Sailing through testing times

By Richard Bate, Build Check.

In our previous column we introduced PAS 24 and established that a test pass of the security aspects only is required to meet the requirements of Approved Document Q and thus comply with the Building Regulations.

Today we look in a little more detail at the PAS 24 series of tests and what is involved.

The PAS 24 set of tests is designed to assess the security of door and windows against the effects of an opportunistic burglar. It is not designed to defend against a professional crook.

The tests involved consider the size of tool used and the time it would take to be noticed, and cover all window styles and doors.

When you instruct Build Check to carry out your PAS24 testing we ask for the largest configuration that you sell (up to the size limit of our test rigs). This way ensures that you will be covered for any smaller sized products of the same design. Each different design needs to be tested.

The design includes operating hardware, so any variation must also be tested.

With correct, high quality hardware fitted into a well manufactured window or door it should not be difficult to pass the tests. Should the need arise to test new or unproven hardware then we can assist with R&D testing at a reduced rate prior to formal PAS 24 testing.

For window testing we will require two test specimens of each type. The specimens for each type must be identical and must be fitted with a sub-frame. This is an additional frame around the specimen, flush with the internal and external frame faces, and fixed from the inside of the frame outward to provide maximum support. It is usually made from wood and enables us to fix the specimen into our test rigs.

PAS24 security testing for windows comprise three different test elements for each window specimen.

Your first specimen will undergo a manipulation test using a mixture of small tools such as screwdrivers, craft knives and paint scrapers at different points of hardware interaction to establish whether any fixings can be manipulated in such a way as to circumvent the systems in place to prevent entry.

The specimen is also be tested with a similar range of tools including chisels where we attempt to remove the glazing or other infill from the outside of the window.

Finally, a large screwdriver and small crowbar enter the fray in combination to reveal any weakness in the window which is not part of the hardware system. This element, uniquely, is not considered a pass or fail for the entire test but simply explores potential vulnerabilities that are then examined by the mechanical load test which will be applied to specimen 2.

Your second specimen is subjected to a 2kN perpendicular force applied to all four corners of the glazing, or other infill. This is followed by mechanical load testing which consists of a series of perpendicular pushes and in-plane pulls to mimic the actions of a crowbar in a standardised manner.

These tests include a particularly onerous test for sliding windows where a 3.0kN force is applied in either and both directions to potentially split the interlock apart.

Finally, we take our toolkit that we used for the manipulation tests to our previous specimen and apply them to this window to establish whether there are any points where fixings or locking points can be released and the window opened.

In next month’s column we will look in more detail at the PAS24 test regime for doors.

Build Check has prepared a simple ‘Guide to PAS 24’. For a free copy call 01494 452713, or email