Glass Regulation Governing Buildings and Homes in Australia
Glass being a beautiful and effective but brittle and dangerous commodity, there rightly is stringent regulations governing the use of glass in buildings and homes in Australia.
The government of Australia and the building industry have set up a set of high standards for glass usage in buildings and homes. Each Standard deals with a certain types of glass used in specific areas of the building or home and for specific purposes. Absolute adherence to these standards is essential for the safety and protection of people.
Australian Glass Regulation Standard AS 1288-2006 – Dealing with Glass usage in Buildings
This standard covers use of window films and tiled glass in buildings. The standard specifies the type of glass that may be used and the areas in which they may be used. This section of Australian glass regulation standard also covers such specifications as strength of overhead glass, balustrade glass, wind loads on glass and human physical impact on glass amongst other things.
It ensures that wherever there is a possibility of humans coming in contact with glass, it will not shatter easily but when it does, it will break in a safe manner (commonly known as safety glass). Safety glass could be toughened, tempered, laminated, organic coated (annealed glass with safety film) etc. Such glasses are commonly used in glass doors, shop window fronts, low level windows, balustrades, glass partitions, glass used in schools, bathrooms, aged care centres etc.
Any glass that is used in areas covered by this Standard or meets specifications mentioned in this standard needs to be permanently labelled as safety glass and additionally, the glass installer or fabricator needs to provide the customer with a AS2208 compliance sticker. This sticker needs to be pasted on to a corner of the pane and visible permanently. Additionally, you may also be asked for a separate certificate.
AS1288 (Clause 6.6 of AS 1428.1) deals with glass visibility. The purpose is to ensure that glass is not so transparent that people walk into it. Adherence to this is ensured by placing a semi-transparent film strip across the glass. Such strips can also contain business logos or other decoration. Clause 5.19 of AS1288 covers this in detail. Similarly section AS1428.1 deals with glass used in sections of the building or home meant for people with disabilities. These requirements differ in relation to requirements for other sections of the building.
Australian Glass Regulation Standard AS 1288 and AS/NZS 2208:1996 - Glass Glazing
This section of Australian glass regulation standard covers the selection of glazed glass. It specifies the minimal properties such glass must have and covers toughened glass, wired glass, laminated glass, organic coated glass and plastic glass. The properties cover human physical impact tolerances, ageing performance and weathering.
Australian Glass Regulation Standard AS/NZS 1170.2:2002
Australia has its fare share of storms and heat waves. Glass used in buildings and homes must offer some protection when faced with fierce winds or intense heat. AS/NZS 1170.2 deals with cyclonic winds and minimal safety standards required of glasses used in buildings and homes.
Calculating Energy Efficiency for Glass - BCA, BASIX Requirements
The Building Code of Australia which covers all construction requirements from a garage to a skyscraper also covers minimum standards for energy efficiency in commercial establishments and residential homes.
Windows and window films play an important role in maintaining energy efficiency. This is because solar control window films form a major component of any energy saving. Window films can reduce your cooling as well as heating bills.
Calculation of the thermal efficiency of any structure takes into account energy efficiency of materials used as well as the finished product such as walls, floor, roof, structural shape, location and window materials.
The BCA and BASIX have a set of standards pertaining to thermal efficiency calculation methods. The results of such calculation help derive the “U-value” and the SHGC. Always know these values before selecting glass or glazing glass or applying any films to glass.