Balustrades are a safety feature of decks and balconies which are important to inspect and maintain on a regular basis. Your Venatic inspector will look at various aspects of balustrading in the home from compliance in construction to general condition of each component.

The Standards

The Building Code of Australia requires balustrades to be installed on decks, verandahs and balconies wherever the distance in height is greater than 1 meter from any adjoining floor or surface.

Please see figure below from the National Construction Code as an example of when a balustrade is required.






Regulations also state that –

  • Balustrades must be no less than 1m in height from any finished floor surface (or 865mm for stair treads).
  • Openings between nosing line and rails must not exceed 125m
  • Openings between a lower rail and the finished floor must not exceed 100mm
  • Vertical openings must not exceed 125mm
  • Balustrades on balconies that are more than 4m from ground level must not have horizontal elements that enable climbing.

Please see Figure from the National Construction Code depiction of an approved construction method







Inspecting Balustrades


As mentioned above, balustrades must be at least 1 meter higher than the finished floor surface. When tiles or paving are applied after the installation balustrading, the effective height of the balustrading from the new finished surface is occasionally reduced below the 1 meter standard.

Tensioned Wire

Balustrades on balconies and decks under 4m in height often use tensioned wire. It is essential that the size, spacing and tension of the wire meets the building codes below and that the supporting steel or wood structure is in an appropriate condition to support tensioning.




Please see table from the National Construction Code regarding the Safe Movement and Access of wire tensions.


Please refer to Table of the National Construction Code regarding wire barrier construction:





Toughened Glass

Where toughened glass panels are utilised in balustrading, the general guideline for minimum thickness is 10mm toughened safety glass. As mentioned above, the minimum height of balustrading is 1m above finished floor height. A handrail must be fitted when non panels exceed 1m to act as a barrier preventing people falling or walking through in the event of glass failure unless Toughened Laminated Safety Glass is used.

It is important to regularly check fittings of the balustrading are well secured to the balustrade structure and any cracked or broken glass panes are replaced immediately.

Condition of Building Components

Balustrades and handrails using steel rails or posts can be susceptible to rust or corrosion. Ensuring steel is appropriately treated or painted and inspected regularly may prevent components becoming unsafe due to rust

Balustrades and handrails using timber posts and handrails are more susceptible to the elements. Ensuring timber is coated with appropriate weather protective paints and stains and is inspected regularly for weathering, rot or timber pest attack is essential to maintain the safety of the balustrade.

Regularly inspecting fixings such as metal stirrups, bolts and screws is also important as loose post, handrails or balustrade fixings are unsafe and could result in serious injury if they were to fail completely.

What to do if your balustrade is in an unsafe condition

If, after an inspection you find your balustrading is in an unsafe condition or otherwise does not meet the required standards we suggest you restrict access to the area of concern and contact a registered builder to further assess and offer a solution to rectify the issue.


Asbestos was widely used in the manufacture of building materials and other products prior to being phased out in 1990 and banned in 2003 resulting in at least 1 in 3 Australian homes containing asbestos.

Homes built –

  • Prior to 1987 are considered ‘highly likely’ to contain asbestos containing material
  • Between 1987 and 1990 are considered ‘likely’ to contain some asbestos containing material
  • After 1990 are considered ‘unlikely’ to contain asbestos containing material.


Common building materials containing asbestos include fibro sheeting (flat or corrugated), water drainage and flue pipes, floor and wall coverings.

If material is in good, stable condition; it does not pose as health risk and generally does not need to be removed. It is safe to paint to provide further protection to asbestos containing material. Never cut, drill, sand or pressure wash the material.

Dealing with Asbestos

Dealing with asbestos is serious, but it is not overwhelming. If you are renovating or working around the home and you are in doubt, assume asbestos materials are present and have them tested by a professional before proceeding. Professional removal of asbestos is affordable and comparable to most licenced tradesmen like electricians and plumbers.

When renovating your home it is also important to consider if a building permit is required prior to commencing work. Venatic Building and Pest have information on permit requirements and obtaining permits here.

Finding a Removalist

If your Venatic report recommends engaging a licenced asbestos removalist or you are planning on having other renovation work done and you are unsure if the building materials in your home contain asbestos, it is highly recommended that you engage a licenced asbestos removalist. You can find a licenced asbestos removalist by using the WorkSafe Victoria ‘Find a licensed removalist’ search tool, use Google to search for a reputable licensed contractor in your local area or ask your Venatic inspector for a referral.

Ask for your Asbestos Removalists Licence

Your Asbestos Removalist must hold one of two licences issued by WorkSafe

  • Class B Licence

A class B Licence holder is only permitted to perform Class B asbestos removal work, which means asbestos removal work (other than limited asbestos removal work) involving the removal of:

  1. Non-friable asbestos, or
  2. Asbestos-contaminated dust associated with or derived from the removal of non-friable asbestos.
  • Class A Licence

A class A Licence holder are permitted to perform both Class B and Class A asbestos removal work, which means asbestos removal work (other than limited asbestos removal work) involving the removal of:

  1. Friable asbestos, or
  2. Asbestos-contaminated dust (other than asbestos-contaminated dust associated with or derived from the removal of non-friable asbestos).

Your Asbestos Removalist must comply with a number of requirements, including:

  • EPA licencing and approval for transport and/or storage
  • Appointing a nominated supervisor to oversee the removal work
  • Developing an asbestos control plan before the job commences
  • Informing all employers and other persons occupying premises in the immediate and adjacent areas of proposed domestic removal work
  • Using specific methods for removal, waste containment and waste disposal
  • Using signs and barricades
  • Providing decontamination facilities
  • Providing employees with information, training, personal protective clothing and equipment, and medical examinations.

Who to contact if you have issues

If your asbestos removalist does not show you his/her licence or if you have concerns about the safety or work practices of your asbestos removal job, contact WorkSafe on 1800 136 089.


Poor ventilation in the home can lead to structural degradation and timber pest attack. Check out our guide to ensure your home is protected.

What is a TPR Valve and why is drainage for your TPR Valve important? Read our guide on this critical safety device.


Any electrical work in Victoria must be completed by an electrician. Here is our guide to ensure your electrician is appropriately qualified.


Plumbing work in Victoria must be completed by an appropriately licenced plumber. This is our guide to find the right plumber for your job.


Our guide to finding a qualified pest controller to help you monitor and protect you home from pests including termites and borers.

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