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Balustrade Regulations Update

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Balustrade Design Responsibility and Submittal of House Plans to Local Council

Architects are responsible for the design intent of balustrades and handrails as well as the proper placement of said balustrades and handrails, as per deemed to satisfy regulations in SANS 10400.After the Architect has specified the location and the representation of the balustrades and handrails; it falls to the engineer to specify materials, thicknesses, connections and other structural details.

Quantity surveyors need to ensure that balustrades and handrails have been structurally specified by engineers before releasing tenders. If the projects appointed engineer is not willing or able to take responsibility for the balustrades and handrails, the tender must specify the codes that the balustrades and handrails must comply to, as well as how the balustrade company’s engineers must test or sign off on the installation.

Due to the complicated nature of the building industry, these roles might differ from project to project. However, an architect remains the only person qualified to specify where balustrades and hand rails should be installed, and an engineer is the only person qualified to do the structural design of balustrades and hand rails.

If submitting plans to the council for approval, the responsible engineer or balustrade company must ensure that Form 3 ( The declaration by a competent person appointed to design a component or an element of a system) is signed and submitted to the council. On completion of balustrade and hand rail installation the responsible engineer must visit the site to inspect and/or test the balustrade installation. If the Engineer deems the installation to be acceptable and according to his specifications he must sign form 4 (Certificate of the completion of the structural, fire protection or fire installation system in terms of the section 14(2A) of the act.)

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