Title:
BALUSTRADING
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A kit of parts for assembly into a balustrade (1), the kit comprising rails (3), baluster brackets (6), posts (2), connectors (5) for connecting the posts (2) to the rails (3) and rail-to-rail connectors (8) for connecting two rails (3A, 3B) in a parallel and spaced apart relationship. The baluster brackets (6) and/or the rails (3) are shaped so as to ensure that each bracket (6) is engagable with a rail (3) in a desired configuration. There is further disclosed a balustrade incorporating one or more of the above parts and a method of installing a balustrade (1) on a substrate (5).



Inventors:
Jones, Anthony (Oswestry, GB)
Hughes, Paul (Powys, GB)
Application Number:
12/280421
Publication Date:
07/23/2009
Filing Date:
02/23/2007
Assignee:
RICHARD BURBIDGE LIMITED (Oswestry, GB)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
256/59, 256/65.01, 256/65.03, 256/65.15
International Classes:
E04F11/18; E04H17/00; E04H17/14
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080210918MODULAR PERIMETER ELECTRONIC SECURITY SYSTEMSeptember, 2008Gilmour et al.
20070228349Portable privacy fence incorporating ground secured posts, each including a mesh unwinding section and a succeeding supporting sectionOctober, 2007Smith
20050098770Retractable safety net barricadeMay, 2005Schell
20090032791High Impact Resistant Barrier/FenceFebruary, 2009Saura Sotillos
20040155233Small craft hand rail assemblyAugust, 2004Clift
20050263749Fence skirtDecember, 2005Ballard
20060102883Pultruded composite guardrailMay, 2006Troutman et al.
20080035904Ribbed postFebruary, 2008Jones
20080135820Winged SlatJune, 2008Hoggan
20060226408Elevation panelOctober, 2006Huizingh
20010052595Reflective fencing with light elementsDecember, 2001Hulett



Primary Examiner:
KENNEDY, JOSHUA T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CAESAR RIVISE, PC (Philadelphia, PA, US)
Claims:
1. A kit of parts for a balustrade assembly, the kit comprising; A length of rail; One or more baluster brackets; A post; and A connector for connecting the post to the rail; wherein the baluster brackets and the rail are complimentarily shaped thereby to engage and retain the bracket and the rail in a desired configuration for subsequently securing a baluster to the bracket, the post and connector being complimentarily shaped thereby to engage the post and the connector such that upon engagement therebetween relative horizontal motion is restricted.

2. A kit according to claim 1, further comprising a second length of rail and a rail-to-rail connector for connecting the first and second lengths of rail in a substantially parallel and spaced apart relationship, the rail-to-rail connector having a portion shaped to engage one rail and a second portion shaped to engage the second rail, wherein one or both of the first and second portions of the connector are shaped to prevent relative rotation or pivotal motion between the connector and the rail.

3. 3-37. (canceled)

38. A kit according to claim 1, wherein the rail comprises a rebate.

39. A kit according to claim 38, wherein the rebate extends along the entire length of the rail.

40. A kit according to claim 1, wherein one or both of the bracket or rail comprise an abutment to reduce, and preferably prevent, relative pivotal motion between the rail and the bracket inserted therein.

41. A kit according to claim 1, wherein the post comprises a plurality of shaped portions, for example two, three or four.

42. A kit according to claim 1, wherein the shaped portions are equidistantly spaced around the perimeter of the post.

43. A kit according to claim 1, wherein the post comprises at least one rebate and the first portion of the connector comprises a complimentary shaped extension.

44. A kit according to claim 43, wherein the, one or each post rebate describes a major segment of a circle in cross section.

45. A kit according to claim 1, wherein the connector comprises securing means operable to secure the connector to the post.

46. A kit according to claim 45, wherein said securing means comprises at least one expansion fitting arranged to be expandable and contractable.

47. A kit according to claim 46, wherein the connector is securable to the post with the expansion fitting in one of a relatively expanded or contract condition.

48. A kit according to claim 1, comprising one or more balusters or panels.

49. A kit of parts for a balustrade assembly, the kit comprising a length of rail and one or more baluster brackets, the or each baluster bracket comprising an elongate first portion, the elongate first portion and a portion of the rail being complimentarily shaped thereby to engage and retain the elongate first portion along its length to ensure correct orientation of the bracket relative to the rail for subsequently securing a baluster to the bracket, the or each bracket having a second portion to which a baluster or panel is securable.

50. A kit according to claim 49, wherein the first portion of the bracket comprises one or more securing means.

51. A kit according to claim 49, wherein said securing means comprises one or more expansion fittings arranged to be expandable and/or contractable.

52. A kit according to claim 49, wherein the bracket is securable to the rail with said securing means in one of a relatively expanded or relatively contracted condition.

53. A kit according to claim 49, wherein one or both of the rail portion and first portion of the bracket are shaped to prevent relative pivoting movement therebetween when engaged.

54. A kit according to claim 49, wherein the rail comprises a rebate.

55. A kit according to claim 54, wherein the rebate extends along the entire length of the rail.

56. A kit of parts for a balustrade assembly, the kit comprising a length of rail and one or more baluster brackets, the rail having a portion shaped to engage a first portion of the or each baluster bracket to ensure correct orientation of the bracket in use, the first portion comprising securing means including an expansion fitting, the or each bracket having a second extension portion to which a baluster or panel is securable.

57. A kit according to claim 56, wherein the bracket is securable to the rail with said securing means in one of a relatively expanded or relatively contracted condition.

58. A kit according to claim 56, wherein said securing means are operable to prevent or restrict relative movement of the bracket in a direction along the rail.

59. A kit of parts for a balustrade assembly, the kit comprising a newel post and a post-to-rail connector, the post having a portion which is complimentarily shaped with a first portion of the connector thereby to engage the post and the connector whereby, in use and when engaged, relative horizontal motion therebetween is restricted but pivotal motion therebetween is permitted, the connector having a second portion for connection to a rail.

60. A kit according to claim 59, wherein one or both of the post and connector comprise an abutment arranged to limit the amount of relative pivotal motion.

61. A kit according to claim 60, wherein the abutment is operable to limit the degree of relative pivotal motion to describe an angle of less than 90°, preferably from to 80°, more preferably 10 to 70° and most preferably 40 to 60°, say 52°.

62. A kit according to claim 59, wherein the post comprises a plurality of shaped portions, for example two, three or four.

63. A kit according to claim 62, wherein the shaped portions are equidistantly spaced around the perimeter of the post.

64. A kit of parts for a balustrade assembly, the kit comprising a first rail, a second rail and a rail-to-rail connector for connecting the first and second rails in a substantially parallel and spaced apart relationship, the rail-to-rail connector having a portion shaped to engage one rail and a second portion shaped to engage the second rail, wherein one or both of the first and second portions of the connector are shaped to prevent relative rotation or pivotal motion between the connector and the rail.

65. A kit according to claim 64, wherein the first and/or second part of the connector comprises a male part for engagement in a rebate located in one or other of the rails.

66. A newel post for a balustrade, the post comprising an elongate section having one or more elongate shaped portions extending along at least a part of the length thereof for engagement with a connector.

67. A post according to claim 66, wherein each shaped portion is a rebate.

68. A post according to claim 67, comprising a plurality of rebates, preferably equidistantly spaced.

69. A connector to interconnect an upright post to a horizontal rail, the connector comprising a first portion engageable with a correspondingly shaped portion of a post and a second portion engageable with a correspondingly shaped portion of a rail, wherein the second portion is shaped to prevent or at least restrict relative pivotal motion between the second portion and the rail.

70. A rail for a balustrade, the rail comprising an elongate section having one or more elongate rebated portions extending along at least part of the length thereof, for engagement with a connector, wherein the or each rebated portion is arcuate in shape.

71. A baluster bracket for a balustrade, the bracket comprising a first portion for engagement with a rail and a second portion for engagement with a baluster, the first portion comprising an elongate male part for engagement with a corresponding rebate in a rail.

72. A baluster bracket for a balustrade, the bracket comprising a first portion for engagement with a rail and a second portion for engagement with a baluster, the first portion comprising a male part for engagement with a corresponding rebate in a rail, the male part comprising one or more expansion fittings arranged to be expandable and/or contractable for securing the bracket to the rail.

73. A rail to rail connector for connecting two rails of a balustrade in a substantially parallel and spaced apart relationship, the connector comprising a first portion shaped for engaging a first rail and a second portion shaped for engaging a second rail, wherein one or both of the first and second parts are shaped to prevent relative rotational or pivotal motion between the connector and a rail, in use, engaged therewith.

74. A kit of parts for a balustrading for outdoor use, the kit comprising one or more of the post of claim 31, the connector of claim 34, the rail of claim 35, the bracket of claim 36 or 37 and the rail-to-rail connector of claim 38.

75. A balustrade for outdoor use formed from a kit according to claim 1.

76. A method of installing a balustrade, the method comprising using one or more of the post of claim 31, the connector of claim 34, the rail of claim 35, the bracket of claim 36 or 37 and the rail to rail connector of claim 38 to form a balustrade.

Description:

This invention relates to balustrading, in particular although not exclusively to balustrading for outdoor use.

It is known to provide a balustrade around a deck or other area in an outdoor location. Typically these balustrades are formed, at least in part from wood and may comprise wooden newel posts, rails and balusters. In order to erect such a balustrade it is necessary to have a degree of carpentry and/or building skill. The posts must be installed correctly, the components must be cut accurately and joined together securely to provide a balustrade which is both fit for purpose and has aesthetic qualities e.g. the rails are horizontal, the posts are vertical and so on).

Therefore, there is a need to provide a balustrade system which is easy to install and which, even when installed by the relatively unskilled D-I-Y enthusiast, has the necessary structural and aesthetic qualities.

Accordingly, a first aspect of the invention provides a kit of parts for a balustrade assembly, the kit comprising a length of rail and one or more baluster brackets, the or each baluster bracket comprising an elongate first portion, the elongate first portion and a portion of the rail being complimentarily shaped thereby to engage and retain the elongate first portion along its length to ensure correct orientation, such as a predetermined orientation, of the bracket relative to the rail for subsequently securing a baluster to the bracket, the or each bracket having a second extension portion to which a baluster or panel is securable.

The rail portion and first portion of the bracket are preferably shaped to prevent relative pivoting movement therebetween when engaged.

The rail may comprise a rebate, which rebate may extend along the entire length of the rail. Alternatively a plurality of rebates may be provided therein, each extending partway along the rail.

The first portion of the bracket may comprise one or more securing means, for example, expansion fittings arranged to be expandable and/or contractable.

A second aspect of the invention provides a kit of parts for a balustrade assembly, the kit comprising a length of rail and one or more baluster brackets, the rail having a portion shaped to engage a first portion of the or each baluster bracket to ensure correct orientation of the bracket in use, the first portion comprising securing means including an expansion fitting arranged to be expandable and/or contractable, the or each bracket having a second extension portion to which a baluster or panel is securable

Preferably, the bracket is securable to the rail with said securing means, e.g the expansion fitting, in one of a relatively expanded or relatively contracted condition.

In an embodiment where the rail comprises a rebate, the bracket may be securable to the rail with the expansion fitting located in the rebate and by urging the fitting to a relatively expanded condition. In which case the bracket or rail, or both may comprise an abutment to reduce, and preferably prevent, relative pivotal motion between the rail and the bracket inserted therein. The first portion may comprise a male part, for example having a substantially cylindrical periphery. Optionally, the first portion may comprise a periphery which is substantially cylindrical or of some other shape, which may be formed by interconnected discs, core portions and/or reinforcing ribs.

Preferably, the securing means is provided by two or more segments of the first portion which are separatable, thereby to provide the expansion fitting. More preferably, the segments are formed by a split end of the first portion, thereby providing two facing parts. The facing parts may include opposed rebates, for example arcuate rebates forming part of a circle, arranged to receive an expansion member, for example a screw. The rebates may be tapered to provide a means for controlling the quantum of separation and/or expansion of the expansion member.

The expansion member may comprise a member which frictionally engages the facing parts and/or a member which is secured in place by alternative means such as a bayonet or other suitable securing means.

Alternatively, the bracket may engage an outer surface or extension of the rail and may be secured thereto by securing means, e.g. an expansion fitting in a relatively contracted condition. For example, the fitting may comprise clamping means. The clamping means may comprise opposed concave surfaces whose separation is adjustable, for example c-shaped members secured together by a threaded members, whereby the threaded members allow for adjustment of the clamping means. In such an arrangement one edge of each member may be pivotably secured together, the threaded member adjustably connecting the other edges together.

The securing means may be operable to prevent or restrict relative movement of the bracket in a direction along the rail.

A third aspect of the invention provides a kit of parts for a balustrade assembly, the kit comprising a newel post and a post-to-rail connector, the post having a portion which is complimentarily shaped with a first portion of the connector thereby to engage the post and the connector whereby, in use, horizontal relative motion is restricted but pivotal motion is permitted, the connector having a second portion for connection to a rail.

The post portion and connector first portion are preferably shaped to permit relative pivotal motion therebetween. Preferably one or both of the post and connector comprise an abutment arranged to limit the amount of relative pivotal motion. The degree of relative pivotal motion is preferably limited to describe an angle of less than 90°, preferably from to 80°, more preferably 10 to 70° and most preferably 40 to 60°, say 52°.

In one embodiment the post comprises a rebate and the first portion of the connector comprises a complimentary shaped extension. In one embodiment the rebate describes a major segment of a circle in cross section.

The post may comprise a plurality of shaped portions, for example two, three or four. Preferably the shaped portions are equidistantly spaced around the perimeter of the post.

In a preferred embodiment the post is substantially circular in cross-section and has four shaped portions, for example rebates, which are distributed at 90° angles around the circumference of the post.

The shaped position may be a protrusion to engage the connector.

The connector may comprise securing means, for example an expansion fitting arranged to be expandable and contractable. Preferably the connector is securable to the post with the expansion fitting in one of a relatively expanded or contracted condition.

Where the shaped portion of the post is a rebate the first portion of the connector may be a male part, for example having a periphery which is substantially cylindrical or some other elongate form. At least part of the male part may comprise an expansion fitting to secure, upon expansion, the connector to the post.

Preferably, the securing means is provided by two or more segments of the male part which are separatable, thereby to provide the expansion fitting. More preferably, the segments are formed by a split end of the male part, thereby providing two facing parts. The facing parts may include opposed rebates, for example arcuate rebates forming part of a circle, arranged to receive an expansion member, for example a screw. The rebates may be tapered to provide a means for controlling the quantum of separation and/or expansion of the expansion member.

The expansion member may comprise a member which frictionally engages the facing parts and/or a member which is secured in place by alternative means such as a bayonet or other suitable securing means.

Alternatively, the connector may engage an outer surface or extension of the post and may be secured thereto by securing means, e.g. an expansion fitting in a relatively contracted condition. For example, the fitting may comprise clamping means. The clamping means may comprise opposed concave surfaces whose separation is adjustable, for example c-shaped members secured together by a threaded members, whereby the threaded members allow for adjustment of the clamping means. In such an arrangement one edge of each member may be pivotably secured together, the threaded member adjustably connecting the other edges together.

The extension portion of the connector may comprise a male or female part to engage an end of a rail. Preferably the extension portion is shaped so as to prevent relative rotation of a rail when engaged therewith.

A fourth aspect of the invention provides a kit of parts for a balustrade assembly, the kit comprising a first rail, a second rail and a rail-to-rail connector for connecting the first and second rails in a substantially parallel and spaced apart relationship, the rail-to-rail connector having a first portion shaped to engage one rail and a second portion shaped to engage the second rail, wherein one or both of the first and second portions of the connector are shaped to prevent relative rotation or pivotal motion between the connector and the rail.

Preferably the first and/or second portion of the connector comprises male part for engagement in a rebate located in one or both rails. More preferably, the male part is complimentarily shaped with the rebate.

The cross-section of the first and/or second portion may substantially match the cross-sectional shape of a rail to be inserted therein or thereon. For example, the first and/or second portion may be substantially in the form of at least part of a circle. The first portion may comprise a hollow, substantially cylindrical member and/or the second part may comprise a portion of a hollow, substantially cylindrical member.

The male part may include a projection on an internal surface of the first and/or second portion. The male part may comprise an arcuate cross-section, for example having a crescent shape to provide two arms.

A further aspect of the invention provides a newel post for a balustrade, the post comprising an elongate section having one or more elongate shaped portions extending along at least a part of the length thereof for engagement with a connector.

Preferably the or each shaped portion is a rebate. The rebate may comprise a cross-section substantially in the shape of the major segment of a circle. Alternatively, the rebate may be of any suitable shape, for example elliptical, diamond shaped and so on.

Additionally or alternatively, the rebate may provide a pair of opposed lips, for example to engage a portion of a connector.

The post may comprise a plurality of rebates, preferably equidistantly spaced. The post may be formed as an extruded length, for example of plastics, such as a thermoset resin, or of metal, for example aluminium or a metal alloy.

A further aspect of the invention provides a connector to interconnect an upright post to a horizontal rail, the connector comprising a first portion engageable with a correspondingly shaped portion of a post and a second portion engageable with a correspondingly shaped portion of a rail, wherein the second portion is shaped to prevent or at least restrict relative pivotal motion between the second portion and the rail.

The first portion may comprise an expansion fitting operable to expand and/or contract whereby the first portion may be secured releasably or permanently to a post.

The connector may comprise an abutment to limit or restrict pivotal motion of the connector when engaged with the post.

The second portion may comprise a male or female part for engaging an end of a rail.

A further aspect of the invention provides a rail for a balustrade, the rail comprising an elongate section having one or more elongate rebated portions extending along at least part of the length thereof, for engagement with a connector, wherein the or each rebated portion is arcuate in shape, for example describing a major segment of a circle.

A yet further aspect of the invention provides a hollow rail for a balustrade, the rail comprising an elongate section having one or more elongate rebated portions extending along at least part of the length thereof, for engagement with and retention of a connector, wherein the or each rebated portion is formed by a depression in the wall of the rail.

Preferably the rail is an extruded or pultruded length of plastics, e.g. thermoset resin, or an extruded length of metal, e.g. aluminium.

The rail preferably has the cross-sectioned shape of a crescent. Preferably the distance across the opening of the or each rebated portion is less than the maximum transverse dimension of the rebated portion.

There is further provided, in a further aspect of the invention, a baluster bracket for a balustrade, the bracket comprising a first portion for engagement with a rail and a second portion for engagement with a baluster, the first portion comprising an elongate male part for engagement with a corresponding rebate in a rail.

Preferably the first portion comprises an expansion fitting operable to expand or contract to secure the bracket to a rail.

A further aspect of the invention provides a baluster bracket for a balustrade, the bracket comprising a first portion for engagement with a rail and a second portion for engagement with a baluster, the first portion comprising a male part for engagement with a corresponding rebate in a rail, the male part comprising one or more expansion fittings arranged to be expandable and/or contractable for securing the bracket to the rail.

The bracket may further comprise an abutment to prevent or restrict relative pivotal motion between a rail and the bracket engaged, in use, therewith.

The bracket may be substantially symmetrical.

Preferably, the bracket comprises a marking to indicate a direction of filling.

The bracket may be a moulded plastics one piece member.

A yet further aspect of the invention provides a rail to rail connector for connecting two rails of a balustrade in a substantially parallel and spaced apart relationship, the connector comprising a first portion for shaped for engaging a first rail and a second portion shaped for engaging a second rail, wherein one or both of the first and second parts are shaped to prevent relative rotational or pivotal motion between the connector and a rail, in use, engaged therewith.

Preferably the first part comprises a protrusion shaped for engagement with a corresponding shaped rebate of a rail.

Preferably the protrusion extends into a curved part shaped to at least partially surround at least part of a rail. Preferably the curved part defines a circular aperture.

The connector may be cast or formed from an extruded or pultruded material, for example thermoset resin or aluminium or a metal alloy.

The two parts of the connector may be found by an intervening part, the intervening part preferably being shaped such that, in use, the principal axis of the two rails connected to the connector, are laterally and/or vertically displaced.

Further aspects of the invention relates to kits of parts comprising two or more of the above-identified components.

The or each kit may comprise one or more balusters or panels.

Further aspects of the invention relate to methods of fabrication of a balustrade and to balustrades made from one or more of the above-identified components.

In order that the invention may be more fully understood, it will now be described by way of example only and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is an embodiment of a balustrade according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a newel post according to this invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a base member according to the invention connected to the base of the newel post of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the newel post of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a plan view of the base member of FIG. 3;

FIGS. 6A and 6B are perspective views of a post cap for use with the invention;

FIGS. 7A and 7B are perspective views of a base cover for use with the invention;

FIGS. 8A and 8B are perspective views of a post to rail connector of the invention;

FIG. 9 is a sectional view of a rail of the invention;

FIGS. 10A and 10B are perspective views of a baluster bracket of the invention;

FIG. 10C is a front elevation of the bracket of FIG. 10A;

FIG. 10D is a side elevation of the bracket of FIG. 10A;

FIGS. 11A and 11B are, respectively, a perspective view and an end elevations of a rail to rail connector of the invention;

FIGS. 12A and 12B are perspective views of the connector of FIG. 11A joined to a length of rail;

FIG. 13 is a sealing strip for use in the invention; and

FIG. 14 shows variants of filling panels for the balustrade of the invention.

Turning to FIG. 1, there is shown a balustrade 1 according to the invention supported on a substrate S. The balustrade 1 comprises a pair of spaced apart newel posts 2 connected by a pair of vertically displaced rails 3 including one upper rail 3A and one lower rail 3B between which rails 3 are a plurality of balusters 4.

The rails 3 are connected to the posts 2 by connectors 5 and the balusters 4 are connected to the rails 3 by baluster brackets 6. A handrail 7 is connected to the upper rail 3A in a substantially parallel and spaced apart relationship by three rail to rail connectors 8 equally spaced along the upper rail 3A.

The individual components of the balustrade 1 will now be described.

Referring to FIGS. 2, 3 and 4 there is shown the newel post 2 which is elongate and of substantially circular, hollow cross-section. Each newel post 2 is formed as a one piece extrusion 20 having four equi-spaced and inwardly extending longitudinal rebates 21. Each rebate 21 has a cross section which is substantially in the form of a major segment of a circle, an opening 22 being defined by the free edges of the segment. The edges of each rebate 21 is integrally formed with the circular outer portion of the hollow cross-section to form a pair of lips 23. The distance between the lips 23 is smaller than the maximum transverse distance of the rebate 21, thereby to hold captive, in use, a correspondingly-shaped article located within the rebate 21.

FIGS. 2, 3 and 5 show a base member 24 for securing the post 2 to the substrate S. The member 24 is in the form of an annulus 25 having internally-directed radial projections 26 which are equi-spaced about the inner periphery of the ring 25. Each radial projection 26 describes a major segment of a circle in cross-section to form a pair of curved arms 26A, 26B. The annulus 25 is sized so as to encompass the post 2 with a projection 26 retained in each of the rebates 21 of the post 2. The annulus 25 also carries four equi-spaced outwardly directed radial lugs 27 which are 45° out of phase with respect to the projections 26. Each lug 27 has a through hole 28 for attachment of the base member 24 to the substrate S.

FIGS. 6A and 6B show an injection moulded polypropylene post cap member 200 which is provided with four depending equi-spaced legs 201 located marginally inward from the peripheral edge of the cap member 200. Each leg 201 has a crescent shaped cross section, with its concave side facing outwardly, and has an aperture 202 formed through its thickness.

FIGS. 7A and 7B shows an injection moulded polypropylene newel base cover 203 comprising a curved shell 204 which decreases in diameter from its base 205 to its uppermost surface 206. Four equi-spaced stiffening ribs 207A having a T-shaped cross section project inwardly from the internal surface of the shell 204. The uppermost surface 206 has a substantially circular aperture 206A formed therein into which four equi-spaced radial projections 207B extend, which projections 207B are positioned in alignment with the stiffening ribs 207B. Two of the projections 207B each terminate in an upstanding arcuate wall 208 which is provided with an aperture 209.

Turning to FIGS. 8A and 8B there is shown a die case metal connector 5 which has a first elongate substantially circular part 51 and a second substantially circular part 52, the two parts 51, 52 having principal axes which are orthogonal to one another.

The first part 51 has a circular barrel 511 which at a first end 512 is sub divided into two halves 513, 514, the inner surface of each half 513, 514 carrying threads thereonsuch that a grub screw or other fitting (not shown) may be retained, thereby to provide an expandable fitting.

Screwing the grub screw or other fitting into the barrel 511 causes the two halves 513, 514 to separate from one another. If the halves 513, 514 are not threaded a fitting may be otherwise forced therein to cause expansion of the halves 513, 514.

The second end 515 of the barrel 511 has an arcuate wall 516 upstanding therefrom, the wall 516 having an aperture 517 formed therein.

A bridging wall 53 projects radially from the circumferential surface of the barrel 511 and extends substantially along its length. The bridging wall 53 is connected to a circular plate 54, the wall 53 extending diametrically across the plate 54. The plate 54 has, on its opposite side, a peripheral lip 55 defining a rebated portion 56 from which the second part 52 extends.

The second part 52 is a hollow member having a substantially crescent shaped cross-section to define a longitudinal rebate 521 and a wall 522. Three longitudinal apertures 523 extend approximately half of the length of the second part 52 from the free end thereof towards the plate 54.

FIG. 9 shows a sectional view of the length of rail 3. The rail 3 is a length of extruded metal, alloy or plastics of hollow form which describes a crescent shape to provide a longitudinal rebate 31. The rebate 31 is substantially in the form a major segment of a circle, an opening 32 being defined by the free edges of the segment. The edges of the rebates 21 are integrally formed with the circular outer portion of the hollow cross-section to form a pair of facing lips 33. The distance between the lips 33 is smaller than the maximum transverse distance of the rebate 31, thereby to hold captive, in use, a correspondingly-shaped article located within the rebate 21

FIGS. 10A to 10D show an injection moulded baluster bracket 6 having a first part 61 and a second part 62, which extends at a right angle to a principal axis of the first part 61.

The first part 61 is elongate and has a substantially cylindrical periphery which is interrupted and includes reinforcement ribs. Each end of the first part 61 is split into first 611 and second 612 facing parts, each facing part 611, 612 having a substantially semi-cylindrical periphery which is interrupted with reinforcement ribs. Each of the facing parts 611, 612 terminates in a wall 613A, 613B which defines part of a segment of a circle, the two walls 613A, 613B defining a major part of a segment of a circle in concert. In the region of the walls 613A, 613B the facing parts 611, 612 have opposing arcuate rebates 614A, 614B which together provide part of a circular aperture in which a grub screw (not shown) may be retained, thereby to provide an expandable fitting.

Screwing the grub screw into the hole formed by the rebates 614A, 614B causes the facing parts 611, 612 to separate from one another.

A bridging wall 615 projects from the first part 61 and extends along a portion of its length. A pair of outwardly directed wings 63 extend from either side of the bridging wall 615, which wings 63 have a transverse dimension substantially the same as the diameter of the first portion 61. The underside of each of the wings 63 curves to a point of joining to the second part 62.

The second part 62 includes an elongate tab 622 in the form of a substantially flat plate with a rounded end. The tab 622 includes, at its lower end, an elliptical aperture 623 through its thickness.

FIGS. 11A and 11B show a rail-to-rail connector 8 which, as shown, has a lowermost part 81, a central section 82 and an uppermost part 83.

The lowermost part 81 is in the form of a circular wall into which a radial projection 812 extends. The projection 812 describes a major segment of a circle in cross-section to form a pair of curved arms 813. A through hole 814 extends through the circular wall 811 for receiving fastening means, for example screws (not shown), for securing the bracket 8 to a rail. The lowermost part 81 is integrally formed with the central section 82, which extends upwardly therefrom.

The central section 82 includes a pair of curved facing walls 821, 822, which join the lowermost part 81 to the uppermost part 83, and a pair of strut members 823 extending between the facing walls 821, 822 at an angle. The curved facing walls 821, 822 converge slightly from the lowermost 81 to uppermost parts 82.

The upper part 83 is integrally formed with the curved facing walls 821, 822 of the central section 82. The upper part 83 has a curved wall 831 with a pair of apertures 832 formed through its thickness and marginally spaced from its free edge. The curved wall 831 extends from the outermost facing wall 822 and across the upper edge of the innermost facing wall 821 so as to provide a support surface which is horizontally and vertically displaced with respect to the lower part 81.

FIGS. 12A and 12B illustrate a handrail 7 of circular form secured to the upper part 83 by screws 71 which extend through the apertures 832 and are fastened into the handrail 7.

FIG. 13 shows an elongate extruded silicone infill strip 9 having an arcuate cross section with a concave inner surface 91, a convex outer surface 92 and a rebate 93 at each end. The rebates 93 are arcuate in shape and sized to cooperate with the lips 23, 33 of the post 2 and the rail 3.

FIG. 14 shows a baluster 4 having two baluster brackets secured thereto and also illustrates two alternative infill components which may replace the balusters 4 of FIG. 1. The first alternative shown includes a slatted panel 4A to which are secured six baluster brackets 6. The second alternative shown includes an extruded or cast acrylic or glass panel 4B to which are secured six baluster brackets 6.

In order to install the balustrade 1 of the current invention the following procedure is one example of how this may be carried out.

Generally, if the balustrade 1 is to be used with a deck as a substrate S, the deck foundation (not shown) is first installed.

Typically, the position of the newel posts 2 will be established before fixing deckboards (not shown). In one embodiment of the invention, the maximum achievable span between centres of newel posts 2 is 1904 mm or, if using a single panel arrangement (e.g. 4B of FIG. 14), 1004 mm.

For every newel post 2 position, a joist (not shown) is usually located on the edge (not shown) and fixed to the joists of the deck (not shown).

Using a template (not shown), the positions of the posts 2 are preferably marked and the centres are drilled to the top of the deckboards.

Pilot holes (not shown) are then drilled through the deckboards (not shown) and to the edge-on joist (not shown) beneath. A base 24 is installed on the deck S using screws (not shown), for example coach screws, to extend through the holes 28 in the lugs 27 and a post 2 is inserted therein such that the projections 26 extend into the rebates 21. The engagement of the projections 26 with the rebates 21 ensures that the post 2 is not able to rotate relative to the fixed base 24.

The newel post base covers 203 are inserted over the posts 2 so that they are flush with the top of the deck S. The cover 203 is fixed to the newel posts by drilling pilot holes (not shown) through the aperture 209 of the cover 203 and into the post 2 and using self tapping screws (not shown). It will be appreciated that radial projections 207B each extend into one of the rebates 21 of the post 2 such that the two opposing upstanding walls 208 lie adjacent the wall of the rebate 21 of the post 2. The engagement of the radial projections 207B with the rebates 21 ensures that the cover 203 is located accurately over the base 24.

The upper rails 3A and lower rails 3B are then cut to length.

A bead of silicone sealant is then applied to the rebated portion 56 of each of a plurality of connectors 5, the second part 52 of which is then inserted into one end of each lower rail 3B by aligning the rebate 521 of the second part 52 with the rebate 31 of the lower rail 3B. Each connector 5 is then screwed to its respective lower rail 3B using self tapping screws (not shown). The end of the lower rail 3B engages or abuts the rebated portion 56 such that the lip 55 overlies the end of the lower rail 3B while the silicone sealant ensures a sealed connection. The engagement of the rail rebate 31 with the connector rebate 521 ensures accurate and pre-determined registration of the components.

After the number of baluster brackets 6 required has been calculated, the requisite number can be inserted on to each of the aforementioned lower rails 3B.

The first part 61 of each baluster bracket 6 is slid into the lower rail 3B making sure that a notch mark (not shown) on the brackets 6 all face in the same direction.

A bead of silicone sealant is applied to the rebated portion 56 of a further plurality of connectors 5, which are then fitted into the other end of each of the aforementioned lower rails 3B in a similar manner to that described above.

Using timber or other packers (not shown) to define the desired height above the deck and with the notches (not shown) of the brackets 6 all facing outwards away from the deck, each assembly 3B, 5, 6 is slid between the posts 2 such that the first part 51 of each connector 5 is located within a rebate 21 of the post 2 until it rests on the timber packers (not shown).

A grub screw is then inserted in the barrel 511 to force the halves 513, 514 apart to secure the barrel 511 within the rebate 21. A hole can be drilled through the aperture 517 and into the post 2 if required using a self tapping screw in order to further secure the two components together.

The same operation is carried out at the other end of the lower rails 3B.

As will be appreciated the same operation is carried out for the top rail 3A except that, in addition, the rail-to-rail connectors 8 are also located over the upper rail 3A. After the space between each baluster 4 and the space between each rail-to-rail connector 8 is established, the order in which the components 4, 8 must be inserted may then be determined.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, it can be seen that one baluster bracket 6 must first be inserted into the rail, after which a rail-to-rail connector 8 is located thereon, then a further five baluster brackets 6 followed by a rail-to-rail connector 8, a further five baluster bracket 6 followed by a rail-to-rail connector 8 and a final baluster bracket 6.

The rail-to-rail connector 8 is located over the upper rail 3A such that the circular wall 811 encompasses the rail 3A and the projection 812 is retained within the rebate 31. The engagement of the projection 812 with the rebate 31 prevents relative rotation between the two components 3A, 8 and ensures accurate and pre-determined registration thereof.

As described above in relation to the lower rails 3B, the top rail 3A is then located in place using timber battens (not shown) and secured to the posts 2 using grub screws (not shown) and self-tapping screws (not shown) extending through apertures 517.

The baluster brackets 6 are placed at appropriate points, for example using a spacer or template, along the top 3A and bottom 3B rails 3 and secured thereto by screwing the grub screws (not shown) into the circular apertures formed by the rebates 614A, 614B in the facing parts 611, 612. As previously mentioned, screwing the grub screws (not shown) causes the two walls 613A, B to be forced apart from one another thereby to engage the walls of the rebate 31.

The wings 63 abut and overlie the lips 33 of the rebate 31 of the rail 3 to prevent relative rotational movement between the bracket 6 and the rail 3. This ensures that the brackets 6 are accurately registered and that they always depend, or extend, perpendicularly from the principal axis of the rail 3, as the case may be.

Balusters 4 are then connected to the baluster brackets 6 using appropriate fixing means, for example screws (not shown), fastened to the balusters 4 through the holes 623 of the baluster brackets 6.

A cap 200 is then preferably inserted into the free upper end of each of the newel posts 2 such that each of the legs 201 are located within one of the rebates 21. Screws (not shown) are then fastened to the newel posts 2 through the holes 202 in the legs 201.

The distance between the lips 33 of the rail 3 and between the lips 23 of the post 2 are substantially the same in the embodiment described herein. Lengths of silicone strip 9 are cut and are inserted into the exposed parts of the rebates 31, 31 of the post 2 and rail 3 such that the rebates 93 of the infill strip 9 engage the lips 23, 33 of the posts 2 and rails 3. Thus, the posts 2 and rails 3 appear to be shaped as uninterrupted cylindrical members, which provides an improved aesthetic appearance.

A handrail 7 is then secured to the upper part 83 by screws 71 which extend through the holes 832 and are fastened into the handrail 7, as shown in FIGS. 12A and 12B.

Successive sections of balustrade 1 can be installed in a similar fashion. The posts 2 have four rebates 21 to accommodate changes in direction, Moreover, the first part 51 of the connector 5 is free to rotate through an angle of 52° when located within the rebate 21 of the post 2, thereby allowing, for example, 45′ turns to be accommodated. A plurality of connectors 5 can be retained within a single rebate 21 of the post 2.

The invention is not limited to the embodiments as shown. For example, other engaging means may be used, the connectors and/or brackets may comprise male parts.

Whilst the connector 5 and baluster bracket 6 in the embodiment described above include elongate engaging members 51, 61 which are substantially cylindrical along their length, albeit interrupted with reinforcement ribs in the case of the baluster bracket 6, it should be appreciated that the brackets may simply include portions thereof. For example, the central portion of the elongate member 61 of the baluster bracket 6 may be omitted, wherein the ends 611, 612 are integrally formed with the mid section 615. The terms elongate member, elongate part and elongate portion should be construed accordingly.

The components may be made from other materials from those listed.

The post may have any number of rebates 21. The, one or each rebate need not extend then entire length of the post 2. The post 2 and base 24 may be formed as two parts and connected together, such as by welding, for supply as a single component. Alternatively, the post and base may be formed as a unitary component.

The fittings used to secure the connector to the post and/or the bracket to the rail may be resiliently urged, they may comprise friction fittings or snap fittings. The connector and/or bracket may be introduced to the rebate in the post and/or rail, or engaged with other portion, in a direction which is not along the principal axis of post and/or rail. Alternatively, the connector and/or bracket may comprise a securing means which includes an expansion fitting arranged to be contractable to engage the post and/or rail.

Moreover, whilst the expansion fittings 513, 514, 613a, 614a, 613b, 614b of the connector 5 and baluster bracket 6 designs described above are configured to receive grub screws therein to effect the expansion thereof, several alternatives are envisaged. For instance, the threaded surfaces may be replaced by substantially smooth or roughened surfaces to frictionally engage a member to be inserted therein. Additionally or alternatively, a tapered shaft with a bayonet type engaging means is envisaged without departing from the scope of the invention.

The rail may comprise, or have secured thereto, means to restrict pivotal movement of a baluster bracket secured thereto, in addition or as an alternative to those of the bracket. Such means may be attached to the bracket if not formed or joined therewith.