Featured Articles

Featured Article

Top tips how installers can comply with glass safety requirements

06 Feb 2019

As Featured in PRO INSTALLER Magazine - 08/18

Phil Brown, European regulatory marketing manager at Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, part of the NSG Group, offers his top tips to help installers navigate the key safety regulations.

The safety requirements for glazing in critical locations are outlined in a combination of Building Regulations and British Standards. For example, the relevant section of the Building Regulations in England is Requirement K4 covering protection against impact with glazing. 

Although not specifically referenced in Approved Document K, BS 6262-4 is often cited in glass specifications, both for domestic and commercial projects. This recently-revised BS 6262-4, code of practice lays out which types of glazing can be used in which different settings throughout a building in order to safeguard occupants’ safety.

Specifiers of glazing systems for buildings normally have responsibility for ensuring that products comply, but as an installer it’s worth being familiar with the requirements so you can be sure the right glass is being used in the right place.

Here are my top tips for installers when it comes to ensuring compliance with the rules:

Understand the risks

BS 6262-4, gives safety recommendations for the use of glass and plastics in critical locations likely to be subject to accidental human impact, such as doors, door side panels or low level glazing in general.
The recommendations are intended to reduce injuries, including the risk of cuts from broken glass. Glazing in doors and door side panels wholly or partly within 1500mm from floor level shall be minimum Class 3 to BS EN 12600 for pendulum body impact resistance; if the smaller dimension of the pane is greater than 900mm, it shall be minimum Class 2 to BS EN 12600. Away from doors, glazing which is wholly or partly within 800mm of the floor level shall be minimum Class 3.

Be aware of sloping and overhead glazing

In the new edition, recommendations have been introduced for the type of glazing that can be used in sloping and horizontal overhead glazing. 

Restrictions are placed on the use of monolithic toughened glass overhead, dependent upon thickness, pane size and height from ground floor level.

Familiarise yourself with safety glass products

Safety glass is commonly available in two forms, either laminated or toughened. For the most heavy-duty applications, a glazing product may be a combination of both processes. At Pilkington, we offer two key ranges of safety glass, as follows.

Pilkington Optilam™ is a laminated safety glass produced by combining two or more sheets of glass with one or more polyvinylbutyral (PVB) interlayer. In the event of a breakage, the broken pieces are held together by the interlayer and, dependent upon thickness, achieve up to Class 1 (B) 1 when tested to BS EN 12600. 

Pilkington Optifloat™ Clear T toughened safety glass has increased strength over ordinary annealed glass. In the event of breakage, it tends to break into small and relatively harmless fragments to minimise the risk of injury. It can achieve up to Class 1 (C) 1 to BS EN 12600.

Check the markings

To demonstrate compliance, each pane of safety glass should be clearly and indelibly marked with key information about the regulations it complies with.

The details that need to be included are the name or trademark of the manufacturer, merchant or installer (to help traceability), the EN reference for the product standard and the impact safety classification in accordance with BS EN 12600. If the glass is intended for safety only, then just the first digit of the classification is necessary. 

If you are due to install a glass in a critical location and it does not carry a safety mark, please question this with the supplier. If it does not have the mark, it may not be a safety glass.

Know the rules for mirrors

Mirror glazing at low levels should also meet the safety requirements, unless the pane is fully backed by a solid material, for example a wall or wardrobe door, and is securely fixed to it so that there is no more than 25 mm between the glazing and the backing material.

Where safety glass is required, there are a number of mirror glazing options available, such as Pilkington Optimirror™ Protect (safety-backed mirror), Pilkington Mirropane™ Chrome (which can be toughened or laminated) and Pilkington Optimirror™ Protect Plus, set for launch later this year.

Stay up to date

The entire BS 6262 series is currently going through a major revision, with Parts 1, 4 and 7 already published. The full revised set is expected to be published in 2019 and installers are advised to become familiar with the changes as they appear.
The Pilkington team is happy to help with any questions or queries you might have about these changes as they are released.