Safe railings and parapets

Create safe railings and parapets


Railings and parapets are essential elements to ensure usability and safety of a place in the presence of unevenness.


Once the safety function has been fulfilled, these, however, can also have a fort aesthetic value, characterizing the interiors or the external facades on which they are applied.

Parapets and railings regulations in force


Relating to the design there is not one of railings and parapets legislation unique and specific on this topic and actually lacks some clarity about it.

However, there are several regulations that also address this topic.
We obviously speak of permanent parapets within living and working spaces.

First of all, the most recent D.M. 17/01/2018, the Technical Regulations for Construction 2018, recalling those of 2008, report that the railing height cannot be less than 1,10 m and that the parapets must be calculated considering a horizontal action of 1.5 kN / m applied to the handrail for bridges.

The railings must be designed, in fact, in such a way as to support any weight, so the same design and construction must be carried out assuming a presumed load.

General rules for railings


Generally the fall protection must be taken into consideration for a difference in height of 1 m. In reality, up to a height of 1.5 m we can also use plants, but in addition, railings must necessarily be built.

If we are at great heights, the parapet must be made even higher than necessary to counteract any dizziness. Finally, if we are faced with parapets in masonry or in any case full, with a width of at least 20 cm, their height cannot be less than 90 cm.

The Ministerial Decree 236 of 06/14/1989


The DM n.236 of 1989, relating to the technical requirements for the elimination of architectural barriers, states that the height of the handrail must not be less than 90 cm. Furthermore, the balcony railing height towards the void must have a minimum height of 1.00 m and be uncrossable by a sphere with a diameter of 10 cm.


Fontanot stainless steel railing detail

The same DM, in art. 8.1.8, balconies and terraces claims that:

The parapet must have a minimum height of 100 cm


Again, regarding the stair railing height:

The parapet that constitutes the defense against the void must have a minimum height of 1.00 m … If it is advisable to provide a second handrail, this must be placed at a height of 0.75 m.


The parapet height goes misurata vertically from the upper edge of the handrails to the walking surface.

Standard SIA 358 railings and parapets


There are also other technical standards approved by SIA, the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects.

In particular, for railings and parapets the BE 358, which in the absence of certain standards can guide the design of safe railings and parapets.

Railing materials


There are several parapets and railings for both exteriors and interiors.
A first solution is to implement them in masonry, thus managing to combine three needs: that of safety, that of aesthetic value and the privacy.

Parapet in masonry in a seaside resort - Pinterest
A parapet, in fact, also protects us from prying eyes. This type is seen in the houses by the sea for example, covered with lime with a very cheerful and lively blinding white effect.

White concrete balustrade by TuscanarteWhite concrete balustrade by Tuscanarte

Alternatively, there is also the balustrade in white concrete with ground marble, like those of Tuscanarte particularly suitable for villas and homes with a classic style.

Wood railing


A material always used for the construction of parapets is wood.

We find it widely used in mountain homes since rustic style and timeless, but also in homes made in green building with a more contemporary look.

An example are the balconies made by Leeb, available in various versions, with excellent stability and durability, as well as a high aesthetic quality.

Classic balustrade in Ausberg wood from LeebClassic balustrade in Ausberg wood from Leeb

There is the collection Classic wood which can also simulate the white concrete balustrades mentioned earlier in the model Augsburg.

Semmering wooden parapet by LeebSemmering wooden parapet by Leeb

Alternatively, there is always a classic shape Semmering with classic and country elements combined with the simple lines of minimalism.

Parapet Sevilla of Leeb in woodParapet Sevilla of Leeb in wood

Sevilla, on the other hand, it is suitable for modern spaces that require design lines.

Iron railing


Another widely used material traditionally for railings and parapets is ferro, with which it is possible to create more classic or more modern elements according to the chosen design.

Iron railing for a modern environment - PinterestIron railing for a modern environment – Pinterest

In fact, you can start from simple verticals and horizontals, thus obtaining a modern iron railing if left simple.

Conversely, if you add to these elements rosoni or other decorations, the same iron railing can be transformed into a model for classic spaces.

Iron railing with classic design - PinterestIron railing with classic design – Pinterest

Thanks to the iron you can also make drawings very artistic as in this case.

Stainless steel railing


Other types are the railing aluminum and that in stainless steel.

There are those completely in stainless steel, made with uprights and handrails in stainless steel and cables or pipes always in steel to connect the uprights.

Fontanot INOX20WIRE stainless steel railingFontanot INOX20WIRE stainless steel railing

An example is the railing INOX20WIRE of Fontanot Spa, entirely made of stainless steel with a satin finish, with round section posts connected by 5 parallel tubes. The handrail can also be made of wood.

Glass and steel railings


A final alternative that I propose is to make the balcony parapet with the glass.

It is obviously a special glass, made to guarantee safety and resistance, as well as a priceless aesthetic value.

Qube steel and glass balustrades by RintalQube steel and glass balustrades by Rintal

An example are the steel and glass balustrades of Rintal, Qube, with cubic shapes, particularly suitable for modern architecture thanks to its line of great aesthetic impact. In this case the uprights are connected by horizontal glass panels of variable thickness from 8 to 12.76 mm.

Glass In glass railings by FontanotGlass In glass railings by Fontanot

The railings Glass In of Fontanot instead they are made entirely of glass, with an essential and elegant line. The glass is laminated and heat treated to make it strong and safe.

Types of railings for internal stairs


For the internal stairs the fall protection can be achieved with the same systems we have seen above, but also with completely original solutions, as long as they are equally safe.

Fontanot painted steel railingFontanot painted steel railing

Also in this case we can have the use of steel, as in this scale Railing 030A, of Fontanot, made of painted steel and wooden handrail, with circular section elements.

Steel 120 railing by Fontanot in steelSteel 120 railing by Fontanot in steel

Alternatively, there is also Steel 120, with rectangular section elements.

090-090A Fontanot railing in glass090-090A Fontanot railing in glass

Also for internal stairs you can have solutions of glass railings, come Railing 090-090A, always of Fontanot, with clear or extra-clear laminated glass panels, with polished edges, fixed laterally with stainless steel rotules.

Steel cables and ropes for internal stairs


The last type proposed for fall protection on stairs is the one made with steel cables which are fixed above and below, floor-floor or stair-ceiling, with an adequate pitch, so that the space between each cable and the next one is always safe.

Parapet with steel cables by Forniture ZambonParapet with steel cables by Forniture Zambon

An example is this made by Zambon supplies which realizes both solutions with cables and vertical cables and those in which the cables are arranged horizontally to connect steel uprights.


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