Complying with AS1428- Balustrade | Absolute Balustrades
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Complying with AS1428- Balustrade.

Complying with AS1428- Balustrade

The AS1428 provides minimum design requirements for new building work, to enable access for people with disabilities e.g. access ways and circulation space for people in wheel chairs. It determines access and movement in public buildings. It may also be applied to provide access in existing buildings. Particular attention is given to;

  • continuous accessible paths of travel and circulation spaces for people who use wheelchairs;
  • access and facilities for people with ambulatory disabilities; and
  • access for people with sensory disabilities.

This article focuses on the balustrade requirements to meet the AS1428 disability access code and where AS1428 compliance is required for balustrade and handrails.

Where balustrade needs to comply with AS1428

Most public access buildings or common areas needs to have disability access (See FIG 1.1 below). The AS1428 does not cover Class 1a or 1b buildings (private dwellings) and non-common areas in Class 2 buildings (eg. block of units). Areas covered include;

  • transport and car-parking
  • external access
  • entrances
  • interiors, i.e. internal staircases
  • lifts
  • toilets

FIG 1.0: AS1428 compliant handrail


Balustrade/handrail requirements to meet AS1428

The following are the minimum requirements for balustrade/handrails under the AS1428 code;

  • The code requires a circular or elliptical handrail, with a minimum width of 30mm and a maximum width of 50mm (see FIG 1.1 below).
  • The handrail on a stair must be continuous down all flights and must extend to one tread depth plus 300mm horizontally past the top and bottom riser. On a ramp, however, the handrail may level out and terminate where the ramp finishes. 
  • The inside handrail on a landing should always be continuous.
  • All handrails requires turndown ends of 180 degrees or alternatively, returned fully to the end post, floor or wall face (see FIG 1.2 below).
  • Handrails must be at same level throughout the stair/ramp, no more than 1000mm or no less than 865mm high throughout.
  • There must be a minimum 50mm space between the handrail and the wall and a 270 degree clearance on handrail is required at all times.
  • Handrail is required to both sides of the stair/ramp, with a minimum of 1000mm clearance between both handrails.
  • Therefore, a stairwell needs to be at least 1160-1200mm wide in order to allow for 1000mm clearance, 30-50mm handrail on each side (60-100mm) and 50mm clearance from the wall on both sides (100mm).
  • The handrail must have no obstruction to the passage of a hand along the rail.
  • The handrail shall have no vertical sections and shall follow the angle of the stairway nosings. There also needs to be a vertical clearance of 600mm above the handrail. 
  • Balustrade/handrail to a ramp needs to have a kerb rail on either side at a minimum height of 65mm and maximum 75mm above finished floor level. A kerb rail is a bottom rail thats purpose is to prevent the wheel of a wheelchair from slipping off the ramp (see FIG 1.3 below).
  • Where the BCA code does not require tactile indicators on the ground, the handrails will require a raised tactile warning (domed button 10-12mm in diameter and 4-5mm high) on the top of the handrail and 150mm from the end of the handrail (See FIG 1.4 below).

The above is a summary explanation of the AS1428 disability access code for balustrading.  For full AS1428 requirements you can visit www.standards.org.au.

If you need further information on AS1428 or require a quote, call our sales team on 08 9302 1947 or email us at  sales@absaus.com.au.

FIG 1.1: 50 OD handrail

FIG 1.2: 180 degree return on handrail

FIG 1.3: Kerb rail

  FIG 1.4: Tactile indicators on handrail


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