Harry Nickou from specialist balustrade builder Bayside Balustrades was engaged by the Hancock family to design a custom wire balustrade that spanned floor to ceiling through four floors.
The client’s brief sought a wire balustrade with an aesthetically stunning finish; the staircase and balustrade also needed to meet all safety regulations.
"This was a custom project requiring a lot of attention to detail. The ceiling did not have any structural beams above the stair area to fix into so we opted to fix into a steel handrail system on the top floor," Nickou explained.
"To achieve the adequate tensioning on the wire to meet the engineer’s requirements, we used tensioner systems at both termination points of the wire," he added.
There were several challenges during the execution of this custom balustrade project. The continuous level change of the stair treads required each individual vertical wire strand to be measured, cut and swaged onsite. Each individual wire section had to be one continuous piece, with some sections stretching up to 11.5 metres in height.
Bayside Balustrades used two methods to maintain the tension and prevent spreading of the wire strands. Utilising the middle floor landings and the staircase stringer, they installed Screw Eyes and fed the wire strands through the eyelet to prevent the wires from moving.
Next, they installed Net Clips onto vertical wires and fed a second wire horizontally. A sturdy brace was created by tightening the Net Clips, giving adequate tensions to the wires to meet regulation requirements. For the stair section, the net clip braces were staggered to match the riser height. On the flat landing sections of the balustrade, the Net Clip horizontal sections were installed at handrail height, giving the illusion of a fine wire handrail system.
At the top of the staircase the wires were fitted to a custom-made square handrail with drilled and tapped threads on the underside, into which the wire and ProRig Swage Studs were screwed. The wires at the bottom finished into Screw Eyes with Hex Head Tensions.