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Low bannisters - long way down! Any solutions?

(27 Posts)
Theironfistofarkus Sun 16-Feb-14 07:33:14

We're buying an older house with a beautiful old bannister and a balcony on the landing. But the bannister/balcony is 90cm high and there's a long drop down. I have 3 young DC one of whom is a climber and am worried about it. I have seen guards to stop children going through bannisters but nothing to stop them leaning/falling over. We could take them out and start again but that would be very sad as they are beautiful so i am trying to find a cost effective solution. Any ideas?

wonkylegs Sun 16-Feb-14 09:25:03

90cm isn't a low bannister, it's the minimum required to be safe under building regs and is the standard height used in many builds.
You will find that the majority of manufacturers use 900mm as their standard range (see Richard Burbidge )
I've got a climber and we've never had a problem with him and the bannister (climbing the outside of the stairs now he's old enough to know better, yes, bannister when he was little, no angry)
If you extend the bannister by adding an additional rail make sure all gaps are less than 10cm, to avoid getting a small head stuck. I'm not a fan of doing this as I believe it actually makes them easier to climb as horizontal bars give purchase and encourage climbing.

InsertUsernameHere Sun 16-Feb-14 11:58:39

wonky makes a good point about climb-ability. If the height meets current regs (ours didn't but is being raised as part of a refit), focus on making them harder to climb - nothing that could act as a step up toys, laundry, general house detritious and use baby gates to restrict unsupervised time up there. Like wonky I had a climber but he never tackled the banister. Be cautious about anything that obscures the view of the drop, the view helps encourage them not to climb.

Theironfistofarkus Sun 16-Feb-14 13:12:46

Thanks both. I wondered whether I might be slightly paranoid - it is just such a long way down when you look over the balcony - if you fell that would be it! Insert - what does raising them involve and is it expensive?

InsertUsernameHere Sun 16-Feb-14 14:28:02

In our current place the bannister at the top had been taken out so we are having a reproduction made - but to current building regs. No idea of cost sorry - it's part of a much bigger job. The size of the job will depend on the style of the bannister. Ours has newel posts at each corner Iyswim, so the bannister at the landing can be changed independently of the rest of the stair. A single sweeping bannister would be trickier. Also think about how high you want it? How high would it need to be for you to feel content?? As I mentioned before that lurch you get when you see the drop is probably the thing that is most helpful. Your DC will get it too.

Theironfistofarkus Sun 16-Feb-14 19:26:27

I spoke to a safety guy who suggested we should be going for 1.5 m to meet current standards but sounds like he was wrong. That was what i had in mind though. Probably me being paranoid but you know how it is when you get anxious about something - you just need to put your mind at rest somehow.

Minorchristmascrisis Sun 16-Feb-14 19:29:54

Is the bannister straight? Is it just the landing you are worried about? Maybe you could get one if those long baby gates (the ones that turn into a playpen or can be used straight across a room) and just fix it in front of the bannister as a temporary measure until the doc are a little older.

Minorchristmascrisis Sun 16-Feb-14 19:31:33

Something like this?www.kiddicare.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/productdisplay0_10751_-1_76247_10001?_$ja=tsid:49662&cm_mmc=googlemerchantcenter-_-nmppla-_-NULL-_-NULL&gclid=CIi6kpSx0bwCFfLHtAoddngAbA&gclsrc=aw.ds

Minorchristmascrisis Sun 16-Feb-14 19:33:23

You can get ones for pets I think that are a bit taller

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 16-Feb-14 19:38:29

Could you add something like this above the existing banister/ using the banister to tie the ropes until they're all older?

InsertUsernameHere Sun 16-Feb-14 20:22:14

1.5 metres is nearly 5ft and seems really high basically as tall as me but I wouldn't want to disagree with someone in RL who has seen it. Is this an internal bannister in a house? Or something a bit different so different regs apply?

Your local council might have a safety officer who can help you out. Be really careful that you don't inadvertently make it more dangerous with strangulation risks, or making something that looks appealing to climb. I must confess the mention of rope makes me feel a bit nervous, and remember the dangers of blind cords!

shushpenfold Sun 16-Feb-14 20:24:34

I'm fairly certain that building regs say 1100mm, not 900mm. That's damn low and frankly many adults could tip up over 900mm. I would be getting advice and having an additional handrail above it (and in that way you can keep the bannisters)

wonkylegs Sun 16-Feb-14 20:26:05

OP I don't know who you talked to but frankly they are talking rubbish.
I am an architect and I can assure you the only time I've installed 1.5m high balustrade is in a dementia care home terrace to stop adults who actively climb. Then we use a glass barrier.
Between 900mm & 1100mm is the requirement in the building regulations however 900mm is standard in most homes.
I think you are worrying yourself about something that is standard.

shushpenfold Sun 16-Feb-14 20:29:50

Forget that......WE aim for 1100mm (tall, daft, teenagers use our buildings) but the regs say between 900mm and 1000mm. I would be adding another handrail if necessary.

Liara Sun 16-Feb-14 20:30:13

I'm fairly sure that my bannister and balcony rail is 90cm and I have never had a problem with my dc climbing over it.

But I'll double check the height.

150cm would look utterly hideous in an internal staircase - like a cage.

Liara Sun 16-Feb-14 21:03:13

I'm fairly sure that my bannister and balcony rail is 90cm and I have never had a problem with my dc climbing over it.

But I'll double check the height.

150cm would look utterly hideous in an internal staircase - like a cage.

Liara Sun 16-Feb-14 21:03:15

I'm fairly sure that my bannister and balcony rail is 90cm and I have never had a problem with my dc climbing over it.

But I'll double check the height.

150cm would look utterly hideous in an internal staircase - like a cage.

Liara Sun 16-Feb-14 21:03:21

I'm fairly sure that my bannister and balcony rail is 90cm and I have never had a problem with my dc climbing over it.

But I'll double check the height.

150cm would look utterly hideous in an internal staircase - like a cage.

Liara Sun 16-Feb-14 21:03:26

I'm fairly sure that my bannister and balcony rail is 90cm and I have never had a problem with my dc climbing over it.

But I'll double check the height.

150cm would look utterly hideous in an internal staircase - like a cage.

Liara Sun 16-Feb-14 21:03:36

not sure what happened there....

HanSolo Sun 16-Feb-14 21:10:24

1.5 m??? shock

I am 1.5m high! grin

Theironfistofarkus Sun 16-Feb-14 21:17:11

It is an internal staircase so nothing unusual about it except I guess that it goes up to a converted loft which is a third floor and if you fell from there you would land in the hall. Gives me vertigo just approaching it and I don't suffer particularly from vertigo. Thanks for the ideas so far. I wonder whether a sheet of Perspex tied on to the landing somehow might help too?

shushpenfold Mon 17-Feb-14 09:09:00

Hi OP. You can have all sorts of things retrofitted onto banisters such as tensile steel bars above or, as you suggest, perspex which then can go higher than the 900mm. The only thing I would strongly advise against though is the DIY idea. Don't tie perspex as you then have the added joy of your own DIY going wrong. Get an expert.

Theironfistofarkus Mon 17-Feb-14 12:50:32

Thanks Shush. Would you suggest a carpenter or a builder?

lljkk Mon 17-Feb-14 13:50:22

150cm is no problem for some climbing toddlers, anyway.

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