Specifying balustrade systems for the urban dwelling
Here’s what to look for in a contemporary balustrade solution for a standalone home or multi-unit dwelling.
As our cities continue to expand towards the sky with more apartment complexes and multi-unit developments, specifying balustrade systems has never been more important.
The right balustrades both help to frame a building and work seamlessly in conjunction with the cladding, while offering unimpeded views to the expanse beyond. Functionality is another key consideration, and a multi-faceted one incorporating safety, and suitability for conditions such as wind loadings and marine influences including salt spray.
What to look for in a balustrade system
“There are some key factors to consider in any balustrade system across the spheres of both safety and design,” Provista Balustrade Systems’ Noel Priestley says. “From a safety point of view, the materials are a key indication. Our solutions, for example, are constructed from the strongest, most durable non-weld quality T6106 aluminium to ensure greater safety, longer lifespan and corrosion resistance. A-grade safety glass must also be used.”
Fittings and Glass
Selecting a balustrade system with concealed fittings allows for protection from corrosion and a more seamless aesthetic.
“While generally offering uninterrupted views of the surrounding area, balustrades may also be used for privacy so considering the glass options is useful. For example, clear, tinted, obscure or custom-printed glass options can add another element to the design and simultaneously offer views and privacy or shading.”
All balustrade systems must comply with AS/NZS 1170.1 Structural Design and Design Loadings and NZ4223 NZ Glazing Standards.
Often, the most visually appealing balustrade systems blend in seamlessly with the rest of the cladding so looking for solutions that are available in an appropriate colour range is important. “Similarly, if you are looking for a balustrade that will contrast with the cladding, colour is an important consideration,” Noel says.
Balustrade Case Study: Housing New Zealand Development, New Windsor
Across three buildings in Auckland’s west, 26 apartments were built in 2019 as part of housing densification in the area. “They feature modern exteriors combining low maintenance materials with clean lines and complementary colour combinations,” Noel says.
The aluminium vertical baluster-style balustrades specified for the decks of the apartments in these buildings incorporate a gull grey powder coat finish to blend in with other cladding and screening solutions that are integrated into the development.
“In keeping with the design of the building, the balustrades feature a ‘retro’ rectangular handrail profile across the floating decks, which are particularly deep. As a result, we used our strong ultra series post profile for this project. This profile is generally specified for use in extra high wind zones, and as a result, we were able to maintain wide post spacings.”
For architect David Bullen-Smith of Context Architects, the decision to use Provista’s system was two-fold. “While design-wise it’s possible to specify a balustrade that has the same aesthetic makeup as this system from one of any number of suppliers, the Provista system offers the ability to work both as a balustrade system and as a screening one.
“In this case in particular, we required a balustrade system that could work in conjunction with a variety of materials. We required a system that could be used to screen the construction materials that make up the edge of the deck. We were able to use aluminium panels in conjunction with the balustrade system to do this, effectively creating both a visual barrier for the edge of the decking as well as a minimalist balustrade system,” David says.
Find out more about contemporary balustrade design options.