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Making sure you have safety glass

The Department of Building and Housing is reminding building officials of the importance of verifying that safety glass is used in areas where it is required.

Summarised from Codewords 42, June 2010, Department of Building and Housing.

Safety glass reduces the likelihood of cutting or piercing injuries resulting from human impact with the glass. For this reason safety glass is commonly used to meet the requirements of Building Code Clause F2 Hazardous Building Materials. Building consent applicants who use Acceptable Solution F2/AS1 to show compliance with Building Code Clause F2 are required to use safety glass in certain building locations, such as doors, balustrades, and bathrooms. Therefore, when inspecting building work building officials should satisfy themselves that safety glass has been used.

How to check that glass is safety glass

NZS 4223 Part 3:1999 Glazing in buildings – Human impact safety requirements (which is incorporated by reference into Acceptable Solution F2/AS1) requires all safety glass to be permanently marked. This is to ensure installers, owners, and building officials can check that the glass being installed is safety glass.

Each panel must be marked with:

  • the name, registered trademark, or code of the manufacturer or supplier
  • the type of safety glazing material (for example, T for toughened glass)
  • the Standard to which the material has been tested, such as AS/NZS 2208
  • the classification for impact test behaviour (for example, A for Grade A).

Additional markings may be required by the particular testing Standard or certifier, such as a licence number.

The marking (see example above) is normally found in the bottom left corner viewed from the outside corner of the panel. Marking on thick glass can be on the edge of the glass, but should be legible after installation. Removable labels of any kind are not suitable for the purposes of permanent marking.

Example of compliant safety glass marking

If there is any reason to be concerned about the reliability of a safety glass marking, further enquiries may be appropriate. For example, it may be appropriate to contact the manufacturer, talk to the person who installed the glass or even check the glass register provided by the Window Association of New Zealand (WANZ). However, please note that the WANZ register is voluntary and therefore is not a complete list of all manufacturers of safety glass.

What if glass does not have permanent markings?

The department encourages those involved in the supply, installation, and inspection of glazing products to verify that safety glazing material is used when required to meet the requirements of a building consent.

If glass is used in situations where safety glass is required, and it is not permanently marked with appropriate compliance information, then some other form of proof that it is safety glass is required. This could include statistical sampling and testing information, product certification, and evidence of appropriate quality assurance systems being in place to ensure that the glass being produced and supplied consistently meets the requirements of NZS 4223.3:1999 for safety glazing materials.