A glass and glazing safety standard is changing, but what does it mean for the industry?

A glass and glazing safety standard is changing, but what does it mean for the industry?

Featured Article
06 Feb 2019

As Featured in GGP Magazine - 04/18

Phil Brown, European regulatory marketing manager at Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, part of the NSG Group, discusses the revision of BS 6262, a key document for the glass and glazing industry, and what implications it might have for manufacturers, fabricators, installers and designers.

A combination of Building Regulations and British Standards outline the requirements for glazing in critical locations. One of the two relevant British Standards, BS 6262, is currently going through a major revision and the changes will need to be understood by everyone from manufacturers to building designers.

BS 6262 is laid out in seven parts, and the publication of Part 4 of the revised standard is imminent. This element outlines the requirements for safety related to glazing and the risk of human impact. 

The revision of this part could entail significant changes for the industry, largely because of the fundamental role it plays in protecting health and safety.

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BS 6262 consists of the following parts:
• Part 1: General methodology for the selection of glazing;
• Part 2: Code of practice for energy, light and sound;
• Part 3: Code of practice for fire, security and wind loading;
• Part 4: Code of practice for safety related to human impact;
• Part 5: Code of practice for frame design considerations;
• Part 6: Code of practice for special applications; and
• Part 7: Code of practice for the provision of information.

Helping to reduce risk of human impact

Part 4 is often cited in project specifications, and gives safety recommendations for the use of glass and plastics in critical locations likely to be subject to accidental human impact, like doors or side panels in busy areas high risk areas. The recommendations are intended to reduce injuries, including the risk of cuts from broken glass. It defines a critical location as part of a door, wall or other part of a building most likely to be subject to accidental human impact.

The 2018 updates to this part will now give recommendations for the type of glazing sheet material (either plastics or glass) that can be used in sloping overhead glazing. 

The revision covers inwardly sloping glazing, where the glazing might be subjected to inadvertent head impact. Sloping glazing is defined in the standard as any glazing between horizontal and 15° of true vertical. 

This design could be found in bathing areas, where the glazing is adjacent to or surrounding private or public swimming pools. It could also include other areas where the planned activity generates a certain risk, like in gyms for example where people are active and moving around. 

Specifying to comply with the revised Part 4

During the specification process, there are additional considerations for sloping glazing. The type of glass selected should be one that is unlikely to fall from its fixings if broken or shattered, and only fall from a limited height and in limited quantity. This could lead to an increase in laminated and toughened types of safety glass, which Pilkington offers.

Pilkington Optilam™ is a laminated safety glass produced by combining two or more sheets of glass with one or more plastic interlayers. The most common of which is a polyvinylbutyral (PVB) interlayer which, in the event of a breakage holds the broken pieces together. 

Meanwhile, Pilkington Optifloat™ Clear T toughened safety glass has increased strength. In the event of breakage, it tends to break into small and relatively harmless fragments to minimise the risk of injury.

To demonstrate compliance, safety glass should be clearly and indelibly marked with information including the name or trademark of the manufacturer, merchant or installer, the EN reference for the product standard and the impact safety classification in accordance with BS EN 12600.

Mirror glazing in these specifications should also be made of safety glass 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 (toughened or laminated mirror) and the new Pilkington Optimirror™ Protect Plus (a safety performance mirror without toughening) – which are due to be launched in Spring.

Keep your eyes peeled

As the BS 6262 series is going through a major revision, it is important for everyone in the industry to be aware of these changes as each remaining Part is updated and published. The Pilkington team are happy to help with any questions or queries you might have about these changes.