if a person were to lean on it.
To anchor securely, the number of steel columns at the bottom that will be anchored to the ground should be many and closely spaces.
See the picture below.
The bottom section of the steel should be shaped in a fish-tail shape so as to hold strongly into the concrete. If possible, some sections should be welded to the steel reinforcement inside the slab.
A well designed balustrade should also not have wide spaces in between steel sections. This is to prevent instances where small children can fit within the balustrade spaces and accidentally fall over. The spaces should be between 50mm and 150mm to prevent this.
The recommended balustrade height is 1.2 meters from the ground level.
I personally recommend 1.5 meters height for levels above the ground floor level. This is because the height discourages people from tending to sit on the balustrade hence reducing the chances of any accidents.
Steel balustrades can be designed in so many ways. An easy way to make them appeasing is to use the steel thickness to come up with a good design as shown in the picture above.
By use of 3 different thicknesses,10mm, 25mm and 50mm, this breaks monotony and achieves the desired aesthetics.