Are there rules governing the minimum height of parapets?
There is only one answer to this precise question: we have a national reference standard that is represented by the Ministerial Decree – Ministry of Public Works 14 June, 1989, no 236 ”Technical prescriptions necessary to guarantee the accessibility, adaptability and visitability of private buildings and subsidized and facilitated public housing, in order to overcome and eliminate architectural barriers”.
It applies to all buildings (public and private) built both after and before the coming into force of the law and the decree provides for both the definition of height and the minimum height to be respected:
1. Height is the ”distance measured vertically from the upper edge of the element limiting the view (coping, lower crossbeam, frame, handrail or railing, if any) to the walk-on surface” (Art. 8.0.1).
2. With respect to balconies and terraces, it is again specified in art. 8 that ”the parapet must have a minimum height of 100 cm and must be able to be crossed by a 10 cm diameter sphere” (art. 8.1.8).
In addition, parapets must be built or rebuilt in a material suitable for their function, i.e. to protect people from falls.
But besides this, we must also take into account the provisions of the various national laws, if they are more restrictive.
Furthermore, between any point of the handrail and any barriers or obstacles there must be a free space of 100 mm and the ends of the handrail must not have sharp edges (to avoid the risk of cuts) or edges where clothing could get caught.
So as we have seen, in order to comply with regulations, the railings of our balcony must have a minimum height of 110 mm, but how can we quickly solve the problem in the event of our balcony not being up to standard?
We at Coprimuro.net have created and patented a railing kit, easy to assemble, inexpensive and certified by the Giordano Institute.