Planning for success

By Richard Bate, Build Check.

In previous columns we have established what Product Assessment Standard PAS24 is, why we need it, and what is involved in the testing of windows and doors to meet the security requirements of PAS24. This month we look at how you go about your testing programme to plan for success, achieve maximum coverage, and minimise failure.

Let us assume you have decided you would like to gain PAS24 approval and you’d like Build Check to help with your testing programme.

Initially, so you can decide exactly what items you need to get tested, you need to review your objectives.

If you have a job where the client has specified PAS24 approval, you need to ensure that you include test specimens of all window and door configurations that will be included in the job. It is important that you test the largest example of each configuration included on the job. This will then cover you for all smaller sizes. We will be happy to guide you in your assessment of the configurations you need to test, bearing in mind that any change of framing component or detail, any change of operating hardware, and/or any change of infill or glazing specification potentially requires a separate test.

If you want to gain PAS24 accreditation to give you a sales edge over competitors, you need to assess what products will be appropriate and what configurations.  Standardise their construction wherever possible: ie, one door lock, one type of hinge, one window mechanism, limited range of glazing and infill materials. You should test the largest of each configuration you intend to offer (subject to the size capacity of our test rigs) and then all smaller sizes will be covered.

The importance of ensuring the right scope of testing has significant bearing on the cost of testing and the cost of specimens. Two specimens are required for each window and three for each doorset. You should also consider the potential longevity of your chosen components as any change will require a new test. Ensure the specimens you submit for testing are in it for the long haul.

Having decided on your specimens for testing, it is vital you make them to your normal quality standard. Do not be tempted to cut corners (‘these are only for testing’) or add any irrelevant extras (‘belt and braces’ for the test) that are not part of your normal offering. Your products ultimately go to market so you must ensure that your specimens (and indeed all your products) are fabricated in accordance with your Factory Production Control system as required for your CE Mark (or UK Mark from 2021, but more about that in a subsequent column).

We encourage our clients to attend testing, although this can be something of a double-edged sword. It inevitably takes longer to do things when you are explaining everything as you go along and answering questions but you being there will give you a better understanding of the test requirements and the process. You will also be on hand should any issues arise and be in a much better position to resolve them.

These suggestions aim to maximise the value you get from the process and to give you the best chance of success. Even with the best intentions and preparation things can, and occasionally do, go wrong and, if this were to happen, we would work with you to remedy the situation in the most time and cost effective way. We understand that while the testing is necessary for your purposes, your business is a commercial enterprise and your testing with us is simply a means to an end.

We at Build Check will do our best, within the confines of our remit, to help you get there.

Build Check will be pleased to help you with your PAS 24 journey and has prepared a simple ‘Guide to PAS 24’. If you would like a free copy then please call 01494 452713 or email