Reg 126 for Glass Balustrade


Did you know, if you want to replace or build a new balustrade, or a new glass stairs, you must ensure it is designed and constructed legally. That usually means:

When you appoint a registered builder to do the work, if the cost of the project (including labour and materials) is over $10,000. A structural engineer can ensure the design of the balustrade meets the National Construction Code. relevant Australian Standards AS1170 and AS1288 and manufacturer's specific requirements. They will make sure that if the balcony or deck is fixed to a building, the building can support the structural loads.

Risk factors for balconies, decks and balustrades

There are many things that can affect the structural safety of a balcony, deck or balustrading, such as:

  • Loadings – groups of people and heavy items (e.g. large pots, water features) provide additional loads for a balcony to support. The balcony may not have been designed to support so much extra weight. If overloaded, it may collapse.
  • Termites – for timber balconies and decks in areas of termite risk, the appropriate timber and treatment are needed. This is regardless of whether the council has declared the area likely to be subject to termite attack.
  • Wet rot – occurs when timber is in constant contact with the ground or in the presence of moisture.
  • Seaside and corrosive effects – unprotected steel structures, reinforcing steel and fixings (e.g. bolts and fixing plates) can be corroded (rusted), particularly in coastal areas.

Type of glass balustrade

Safety measures for owners

All homeowners and commercial property owners with balconies, decks and balustrades should regularly inspect them for signs of damage or deterioration. You should do a visual check each year using the guides below.

If you are worried about the stability of a balcony, deck or balustrade, avoid the area and restrict access. Contact a structural engineer or other suitably qualified building practitioner, who will be able to inspect and determine the full scale of the problem.

Checking balustrades

Balustrades or handrails are often made of concrete, steel, timber or glass. They need to comply with building regulations and standards in terms of height, tension and fixings.


  • Balustrades must be at least one metre high, measured from the adjacent finished floor surface. Check the height of your balustrade, particularly if tiles or some other paving may have been applied after the balustrade was installed.

Tensioned wire

For balustrades using tensioned wire, it’s essential the size and tension of the cable meet the building code. Steel or wood should be solid to properly support tensioning.

  • Check to see if the wire seems loose.
  • Also check the distance between cables and any other supports that form the balustrade.

Toughened glass

  • When toughened glass panels are used, it’s important to regularly check that it is safely attached to the balustrade structure.
  • Any cracked or broken glass panes should be immediately replaced.


  • Make sure that fixings, such as metal stirrups to floors, bolts and screws are tight. Loose fixings on balustrades or handrails are unsafe and can result in injury.
  • In the past, we have seen numerous collapsed balconies due to fixings into inadequate substrate, such as timber that has rotten away. In our computation, we steered away from using timber-only-fixings.

Horizontal climbable elements

  • Where it is possible to fall more than 4 metres, check that any horizontal elements of the barrier between 150 mm and 760 mm do not facilitate climbing.


  • Check that there are no openings in the barriers that can permit a 125 mm sphere to pass through the barrier.


  • Balustrades or handrails using steel rails or posts can be susceptible to rust or corrosion. By painting steel with an anti-rust coating and inspecting them regularly you may avoid unsafe rust occurring.
  • Timber balustrades are more susceptible to the elements than other materials. This is particularly the case in coastal areas where the combination of salt and rain can be damaging. Make sure you use an appropriate weather-proof stain or paint.

What is required for approval?

Deemed-to-satisfy Provision Reg 126 Glass Glazing Balustrade

This image is an extract from a Regulatory Assessment Report from a Melbourne Building Certifier, requesting the following.

  • Structural engineer to submit Regulation126 Certificate of Compliance – Designand associated documents including but not limited to structural plans, structural computations, soil report, wind report.
  • Documents must identify live loads, fire resistance levels, importance level, wind category, and so forth.
  • Glazing must be designed to meet the requirements of AS1288 and AS2047.
  • All balustrades must be designed to meet the loading requirements ofAS1170. Specifically, the impact loading requirements must be considered.
  • Glass balustrades must be provided with a structural top handrail. Frameless glass balustrades are not permitted.
  • Glass panels/assemblies, doors, and the like within public and private areas (i.e.,apartment doors leading to balconies)that are capable of being mistaken for an opening must be provided with manifestations/decals.
Reg 126 Glass Balustrade Melbourne Brighton

NCC 2022 for Glass Balustrades

On 1 May 2023 the National Construction Code (NCC) was adopted, enforcing provisions of AS1288:2021 Glass in Buildings –selection and installation. The new standard has wide ranging implications as to selection and installation of glass balustrade. For sometime now, our suppliers and their retained engineers have sought clarify from government bodies/authorities on a number of provisions in AS1288:2021. Below are some important points having regard to Section 7 of AS1288:2021 – Barriers or Balustrade.

  • Laminated glass must be used for balustrades 5 metres or above the ground (section 7.4.1)
  • Under 5 metres, monolithic toughened glass may be used if provisions of section 7.4.5 are satisfied
  • Importantly, the advice from engineers that the standard does not allow SPIGOTS or POINT FIXINGS to be installed with 12mm monolithic toughened safety glass above 1 metre from the ground. This advice is made having regard to a reading of sections 7.4.1, 7.4.5 and 7.4.6. The advice received is spigots can only be installed in a balustrade installation above 1 metre from the ground using toughened laminated glass.
  • In relation to ‘dry glaze’ channels, sought engineer advice to clarify section 7.4.5 which specifically references ‘grouted channel’. Engineer advice is that ‘dry glaze’ channels (utilising clamping actions similar to spigot friction fitting) should NOT be installed with 12mm monolithic toughened safety glass above 1 metre from the ground. Toughened laminated glass should be used. Government/industry clarification has been sought but clarification has not been provided to date.
  • Each and every glass balustrade installation will require independent site-specific engineering, meaning, every design must be supported by structural computation + Regulation 126 Certificate Of Compliance.
  • For works started on a job or if building approval/permits were provided before 1 May 2023, the application of the previous AS1288 standard may apply – that said, it is imperative that the building certifier is consulted to seek clarity as each situation is site specific and no ‘catch all’ advice can be provided.
  • Please seek independent engineering advice for all glass balustrade installations as from 1 May 2023 and if works relate to approvals/commencements prior to 1 May 2023. Also, seek advice from the certifier as to which AS1288 standard applies. Obtained this information and pass to your engineers for design will help speed up the process.

The above are solely commentary. Please seek independent engineer, speak to us or building certifier's advice as required.

Reg 126 Glass Balustrade Design AS 1288

Staircase Glass Balustrade Pin-Fixed Glass Balustrade Channel Glass Balustrade Frameless Glass Balustrade Side Mounted Glass Balustrade Laminated Glass Balustrade Semi Frameless Balustrade Privacy Screen Glass Balustrade