The humid sub tropical weather in Queensland in part, dictates the style of building where we want to live up off the ground and let the air circulate under and around the house, this style of building is also important in flood prone areas. This is particularly evident in Brisbane and the Gold Coast which means a large number of houses have balconies with balustrade that protect people from falling.
There is a large variety of balustrade on the market, aluminium balustrade, framed glass balustrade, semi frameless glass balustrade, frameless glass balustrade, stainless steel wire balustrade and slatted aluminium balustrade as a modern alternative to timber balustrade that was prevalent on the old Queenslander style homes of the 20th century.
The outdated construction techniques of that era may have led to a fatal deck collapse in Ascot with 35 women on the deck at the time in a 2008 accident. In another incident, 7 people were taken to hospital in 2009 when a deck pulled away from a house in Morayfield.
It is very important to maintain your deck and ensure that the balustrade is consistent with the relevant Australian Standard, for the protection of the public and your family. The other consideration is the insurance aspect of a faulty deck or balustrade with litigation almost a certainty. http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/balcony-death-family-to-sue/story-e6freoof-1226360649808
There are a number of standards that apply to balustrade depending on they type used, AS 1288-2006 relates to Glass in buildings – Selection and installation.
“A balustrade is a vertical up stand which protects users of a building next to a vertical displacement between horizontal building surfaces or on the side of a stair. Balustrading is required to comply with the BCA and be stiff enough to withstand exerted pressure. Balustrade may have a handrail over. The Building Code of Australia Parts 3.9.1 and 3.9.2, Volume 2 and Australian Standard 1170.1 are written to ensure building that enables people to move safely between different levels of the building using stairs or ramps.” A balustrade must be a minimum of 1m high.
For a guideline for the use, inspection and maintenance of decks, balconies, windows and balustrade in Queensland, please click on the link below.