A Look at the Revised
ANSI Z97.1 Standard Changes in the 2009
Kevin Olah and Julia Schimmelpenningh
After five years of conscientious work by the members of the American
National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) Accredited Standards Committee (ASC)
Z97, the update to the American National Standard for Safety Glazing Materials
Used in Buildings – Safety Performance Specifications and Methods of Test
(ANSI Z97.1) has been completed. The 2009 edition is now available for
public sale and distribution.
The 2009 version contains several modifications and new material over
the previous version. The modifications add clarity of purpose, intent
and procedures. Depending on the need, sections have been re-written and
new sections added to provide additional assurance that the intended safe-break
characteristics have been achieved before a test specimen may be declared
compliant or “qualified” under ANSI Z97.1. Documents that were referenced
in the Standard also were reviewed and updated.
to the Update
Due to historical precedence and a desire for harmonization with the influential
Standard CPSC 16 CFR 1201 – Safety Standard for Architectural Glazing
Materials the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) struggled at the front
end of the revision cycle with the scope and limitations of the document.
Several international standards were studied during this revision process
to gain a better understanding of global positions and intent for safety
glazing. In the end, the 2009 update is a Standard that, if enforced,
will lead to a reduced number of cutting and piercing injuries sustained
by humans who accidentally impact properly specified and installed safety
The Standard is written specifically for architectural glazing materials
subjected to accidental human impact. The committee recognized that safety
glazing configurations, tested and deemed to pass in accordance with this
Standard, may be used in applications other than those specifically identified
in the scope—for example in furniture, shelving and signage.
It remains the responsibility of the specifying parties to ensure that
the test method chosen, product impact classification and interpretation
of results are appropriate for their particular application.
Let’s take a visual cruise through the document so that you become aware
of the portions of the Standard that have been modified.
The noteworthy changes in the Standard start with the Forward section.
Although not technically part of the Standard, it gives guidance on how
the Standard should be used and how to provide feedback, comments and
requests for interpretation to ASC. A section related to the currency
of referenced documents within the Standard has been added to the Forward.
In the past, confusion over what version of a referenced Standard should
be used—the cited or newest version—has been a concern of ASC. Since referenced
Standards sometimes change between version publications, the committee
borrowed a “best practice” from the International Code Council (ICC).
A table of references and the applicable year is included in an annex
to the Standard.
As with every publication of the ANSI Z97.1 Standard, the participants
in the update are identified. The people on this list deserve the credit
for gaining consensus on some tough issues.
As the Standard opens, the first sections are the Scope, Purpose and Limitations
of the document. Small, but significant, wording changes are included
in these sections. Specifically, the products that have not been, or no
longer are, considered safety glazing in accordance with this Standard
The Reference and Definition sections have benefited from minor adjustments,
updates and consistency.
Specimens are then grouped in Table 1 by product type. This table defines
the tests that need to be completed for each product type. A center-punch
fragmentation test for tempered glass is now included in the document,
essentially ensuring that any glass product not broken by the force of
the shot-bag impact still will break in accordance with the safe-break
criteria of this Standard. The specifics of the center-punch fragmentation
test, including method of test and interpretation of results, also are
added to the 2009 version of ANSI Z97.1.
Due to the international acceptance of ANSI Z97.1, a modification to the
Thickness of Specimens section is incorporated. This allows compliance
of glazing that may not fall within the strict minimum and maximum thickness
values of ASTM C 1036 - Standard Specification for Flat Glass.
The Methods of Test section has been revised extensively with new, enlarged
images and corresponding text that ease readability significantly. There
still are three classes of impact: A, B and C. The Adjustments in the
Limitations section relegates Class C to a product test method and clarifies
the intent of the 2004 version regarding the safety rating of Class C-compliant
One of the biggest changes in the 2009 document is the inclusion of Table
2, “Applicable Interpretation of Results from Shot Bag Impact.” This table
was inserted to assist in the understanding of the Interpretation of Results
section. As this section has been revamped and restructured, the committee
felt that the addition of Table 2 would provide needed guidance and clarity.
The methodology, particle weight determination and interpretation of results
for the center-punch fragmentation test mentioned earlier are contained
in this section.
The next section of the Standard describes the weathering requirements
for glazing products. The only product exempt from weathering is tempered
glass. All other glazing types applicable to this Standard—laminated glass,
organic coated glass and plastics—must demonstrate acceptability after
exposure to weathering conditions in order to comply.
Essentially, the Weathering section requires either natural or accelerated
weathering be completed on glazing samples produced with the thinnest
materials expected to be submitted for qualification. Samples are evaluated
in clear form as they are considered to be the most sensitive to change.
Samples not available in clear form are submitted as is. Clear products
qualify colored products.
The Standard allows for weathering in South Florida or via accelerated
form with xenon bulbs. The mounting conditions for natural exposure, as
well as the chamber conditions for the xenon, are clearly spelled out
with references in the Weathering section. The tests to be conducted on
the various products also are defined clearly.
Laminated glass and organic coated glass must meet new requirements in
the 2009 version. Although visual inspection of the glazing still is a
critical part of the Standard, quantitative measurements for visible transmittance,
yellowness, haze and Delta E are added.
For plastic safety glazing products, dimensional stability and testing
via Charpy Impact continue to be included in the new version of the Standard.
With the discontinuation of ASTM D 756 Practice for Determination of Weight
and Shape changes of Plastics Under Accelerated Service Conditions, an
enhanced section on the exposure of products for indoor use has been added.
Much of the applicable practice from the discontinued ASTM Standard was
re-written and incorporated into ANSI Z97.1-2009.
With all of the changes mentioned above, what stays the same? The impactor,
a leather punching bag filled with lead shot, is still used. The target
weight of the impactor remains consistent at 100 pounds. The largest size
that can be tested remains at 34 by 76 inches. Smaller sizes can be tested
but will carry a “limited” designation to them. The impact location, drop
heights and framing mechanism for the glazing all remain the same. Bent
glass laminates are still included in the Standard; however, Standardized
radius is provided for the test. There still are two classifications for
safety glass: Class A with a 48-inch drop height and Class B with a 18-inch
drop height. Class C remains in the Standard with a 12-inch drop height
and remains applicable only to fire-rated wired glass. The size limitations
for product use continue to be left out of the Standard and left to the
discretion of the authority having jurisdiction over safety glazing requirements.
The marking of glazing in accordance to the Standard also remains unchanged.
However, the fabricator is cautioned that composite testing—testing that
qualifies specimens to both ANSI Z97.1-2009 and CPSC 16 CFR 1201—may require
modified marking or logos based on changes within the certification provisions
of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (see March 2010 USGlass, page
The Next Cycle
ASC was not able to address every modification brought forth for consideration
to the Standard during this cycle, just as it was not able to address
every change in the last cycle. The committee strives to improve the Standard
in such a way that it is useful and understood by the specifiers, users
ANSI Z97.1 is a continuous Standard, which means it is constantly under
review. ANSI sets a five-year time limit on the update-and-revision process
of a Standard to ensure that it is in harmony with industry evolution,
market demands and use. The Steering Committee of ASC Z97 is planning
on meeting in June 2010 to discuss the structure and procedures for the
next revision of the Standard.
ASC Z97 operates the committee in accordance with the essential procedures
published and prescribed by ANSI. Membership in ASC is open, and new participants
The ANSI Z97.1-2009 Standard, a redline version (indicating modifications
and additions to the 2004) and the 2004 version may be purchased at www.ANSIZ97.com.
Kevin Olah is manager of homologation at Guardian Industries in
Auburn Hills, Mich., and serves as chair of ASC Z97. Julia Schimmelpenningh
is global applications manager at Solutia Inc. and serves as ASC Z97 Secretary.
Their opinions are solely their own and not necessarily those of this
magazine. is manager of homologation at Guardian Industries in Auburn
Hills, Mich., and serves as chair of ASC Z97. Julia Schimmelpenningh is
global applications manager at Solutia Inc. and serves as ASC Z97 Secretary.
Their opinions are solely their own and not necessarily those of this
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