Structural Glass

Laidlaw Balustrades – Structural Glass

Laidlaw’s structural glass balustrades system is based on the concept of a free-standing balustrades, which does not require separate uprights and infill panels. There are no gaps through which a child could squeeze, nor can it be easily climbed.


The glass balustrades

For this system, the toughened glass balustrades is the structural element that supports the top rail, which can be of solid timber or stainless steel. In each case, the top rail has a groove into which the glass balustrades is glued. In order to accommodate the groove, the diameter of the top rail is 50mm.

At the base, the glass is clamped between steel sections, which are bolted to the floor structure following the principles set out in Annex B of BS 6180 on free-standing toughened glass balustrades (see typical internal landing detail below).

Available timbers are as for the Laidlaw Timber system, namely Beech, European Ash, European Oak or Maple, with an additional option of Walnut where the total run of top rail is greater than 100m.

The stainless steel top rail is of brushed stainless steel marine grade 316.

Cross section


Structural stability

The system can be designed to meet even the most demanding horizontal U.D. line loading requirements set out in Table 4 of BS 6399-1. To view the British Standards click here. The horizontal load capability depends on the thickness of the glass, for example:

Horizontal line load requirement
Minimum glass pane thickness
0.74 15
1.50 19
3.00 25


The Laidlaw structural glass balustrades system is suitable for both internal and external use.

Touch characteristics

Although stainless steel has a greater durability than timber when used externally, the timber alternative would feel less cold to touch in very cold winter conditions. According to clause 5.10.1 of BS 8300, wood handrails are preferred in these circumstances. To view the British Standards click here.

Visual clarity

A key issue for people with impaired vision is the appreciation of the borders of the space through which they need to walk. On the access routes of public buildings, therefore, the use of tinted glass or manifestation on balustrades will give visually impaired people a greater feeling of security.

As with traditional glass infill panels, the structural toughened glass can be tinted grey, bronze, green or blue, or receive manifestation in the form of acid etching or an applied emblem or logo.

Health and safety

In buildings likely to be used by children, safety on staircases and landings is paramount. Approved Document K includes guidance designed to minimise the risk that small children will become trapped, for example between the bars of the balustrades, or will have a serious accident as a result of climbing the balustrades. The fact that the Laidlaw structural glass system has no gaps and is extremely difficult to climb is a major benefit.


The structural glass balustrades is particularly suitable for buildings where it is necessary to avoid all likely ligature points, e.g. for prisons and mental health institutions, in which the Laidlaw range of Anti-ligature architectural ironmongery is appropriate.


Please contact your nearest Laidlaw branch for the latest copy of the Anti-Ligature brochure.