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Frameless glass balustrades are a trendy solution for indoor and outdoor spaces. On the 1st June 2016 new regulations were introduced.

The team at Style Plus | Renovations Auckland take a quick look at these changes:

  • Acceptable Solution B1/AS1 Changes.
  • Interpretation of the changes
  • FAQ’s

If you are looking at building a deck, check out Cantilever Decks & Membrane Deck article . Also the Deck Renovation Options.

New regulations introduced in June 2016 require all frameless balustrades are fitted with a continuous, interlinking rail – that is fixed to a building element.


–  Jan Antoni Glinkowski • Director • Style Plus

Acceptable Solution B1/AS1 Changes

glass balustrades requirements 01


For anyone looking at a renovation or new build that involves glass balustrades/barriers, the change to Acceptable Solution B1/AS1 should be discussed during the design and planning stage of the project.

Acceptable Solution B1/AS1 now incorporates Amendment 13, which cites the glass barrier requirements in section 22 of NZS 4223.3:2016 Glazing in buildings – Part 3: Human impact safety requirements.

From 1 June 2016, all new structural glass (toughened or toughened laminated) framed barriers complying with B1/AS1 will need to have an interlinking top rail combined with an edge support system. Interlinking rails must be designed to resist serviceability limit state (SLS) loads specified in AS/NZS 1170 Structural design actions and B1/VM1 in the event that a glass pane breaks.

From 1 June, frameless glass barriers (no interlinking top rail) must be constructed from laminated toughened or laminated heat-strengthened safety glass with a stiff interlayer designed to retain glass and prevent collapse, if broken. The stiff interlayer must be capable of preventing collapse in the event of a breakage of both panes of glass.


In layman’s terms, where glass barriers have an unsupported glass top edge there must be an interlinking rail of some type. If a glass pane failed it must be robust enough to provide reasonable support for a person impacting the barrier. The interlinking rail needs to be either:

• At the top edge (1m or 1100mm height)

• or alongside it.

The objective is to provide a ‘second line of defence’. While glass barriers are strong, glass is a brittle material and does not break or fail in an elastic way.

The interlinking rail needs significant bending strength as it must be able to span the gap that would result from any individual pane failing or being broken. The frame itself, as well as any necessary interlinking rail, will still require specific structural design.


How does this affect my renovation or new build? Frameless glass balustrades previously constructed from toughened glass will now all need to be made from laminated glass. This is a safer but significantly more expensive option. Toughened glass systems will still be accepted by council but only if they are fully framed – top and side – by a steel interconnecting member.

How does this affect my building consent that was issued prior to the 1st June 2016? Building consent applications for glass barriers that were accepted before 1 June 2016 may use the old version of B1/AS1 (Amendment 12) to show compliance with the Building Code.

How does this affect my building consent that was issued on the 1st June 2016 or later? Building consent applications for glass barriers made on 1 June 2016 or later must comply with the new barrier requirements in Amendment 13 of B1/AS1 (i.e. section 22 of NZS 4223.3:2016). If an alternative method is proposed, the application should include appropriate documentation to show compliance with clause B1 Structure.

How does this affect my existing glass barriers? Existing glass barriers are not required to be upgraded to comply with the new requirements, although retrofitting structural glass barriers to comply with NZS 4223:3:2016 may be possible.

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