Glass In Your Home

As an architectural element, glass has become the quintessential product for your home or building.

Designers play a key role in the selection and application of glass with a wide range of applications including concertina doors, louvre windows, kitchen splashbacks and frameless glass shower screens. How glass can be used is only limited by your imagination. Glass plays a vital role in the internal and external function and design of your project.

Some of the many uses of how glass is applied in the building fabric are listed here.

Balustrades and pool fencing

Glass balustrades and pool fencing provide an exceptional opportunity to allow uninterrupted views and to add beautiful design features to a home, however they are also vital to provide a safe and secure area for the family to enjoy.

A balustrade is intended to prevent a fall from a height (one metre or more) while a pool fence is designed to simply prevent entry to a pool area. This means that a balustrade must be able to withstand a much greater force than is needed for a pool fence. With balustrades there are particular considerations to provide the correct level of safety. These considerations include the pressure caused by wind, the way the area is used, and the force of a person falling or running into it. On top of that is effective and safe installation of the balustrade.

This means that a balustrade (both the glass and the fixings) must be designed, selected and correctly installed to ensure that together they meet the requirements of the National Construction Code (NCC). Do-it-yourself balustrades are very unlikely to meet those requirements. As a general rule you cannot use a pool fence in a balustrade application, but you could use a balustrade system in a pool fence application.

Remember that balustrades save lives and are worth the time, effort and cost to ensure they can do their job properly.

Types of Balustrades

Generally, there are two types of glass balustrades: structural and infill balustrades.

Structural balustrades have a glass panel that forms the main structural element to resist any applied load including wind and human loads.
Infill balustrades have a glass panel that fills a space or opening and is supported by posts, rails, or other structural elements that resist the loads. 

Ensuring Safety

A glass balustrade system (including the glass, post and fixing) must be fixed to a rigid base so it is highly recommended to use a qualified structural engineer to check the stability and strength of the support that will be provided if the barrier will be connected to an existing building element. Of course always use a qualified or master glazier to ensure the balustrade is selected and installed safely.

Balustrade fixings

For both balustrade types, the glass panel can be fixed to the vertical and/or horizontal post(s) or directly fixed to the ground or main building with a variety of different fixing.


The entire length of the bottom of the glass panels is fixed into a channel (usually into a grouted channel). The channel is attached to the main building with fixings designed according to the size and application of the glass balustrade.

This fixing configuration is typical for structural balustrades.


The entire length of the edges of the glass panels is fixed to channels within posts.

This fixing configuration is typical for both structural and infill balustrades.

At least two opposite edges of the glass panels must be fixed however three, or all four edges, of the glass panel can be fixed depending on design requirements.

Point/pin fixed connection

The glass panel is secured to the ground or to the posts with steel hardware. In external applications, the hardware is usually 316-grade stainless steel to avoid corrosion.

The design of the glass (thickness and overall dimensions) and the hardware shown in this photo should be designed by a qualified engineer.

Spigot (patch fitting) fixed connection

The glass panel is secured to the ground or the posts with round or square steel spigot fixing.

Again, in external applications, the hardware will usually be 316-grade stainless steel to avoid corrosion of the steel.

The design of the glass (thickness and overall dimensions) and the hardware needs to be  determined by a qualified engineer.

Pool fences

Pool fences that don’t also prevent falls are not classed as balustrades as they are designed to withstand much lower loads than balustrades.

The glass used for a pool fence has to be Grade A safety glass and be selected and installed to meet the swimming pool Standard (AS 1926.1) and the glass Standard (AS 1288). They must be of a minimum height, be self-closing with a child resistant opening method and not be climbable.

Consulting with a professional building consultant is highly recommended to ensure the correct glass and fittings are used and the glass fence should be installed by a qualified glazier. Please consult your local council for more details and regulations

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