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Mitigating the Risk of Spontaneous Glass Breakage

Increased use of glazing in buildings, including glass balustrades, and the potential for Spontaneous Glass Breakage (SGB) were behind the 2016 changes in the NZS 4223:3:2016 Glazing in Buildings Standards. These changes mean that new structural glass barriers complying with B1/AS1 will need to have an interlinking rail, unless the barrier is constructed of laminated safety glass and has features to retain panes of glass or prevent collapse in the event of breakage.

These updated requirements apply only to new builds and are not enforced retrospectively to existing infrastructure. However, building owners and managers have a duty of care so far as is reasonably practicable, to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved with or affected by work on or at their property. Accidents related to unsafe glass barriers led to the 2016 review of the Building Code.

GlassProtech provides robust installation services for safety window film and attachment systems to minimise risk to building users from the potential damage caused by SGB.

As part of a major refurbishment project of the Smales Farm Office Complex in Auckland, GlassProtech were approached to provide a retrofit solution to secure the existing glass balustrades in the atrium. The glass panes covered five levels of air-bridges connecting two different parts of the building and were already secured by external railings. The purpose of adding the additional level of safety using GlassProtech’s Safety Window Film & Attachment Systems was to prevent glass fragments from falling from the balconies/guardrails in the event of breakage.

The solution was to apply Hanita 100 micron Safety Film (with a Tensile Strength at Break of > 2000kgf/cm² and a Peel Strength of 0.79 Newton Meters) onto both interior and exterior faces of the balustrades.

By implementing the Glassprotech retrofit solution, the customer was able to mitigate the risks associated with spontaneous glass breakage and provide the extra level of duty of care expected from this large public space, without incurring the substantial cost and disruption of glazing replacement.

GlassProtech can also provide solutions for existing frameless balustrades that will comply with the safety Glazing in Buildings Standard NZS 4223:3:2016.

View more information on Glassprotech, including contact details.
February 2019 EBOSSNOW Case Studies
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