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Frequently asked questions:

A balustrade is a crucial architectural and construction feature that offers support, safety, and visual appeal to staircases, balconies, decks, or any elevated area with a drop of 1 meter or more. Balustrades serve as a guardrail, preventing falls and ensuring stability while using stairs. They also enhance the overall aesthetics of buildings and can be designed in various styles to complement the architectural theme. Balustrades are primarily focused on safety, and our extensive network of pre-authorized fabricators possesses the expertise needed to provide you with a compliant barrier. These fabricators have the knowledge and experience to ensure that the balustrades meet the requirements of the New Zealand Building Code. You can rely on them to deliver a UNEX balustrade that not only enhances the safety of your space but also adheres to the regulatory standards in New Zealand.
UNEX has a large range of proprietary and pre-engineered balustrade systems. However for those larger projects, our design team can happily work with the architect and developers to provide a site-specific balustrade design, to suit the design requirements. In this case, our standard profiles are mainly utilised which makes for a more cost-effective solution rather than designing and manufacturing a whole new system.
UNEX Balustrade Systems can be powder coated in almost any NZ powdercoat colour (including wood grain) or even anodised. Check with your chosen fabricator who will be able to help with colour options.
The posts are generally spaced between 1.0 and 1.4 metre centres, depending on a number of factors. The key factors that determine how far apart the posts are positioned include; how the balustrade is fixed, what substrate the balustrade is fixed to, post type, height, site wind speed, site location and the balustrade style. In order to determine the maximum post spacing more exactly, please refer to the technical manuals or contact UNEX for assistance.
Firstly, remove loose deposits with a wet sponge. Do not dry-dust, as the surfaces will be scratched. Remove any moss growth and ensure that all drain holes are unblocked, particularly those at the base of the posts and underside of glazed lower rails. Secondly, clean the surface using a soft brush and a mild detergent in warm fresh water - a bit like your car! Pay particular attention to any areas not washed naturally by the rain. Thirdly, always rinse well after cleaning with fresh water to remove any remaining detergent.
A Balustrade is a barrier in any building element intended to prevent a person from falling and to retain, stop or guide a person. A Fence is a barrier for all other situations where there is no fall – e.g. a Pool Fence. Reference to the New Zealand Building code and Acceptable Solutions must be referred to for full details.
The minimum balustrade heights are as indicated on Table 1 of the Acceptable Solutions F4/AS1 available here. “Detached dwellings” are typically the interior and exterior of a residential dwelling. “All other buildings” apply to all other building situations. Reference should also be made to the current New Zealand Building Code, in particular Clause F4, for a full guide.
In these situations, a balustrade is not required by the New Zealand Building Code, however if a balustrade is installed is must comply with the balustrade loads as indicated in the Guidance on Barrier Design issues by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE).
All glass used in balustrading shall be Grade A Toughened Safety Glass manufactured in accordance with the requirements of the Australia and New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS 2208). Glass shall be selected and used in accordance with our fabricators manuals and the requirements of New Zealand Standard (NZS 4223). Refer to NZS 4223 for a full guide. Where a patterned or obscure glass is required, screen printing is preferred to sandblasting as the latter compromises the integrity of the glass.
According to the New Zealand Building Code, a glass balustrade now requires an interlinking handrail or alternative methods for compliance. UNEX offers various solutions, including semi-frameless glass balustrade with a top rail, different frameless glass systems with interlinking rails, and options using toughened laminate glass or special interlayer glass. The interlinking rail must be attached to a structural element and meet required barrier loads. These options ensure compliance with safety standards while offering different design choices for glass balustrades.
Certainly! A balustrade can indeed be used as a pool fence, as long as it adheres to the regulations set by the NZ Building Code Clause F9/AS1 and section 162C. These regulations aim to ensure that unsupervised children are prevented from accessing swimming pools or bodies of water deeper than 400mm. Our range of balustrade systems is designed to meet these requirements, giving you a wide selection of pool fencing finishes to choose from. Whether you prefer an aluminium fence finish, glass panel fencing, or a combination of both, you have the flexibility to select the option that suits your preferences. For guidance on your pool fence requirements, including legal and aesthetic considerations, your local UNEX Fabricator will be able to provide valuable advice.
UNEX can provide a producer statement for our proprietary methods, to certify the balustrade design is fully compliant with the New Zealand Building Code. This certificate is available from your local Authorised Fabricator or Specifier. For custom designs, the technical team at UNEX may also provide a site-specific producer statement. (Please note: engineering consultation fee may apply).
There are four different types of Producer Statements, which are briefly summarised below. PS1 – This is a Producer Statement certifying the balustrade design. It is the most common type and is supplied by UNEXs via our online “EziSpec” Producer Statement Wizard, accessible to both Specifiers and our Authorised Fabricators. PS2 – Design Review Producer Statement - this is a review of the PS1 by another independent company. These are available from UNEX upon request. PS3 – Installation Producer Statement - supplied by our Authorised Fabricators physically installing the balustrade to certify it has been installed according to our specifications. PS4 – Installation Review Producer Statement - a review of both the PS3 supplied and the installed balustrade by another independent company. This type of producer statement is very uncommon.
UNEX designs and manufactures the balustrade systems. UNEX balustrades are only distributed and supplied by through a nationwide network of experienced UNEX Authorised Fabricators who have been trained on how to properly quote and install our balustrade systems. It is important to UNEX that the balustrades are installed as per the specifications and are fully compliant with the New Zealand Building Code. You can purchase UNEX balustrade systems from an Authorised Fabricator in your area. Contact the UNEX Customer Services team, who will put you in touch with your local Authorised Fabricators.
The information that is required to provide a balustrade quote includes but isn’t limited to the following; Style of balustrade Layout of the deck (including the deck edge dimensions) and the number of balustrade metres required Details on the substrate that the balustrade is to be attached to (e.g. top or side fixed to Concrete, Dry Timber, Steel, etc.) Type of building, e.g. residential house, pool fence, commercial, etc. Height of balustrade Windspeed Finish and Colour – powder coated or anodised Location of job Due to the number of factors that influence the price of a balustrade, they need to be quoted on a job-by-job basis. Please contact UNEX or your local Authorised Fabricator for a more accurate proposal.
A frameless glass style requires a much thicker glass that a framed style and this is impacts significantly on the cost. For example, a framed glass style typically uses 6-8mm thick glass and a frameless channel system uses 12-15mm thick glass.
In order to provide you with suitable balustrade options, it's important to know where the balustrade will be installed. Common scenarios include decks, stairways, pool fencing, and barrier fencing/retaining walls. For decks, considerations such as having a view and the deck's significance in the overall home design are crucial. Glass panels are recommended to maintain a clear view, while unframed glass panel balustrades add style to the deck. Our balustrade systems are designed to function as stair barriers, allowing you to achieve the desired look for your stairs. Options range from post and rail/glass or frameless glass balustrades to custom-designed handrails. UNEX balustrades have a rich history of installation in numerous residential and commercial projects spanning four decades.

Please Note: Some PS1 specifications are currently being updated and are not available for download.

Please contact us for assistance at tech@unex.co.nz.

Download Producer Statement WSME Test

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  • *Note: If an Auckland AC2343 glazing form is required, please email us.