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  • Regulations for Glass Usage in Australian Buildings

    Balustrade Regulations in Australia

    Modern day construction sees the extensive use of glass. Indeed glass is an effective material to highlight the beauty of the structure, although it is brittle and therefore dangerous. As a result, the Australian government along with the building industry has put in place stringent standards for the use of glass in buildings and homes.

    The Building Code of Australia (BCA) has set up a number of strict standards for the use of glass in buildings and homes. Each of these regulations deals with a particular type of glass to be used at certain areas and fulfils a certain purpose. Builders are expected to strictly adhere to these standards in order to ensure the safety and protection of human life.

    Australian Glass Regulation Standard AS 1288-2006 – Glass Usage

    This rule deals with the use of glass in buildings in Australia. It specifically deals with the use of tiled glass and window films while also covering such other aspects like the strength of balustrade glass and overhead glass. This standard also specifies the strength of the glass to withstand wind loads and human impact.

    The glass regulation standard ensures the glass does not shatter easily with human impact. Even when it does shatter, it does so in a safe manner without posing risk to humans. This kind of glass is known as safety glass; it may be toughened, or tempered or laminated or organic coated so as to ensure safety. Safety glass is mostly used for lower level windows, glass doors, shop fronts, glass partitions, balustrades, bathrooms as well as old age homes and schools.

    Glass used in areas covered specifically by this standard must be labelled as safety glass. In addition, the person installing the glass structure must provide the customer with the AS 2208 compliance sticker. This sticker must be prominently displayed on a corner of the glass pane. The installer might also be asked to provide a separate certificate for compliance with the standard.

    AS1288 (Clause 6.6 of AS 1428.1) covers glass visibility. The glass structure must not be so transparent that people fail to notice and walk into it. For this purpose, installers are required to place a semi-transparent strip of film across the glass pane. The strip could be decorative or contain business logos or designs. Clause 5.19 of AS 1288 deals with this aspect in detail. Section AS 1428.1of the Australian Glass Regulation Standard has a separate set of rules for glass used in areas meant for disabled persons.

    Australian Glass Regulation Standard AS 1288 and AS/NZS 2208:1996 - Glass Glazing

    This section deals with the use of glazed glass and the properties such glass must have. It covers all types of glass including laminated glass, toughened glass, plastic glass wired glass and organic coated glass, etc. Human impact tolerances, weathering and ageing performance are some of the aspects covered under this rule.

    Australian Glass Regulation Standard AS/NZS 1170.2:2002

    The Australian climate is prone to heat waves and cyclonic storms. Glass used in buildings and homes must be able to withstand these forces of nature and offer protection to humans from strong winds and intense heat or cold. The AS/NZS 1170.2 covers safety standards required of glass used in buildings to deal with cyclonic winds.

    BCA, BASIX Requirements for Energy Efficiency of Glass

    All construction requirements are governed by the Building Code of Australia, as also the energy efficiency standards in residential homes and commercial establishments. Windows and window films play a major role in maintaining the energy efficiency in a building. Solar control window films help reduce your heating and cooling bills thus promoting energy efficiency in your building.

    The material used in your building structure will impact its thermal efficiency. Calculation of the thermal efficiency of the building will consider the material used while also taking into account the finished products like walls, flooring, shape of the structure, roof and location.

    Methods of calculating thermal efficiency follow the BCA and the BASIX sets of standards. These calculations help to obtain the SHGC and the “U-value”. It is essential to know these values prior to selecting the glass or applying film to glass or glazing the glass.

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