Balustrade regulations qld

by | Jun 13, 2023 | Advice & inspiration, Building basics & regulations, Building tips

A balustrade is the barrier around a balcony and plays an important role in the safety of your home, especially if you have a verandah, balcony or a second storey. Barriers work both as physical support and as visual deterrents and are a legal requirement for balconies and decks over a metre from the ground. Hold on tight as we take a look at balustrade regulations in Queensland, as well as the pros and cons of the most common balustrade types.

What are the minimum requirements for balustrades in QLD?

Australian building codes specify that decks and balconies more than one metre above the ground are legally required to have a balustrade or railing.

  • Balustrades and railings must be at least 1m tall.
  • Balustrades and railings must be installed on any deck more than one metre from ground level.
  • If your deck is above 4 metres from the ground your balustrade must not have any climbable elements.
  • Gaps in your balustrade must not exceed 125mm. This will help stop children, pets and even adults from slipping through.
  • Your railing and balustrades must be built to handle the reasonable force from strong winds, people leaning,
  • Balustrades can only be made of approved materials as they need to have the structural integrity to handle people leaning against them.
  • For stair treads, you’ll need a handrail that extends from the top to the bottom of the entire staircase.

How do I ensure that my balustrading is compliant with QLD regulations?

Along with hiring a qualified, trusted contractor and checking the National Construction Code, a building inspector can come to see the final product to ensure it meets all requirements.

Are there any exemptions to the balustrading regulations?

Most local councils allow you to apply for an exemption, though whether you’ll be successful will depend on the strength of your argument. Most guidelines are made based on whether the structure or building constructed is safe or unsafe for children.

Unless you have a good reason not to meet regulations, we would suggest it’s much easier and less time-consuming to simply build your balustrade to the outlined requirements.

What are the consequences of not following the balustrade regulations?

The consequence for not following balustrade regulations can vary depending on the severity of the offence and where you are. It can range from a warning to a fine or even lead to a denial of construction services or house approval until fixed.

What are the different balustrade options?


Aluminum has a lot going for it. It’s rust-resistant, incredibly durable, low maintenance and very affordable. With almost zero required maintenance and the lack of ongoing costs on top of the cheap initial price, aluminium almost seems too good to be true.

Well, there are some downsides to aluminium. Though a durable material, it pales in comparison to stainless steel and iron. Aluminium is more at risk of bending from pressure, however, in the material’s defence, it still takes a lot of pressure to do this. A very strong adult might be able to bend it by hand, but it would be well beyond a child.

Timber (Wood)

With a much more traditional look, wood is still a popular material for handrails in Australia. It’s a great look that suits traditional homes and, when done well, is an affordable yet durable choice of material.

There are some potential issues with wood. As a material, it is more vulnerable to termites, moisture damage and rot. It’s essential that your wood is well-treated to help avoid these issues.

Stainless Steel

Providing a slick, modern look, stainless steel is a popular choice for public works but is also becoming more common in households. Stainless steel pairs well with other materials like wood and glass and is a very durable material. It’s also less vulnerable to rust and doesn’t rot like wood, making it a great choice in coastal areas.

The downside of stainless steel is, depending on the quality of the steel, it can be vulnerable to extreme heat. It’s also more expensive than materials like aluminium (though noticeably stronger).

Glass Panel Balustrade

Glass Panel Balustrades are a popular option, due to their stylish modern look and the fact they offer an unimpeded view. For obvious reasons, they’re made from extra-strong, reinforced glass to prevent breaking. Glass tends to be difficult for even the most determined toddler to climb is adds an extra safety benefit.

The downside of glass is while it looks spectacular when clean, it doesn’t take much to look messy. Fingerprints, smudges, dust and condensation will all show up, so regular cleans will be necessary to keep your glass panels looking their best.

If a glass panel fractures or cracks, you will need to replace it which can be pricey.

Strand Wire balustrades

One of those looks that even if you don’t know the name of it, you instantly recognise it when you see it. Strand wire balustrades are usually made from stainless steel, making them easy to maintain and durable.

The downside is they’re not as safe as other balustrades. Depending on the height you’re installing them, you may have to install more wires to comply with regulations. This can look too busy and crowded. Stainless steel is also a more expensive material than some.

Wrought Iron

Quite a stylish way to add security and safety to your deck, wrought iron is available in a range of patterns and finishes.

Something to keep in mind is that this style won’t suit every home aesthetic, particularly some especially. Wrought iron can have some climbable elements if poorly designed.

The other downside of wrought iron is it isn’t cheap. Wrought iron tends to be the most expensive balustrade option on the market.

How much will balustrades cost me?

There are a few factors that will influence the price of your balustrade:

  • The dimensions of the area you need a balustrade for.
  • The material you’re using.
  • A building company you hire

Tips for Balustrade Safety

Along with building a balustrade that meets Australian standards, there are a few steps you can do to ensure the safety of your children near the balustrade and railing.

  • Don’t have climbable objects next to the balustrade. This includes furniture, boxes or even something like a barbeque or esky.
  • Avoid using climbable elements such as horizontal rails.
  • Never let young children onto a high deck or balcony unsupervised.
  • Have locking mechanisms on doors and windows that lead to verandahs and high decking.
  • Install child-safe gates near stairs.

How to choose the right balustrading for my property?

Beyond meeting regulations and legislation, the right balustrade for you will come down to:

  • What you’re hoping to achieve.
  • The aesthetic of the area you’re installing balustrades in.
  • The level of difficulty with installation.

Get free advice on balustrades from an experienced building broker

Buildi is here to help through your entire home-building journey from start to finish. Our expert team has saved our clients thousands of dollars, along with plenty of time and stress. Why not book your free consultation today to find out more?

Book your free, impartial consultation today!


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