There are clearer requirements for face mounted balustrades in NCC 2022.
NCC 2022 includes a minor change to ‘construction of barriers to prevent falls’. This clarifies how the NCC applies to face mounted balustrades.
This provision used to be in Volume Two (2019: 188.8.131.52), but you’ll now find it in the Housing Provisions 11.3.4.
If you’re not familiar with how Volume Two and the Housing Provisions work together, you can read our article.
Volume One D3D19 (2019: D2.16) still includes provisions for ‘opening in barriers’.
D3D19 and 11.3.4 cover face mounted balustrades that form an edge of a landing, balcony, deck, or stairway. The change now requires an opening between a barrier and a balustrade to not exceed 40 mm. Some examples include spigot mounts, face brackets and so on.
The opening is measured horizontally from the edge of a trafficable surface to the nearest internal face of a barrier.
See example below.
Why did we make this change?
We made this change because there were inconsistencies in how practitioners were applying the NCC 2019 provisions.
Some practitioners would allow a gap of 125 mm between the face of a trafficable surface and the balustrade, whereas others consider that the balustrade is not ‘provided along the side’ of the trafficable surface.
A face-mounted barrier will require some gap due to material movement and/or construction tolerance, however, 125 mm is considered hazardous.
Our consultation with stakeholders found that a gap of 40 mm is both safer and more practical.
The barrier itself can now be moved away from a trafficable area in any configuration that creates a gap between the edge of a surface, like a deck, landing, balcony, and so on.
This summary gives a good insight into some of the changes, however, you should check the NCC for the specific provision details.