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Balcony Regulations/ Industry Guidance

There are many different factors and organisations which affect the way balconies are designed. Balcony regulations and standards span many BS EN standards and other organisations guidance. So how can the balcony regulation and guidance be digested simply?

We’ve researched these in detail and summarise our findings in this section.

BS EN Standards Key Balcony Points

  • BS standards are being harmonised to form BS EN standards
  • Approved Documents cover similar subjects but some conflict
  • CE marking is covered by BS EN 1090
What do I need to achieve?

The BS and EN Standards is a complex area with many interrelated topics. The British Standards (BS) have been gradually consolidated with the European Standards (EN) to form the harmonised BS EN Standards. In addition, the UK building regulations Approved Documents cover similar subjects and although some advice differs or conflicts, most advice is additional or matched with the relevant standards.

In the table below we have summarised most of the common and some less common requirements and rated them with a score to help guide you to the most relevant ones on typical projects. Note that some shown below have been superseded which is indicated.

Please be aware that whilst every attempt has been made to get this accurate they are for ease of reference and with the standards ever developing may continue to change.

CE Marking Key Points

  • Read BS EN 1090
  • Typically buildings require EXC 2 compliance
  • Balconies and balustrades are included
  • Mandatory compliance started 01/07/2014
What is CE Marking?

CE marking is the European Economic Area (EEA) mandatory mark to indicate a product meets harmonised (BS EN) Standards. It shows that manufacturers check products comply with standards and allows free movement within the EEA. The letters “CE” are the abbreviation of the French phrase “Conformité Européene” which literally means “European Conformity”.

On 1st July 2014, it became mandatory in the UK to comply with BS EN 1090 (Steel and aluminium structures). It is now a legal requirement to CE mark such products.

This indicates compliance with the Construction Product Regulation (CPR) and that they have come from organisations with Factory Production Control (FPC) Qualifications and a Welding Quality Management System (WQMS) where appropriate. Typically, this requires organisations to have suitable systems for enabling traceability, have independently tested weld procedures in place, along with an appointed Responsible Weld Coordinator (RWC) suitable trained and qualified.

For the majority of buildings constructed in the UK, Execution Class two (EXC2) will be the appropriate requirement. Where no Execution Class is specified, Clause 4.1.2 of BS EN 1090-2 states that EXC2 shall apply. The Execution Class is the sole responsibility of the Structural Engineer. However, EN 1090 states “the engineer should avoid over-specification of the Execution Class wherever possible to avoid unnecessary costs being introduced. However EN 1090 states ‘the engineer should avoid over-specification…traceability requirement of EXC2’.

There was originally much confusion as to whether BS EN 1090 included balustrades and privacy screens. The CEN issued document N738 on 29/5/2015 which confirms balustrades and privacy screens do fall within BS EN 1090 when forming an edge guarding or are an integral part of a structure.

However, the Trading Standards advice (the authority which enforces compliance) has differed from this, suggesting that it does not deem balconies to fall within the scope of BS EN 1090.

We use a broad supply chain of carefully chosen companies certified to varying classes specified in BS EN1090. This ensures all relevant CE marking requirements can be fulfilled.

Lifetime Homes

 Key Points

  • 16 Lifetime Home design criteria
  • Meeting Lifetime Home requirements ensure Part M compliance.
  • Criterion 15 glazing & window handle heights
  • Principle glazing to have 400mm minimum height difference between balustrades, and cills, etc.
Who are Lifetime Homes?

Lifetime Homes was developed in the early 1990s by a group of housing experts, Associations and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The group was formed because of concerns about how inaccessible and inconvenient homes were for large sections of the population. Lifetime Homes was developed to ensure that homes are accessible and inclusive.

Lifetime Home dwellings are ordinary homes designed to incorporate 16 Design Criteria that can be universally applied to new homes at minimal cost.

Each design feature adds to the comfort and convenience of the home and supports changing needs of individuals and families at different stages of life, yet rarely require greater space standards or impact the density of a development. Criterion 15 (glazing and window handle heights) is the only part applicable to balcony design and states ‘to allow a reasonable view from the principal living space…any full-width transom or sill within the field of vision should be at least 400mm in height away from any other transom or balcony balustrade (+/-) 50mm acceptable)’.

Such design criteria are intended to work in conjunction not against the requirements of Approved Documents and of BS EN Standards guidance

London Housing Design Guide

London Housing Design Guide LHDG) Key Points

  • Min 5 sqm for 2 people + 1 sqm per additional occupant
  • Min 1500x1500mm space
  • Level, watertight threshold at max 15mm height.
  • Consider privacy, shelter and “Secured By Design”
What is the London Housing Design Guide?

The London Housing Design Guide was published in 2010 by the Mayor of London and forms a common set of housing design standards across the whole of London. They are applied through the London Plan, London Plan Housing Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) and the London Funding Standards Framework.

All new London housing is expected to meet the design standards set out in the SPG, which is intended to create policies for better neighbourhoods, high environmental standards, improved accessibility and better design. There is also a minimum acceptable standard for the amount of floor space, private outdoor space, natural light and ceiling height.

Section 4.10 Private Open Space (POS) in the guide requires all dwellings to be provided with adequate private open space in the form of a garden, terrace, balcony or winter garden. POS standards consider space requirements for furniture, access and activities relating to the number of occupants.

A minimum of 5 sqm of private outdoor space is required for all 2 person dwellings with an extra 1 sqm for each additional occupant. The minimum width and depth for all balconies and private external spaces is 1500mm. The dimensions aim to provide space sufficient for a meal around a small table, clothes drying, or for a family to sit outside with visitors.

Balconies under the SPG should have level access from the home with an upstand not exceeding 15mm and a level, weather-tight threshold. Exemptions are considered for inset balconies and roof terraces where a step up is necessary to accommodate thermal insulation to the accommodation below.

Balconies should be designed to provide some privacy and shelter from neighbouring properties. This can be achieved using glass enhancements, screens or by stepping back the façade. Where balconies overlook noise sources, parapets and/or absorbent soffit materials should be considered for acoustic benefits. Balconies should also have solid floors draining to downpipes.

Secured by Design principles should be incorporated into a POS. For example, balconies should be designed so as not to provide climbing aids to enable access to a property.


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