3kN System

Laidlaw Balustrades – The 3kN System

Performance Characteristics

Structural stability
Due to the 60mm diameter of the uprights and the 4mm thickness of the steel tube for the top rail, the balustrades can resist a uniformly distributed line load of up to 3.0kN/m, making it suitable for use on all staircases, mezzanine floors and galleries in assembly areas that may be subject to overcrowding by the general public. To view the British Standards click here.


The nylon rails, with their 4mm thick cadmium-free nylon sleeve, are coloured throughout, so the colour cannot be chipped, scratched off or worn away. The inner core is of galvanised steel, giving further protection against corrosion. Similarly, any stainless steel components are of marine grade stainless steel, ensuring that they are suitable even in the most aggressive environments.

For both these options, maintenance is minimal with any marks being removed easily with a damp cloth.

Touch characteristics

Stainless steel has a very high thermal conductivity, making it cold to touch when used externally in parts of the country subject to extreme winter weather conditions. However, the thermal conductivity of nylon is 68 times lower than stainless steel, making it feel less cold to touch. Nylon-sleeved top rails and handrails are ideal, therefore, for use externally in buildings that are used by the general public. To view Bulding Regulations click here.

Tactile characteristics

All handrails and balustrades finish by returning to a wall or with a closed end. This tells a visually impaired user that they have reached the end of a flight and ensures that clothing cannot be snagged on an open-ended rail. Handrails terminate either with a rose fixing on the wall or with a stop end.

Visual characteristics

The nylon-sleeved components of the system have a colour range that ensures compliance with the latest guidelines for visual contrast as determined by a difference in LRV (Light Reflectance Value). To view the British Standards click here.

The stainless steel components have a ‘brushed’  finish, which is in line with the guidance in Approved Document M that handrails (and by implication the rails of balustrades) should contrast with the background against which they are seen, without being highly reflective. To view the British Standards click here.

Design compatibility

There are opportunities with both the nylon and stainless steel components for compatibility with other design elements in the building. The stainless steel uprights and connections complement the Orbis range of architectural hardware and other stainless steel design elements. Similarly, the nylon colours are the same as those used for the Normbau architectural ironmongery range of lever furniture, pull handles and push plates for doors, giving numerous opportunities for colour matching.