Stairs, Ramps & Barriers

For new buildings and for buildings subject to major refurbishment, the requirements for glazing when incorporated in the designs of stairs, ramps and barriers are given in a combination of Building Regulations (with supporting Approved Documents or Technical Handbooks) and British Standards publications.

The relevant Approved Document for England is

  • Approved Document K (Protection from falling, collision and impact) 

This Approved Document became effective in England from 6th April 2013. It now incorporates the former Approved Document N (Glazing - Safety in relation to impact, opening and cleaning).  The six parts of Approved Document K are as follows:

  • K1 Stairs, ladders and ramps
  • K2 Protection from falling
  • K3 Vehicle barriers and loading bays
  • K4 Protection against impact with glazing
  • K5 Additional provisions for glazing in buildings other than dwellings
  • K6 Protection against impact from and trapping by doors

When glazing is used as guarding for stairs, parapets or as balustrades it must be capable of withstanding the loadings and satisfy minimum height requirements given in the Guarding Design Table.

Further guidance on the appropriate loads on infill panels can be obtained from BS 6180: Barriers in and about buildings - Code of practice.

Guarding should be provided where it is necessary for safety reasons to guard the edges of any floor including window, gallery, balcony, roof (including rooflights) and other openings to which people have access (unless for maintenance) such as light walls, basement areas and any sunken area next to a building.

Where buildings are likely to be used by children under 5 years old, the guarding should be designed to prevent young children becoming trapped by the guarding. A 100mm diameter sphere must be unable to pass through any gap in the guarding. It must be designed so that children can not readily climb up it.

For access to Approved Documents, please click here.