Balustrade detailing

British Building Regulations are set forth in Chapter 10, not to mention the British Building Inspectors' 100 mm spherical ball. Patterns based upon 100 mm intervals may pall and it is worth considering varied spacing to improve the scale or to vary the girth of the baluster (Figure 6.8a). In practical terms it is an easy matter to construct a vertical rod balustrade in timber provided adequate purchase exists in

Figure 6.5b Curved framing: Detail of circular stair with central support (from Schuster, F., Treppen, Homan Verlag, 1949)

the string and landing nosing (refer back to Figure 6.2d). For tread ends in cut strings refer to Figure 6.7b. Horizontal rail designs are simpler to frame up with newel posts (Figure 6.8b) and make a stout barrier if threaded through with tubular steel, but horizontal rails can be dangerous where children may try to climb them. In the same vein, the inclusion of metal rod verticals within a timber balustrade will considerably stiffen the construction. Another age-old device, from observing stairs in Georgian houses, is the discreet metal bracket that pins the underside of the handrail to a fixing on the apron lining (Figure 6.8c). Mesh and sheet panels usually require metal framing to give adequate strength where the choice rests with proprietary systems (Figure 6.8/).

Problems now exist with historic buildings open to the public where the balusters are spaced too far apart. One solution is to place a glass or perspex panel against the balusters. At Eltham Palace, English Heritage have provided a knotted cord protection which adds a decorative feature to the otherwise unsafe stair (Figure 6.8g).

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