Your Quality Guarantee

Alpha Rail is certified by DAS Certification for ISO 9001 and 14001. This means the processes we use in the manufacture of our products are assessed by an external third party body for compliance to the highest standards. We are also members of Constructionline which is the UK’s register of pre-qualified local and national construction contractors and CHAS (Contractors Health & Safety Assessment Scheme) accredited.

Contact Us For More Information

When to rake and when to step metal railings and pedestrian guardrail

When to rake and when to step metal railings and pedestrian guardrail

The quality of the final appearance of a project very much relies on the gradient of any slope present within the area that metal railings and pedestrian guardrail will be installed. This is the primary factor to consider when making the decision regarding when to rake and when to step metal railings and pedestrian guardrail installations.

It is a rare occasion when the ground in to which metal railings or pedestrian guardrail will be installed is absolutely level. This inevitably means that in order to achieve the required visual symmetry, measuring the gradient of the grounds is vital.

Whether the project has specified decorative metal railings to be installed around the perimeter of a housing estate or public park, or pedestrian guardrail for the pathways of a busy highway or crossing point, wherever the ground is not level, a site survey will be required to measure the gradient.

This assessment can be completed by the site engineer on the project and measurements supplied to the metal railings manufacturer, or quite often, Alpha Rail will send its specialist site survey team to visit the site to carry out its own survey. This ensures the railings fit perfectly and the installation process runs smoothly.

To measure the gradient, and help make the decision between raking and stepping, we use a total station measuring device. Most total station instruments measure angles by means of electro-optical scanning of extremely precise digital bar-codes etched on rotating glass cylinders or discs within the instrument. With this analysis we are then best able to determine how to install the railings with a raked or stepped approach.

Raked Railings

The option to rake railings means that the railings will slope downwards (or upwards!) in line with the gradient, whilst also trying to keep the distance between the bottom railing and the ground level equal – this is the best visual option.


galvanized and powder coated mild steel decorative railings which are complaint to BS 1722 Part 9.

Example: Raked Churchill Railings


Stepped Railings

Stepped railings usually use standard width panels, which follow the gradient so that in the end the railings look like a flight of stairs in shape, decreasing in height as you move further down the slope. This method means there will be gaps (often triangular in shape), and, depending on their size, may allow animals to escape or enter underneath. They also create a slightly less uniform and consistent look, because the bottoms of the panels don’t follow the slope of the land.

If stepped railings are chosen, there could be significant differences in the levels of the top horizontals depending on the degree of slope.


Example: Stepped Flat Top Railings

Example: Stepped Flat Top Railings


We have created the drawing below to give guidance on when to rake or step. If you have a project that requires metal railings, gates or pedestrian guardrail and would like advice, a site survey or quotation please get in touch.





Latest News

Various metalwork products to be installed on AELTC Raynes Park project

Various types of architectural metalwork is to be installed at the privately owned AELTC site in Raynes Park, London

Posted in Gates Read Article

New value found in parks and greenspace during COVID-19 lockdown

During times of uncertainty with COVID-19 changing the way we do things; we can now see the importance of our parks more than ever. Parks and green spaces give us the opportunity to get out of the house while still remaining safe, being able to maintain social distancing and stay within all guidelines.

Posted in General News Read Article

Installation of bespoke metal archway and railings at Hatters’ Garden, Atherstone

Back in February you may have seen our article on Hatters’ Garden, formerly known as Meadow Street Gardens. The redevelopment project aims to transform the […]

Posted in Archways Read Article