Don’t omit safety marks

Phil Brown, European regulatory marketing manager at Pilkington UK, looks at the importance of safety marks and explains why glass processors should avoid omitting them, even if requested by request by a client. 

We’ve recently heard of instances where clients of glass processors have asked for the safety mark to be removed, despite regulatory requirements that safety glass intended for use in critical locations should be stamped.

As well as meeting regulatory obligations, safety marks on glass reassure building owners and occupants that injury will be minimised in the event of glass breakage through accident or intrusion.

If no mark is present, it is often difficult to distinguish between safety glass and non-safety glass. This is dangerous as non-safety glass can break into large harmful pieces if shattered, once installed. 

The mark’s importance should not be understated. There have even been cases where building inspectors have insisted on the replacement of unmarked glass or, at least, requested a safety mark to be applied post-installation. This can be a costly exercise for the sake of removing an unobtrusive mark, initially.

The requirements for marking safety glass are included in BS 6262-4, the British Standard code of practice for safety related to human impact for glazing in buildings. According to Section 7 of this standard, the glass needs to be permanently marked so it is clearly visible after installation. For some projects, the glass processor may agree a specific, and perhaps more discreet, location with a client to avoid disputes.

The mark needs to identify the manufacturer, merchant or installer with their name or trade mark. Reference to the relevant product standard should also be included, for example BS EN 14449 for laminated safety glass and BS EN 12150 for thermally toughened soda lime silicate safety glass. If the glass is heat soaked after toughening, then the relevant product standard is EN 14179. 

The mark also needs to include the classification according to BS EN 12600, the pendulum body impact test for flat glass. Only the first digit of the classification (eg Class 1, where the glass is hit by a 50kg impactor dropped from 1,200mm) is required for safety applications. However, the full designation may be required to meet other regulatory requirements, for example guarding.

The classification contained in the mark is important. It confirms that the requirements for safety glass installed in critical locations are met.

Glazing in doors, which is wholly or partly within 1,500mm from floor level should be minimum Class 3 (where the glass is impacted from a drop height of 190mm). If the width or height of the pane is greater than 900mm, it shall be minimum Class 2 (where the glass is impacted from a drop height of 450mm).

For glazing within 300mm of the edge of a door, and wholly or partly within 1,500mm from finished floor level, the glass should achieve minimum Class 3 when tested to BS EN 12600. If the width or height of the pane exceeds 900mm, the glass should achieve minimum Class 2. Away from doors, for glazing which is wholly or partly within 800mm of the finished floor level, the glass should achieve minimum Class 3 to BS EN 12600.

Safety marks are by no means unnecessary red tape. The mark applied to safety glass is critical and demonstrates conformity with standards and regulatory compliance. This is important for all in the supply chain, from glass processors and installers, to clients and building occupants. They provide reassurance that the installed glass is intended to reduce harm related to human impact and the risk of cutting and piercing injuries.

Omitting these marks, which aren’t obtrusive or detract from a building’s architectural merit, can be a costly error if a building inspector, savvy occupier or homeowner is concerned about whether their glass truly is safe.