Volume 50, Issue 12 - December 2015

GANA Perspectives

Wired Glass is Out
And Other Changes in the New ANSI Z97.1 Standard

by Kevin Olah and Julia Schimmelpenningh

In the time it takes a typical coffee tree to reach maturity, the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) Z97 has reviewed, debated, clarified and re-published American National Standard Z97.1 for Safety Glazing Materials Used for Buildings—safety performance specifications and methods of test, also knowns as ANSI Z97.1. The 2015 version is now available after five years of work.

Available online at ansiz97.com, the document is a must for your regulatory library. Although this particular version of the document is not referenced in the new model building codes specifically (Note: IBC and IRC incorrectly reference a 2014 version that does not exist), the trend to use the latest version of a test standard will lead to many of us seeing ANSI Z97.1-2015 referenced within incoming documents and specifications.

Old vs. New

The committee’s goal was to address gaps in the test procedure, clarify pass/fail criteria to avoid the need for interpretations, and respond to concerns related to safety glass use in buildings. As a result, there are some significant changes. Here are some changes to the standard.

Major things staying the same:

• Impact test procedure: test frame, lead-shot filled impactor and need to impact each specimen, 18-inch and 48-inch impact heights, size of the panels permitted and number of specimens required;

• Requirement for durability testing on laminated, organic-coated and plastic glazing;

• Center punch fragmentation testing of fully tempered glass if unbroken by impact;

• Exclusion of annealed, heat-strengthened, chemically strengthened and fire-rated wired glass in monolithic forms are not rated as safety glazing; and

• Requirement for glazing material to carry a permanent ANSI Z97.1 mark.
Major changes in the 2015
version vs. the 2009e2:

• Removal of Class C (12-inch drop height), and all references to wired glass as safety glazing;

• Addition of a bake test as an alternate to the boil test for laminated and
organic-coated glazing;

• Type classifications for performance;

• Glass shard containment evaluation after impact;

• Durability test methodology for
“indoor only” products;

• Guidance language on insert materials (e.g.: PET film, rice paper) for laminated and organic coated glass;

• Clarification on weathering procedure and pass/fail criteria; and

• Date code, i.e.: ANSI Z97.1-2015, for marking.

Why You Need to Know

• The changes are not expected to disrupt the supply or offering of products in the industry. However, we do anticipate a closer critique on performance, product selection and fitness for use.

• Clarification on wired glass not being deemed a safety glazing for human impact should be easy to interpret in the new standard. This should also reduce the specification and interpretation of these materials in those applications.

• The glazing shard containment language is also expected to make specifying a product based on performance easier—especially for applications where there’s a concern about falling or dislodged glazing fragments in the case of a broken panel.

• Manufacturers of the films, interlayers and plastics must provide proof of weathering and durability compliance for their products. While fabricators are not required to generate this information about the films, interlayers and plastics, nothing precludes them from performing their own testing.

• Compliance of all safety glazing products should be rated to either Class A or Class B in accordance with the procedures of this edition of ANSI Z97.1.

What’s Next?

The committee will now take a short hiatus. The next edition is expected to be re-approved or published in 2020. Meetings will start in late 2016. As this is an Accredited Standards Committee of ANSI, we are constantly seeking to maintain balance within the participants. The committee is accepting applications from general-interest members, users of the standard, testing laboratories and professional associations. If interested, please submit a member application, available online at ansiz97.com.

the author

Kevin Olah is the director
of homologation with Guardian Industries Corp. and the
ASC Z97 chair.

Julia Schimmelpenningh is the global architectural applications manager with Eastman Chemical Co. and
the ASC Z97 secretary.

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