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Broken glass is the cause of many of the most common home accidents. Traditional annealed glass, also called sheet glass or plate glass, fractures into sharp, jagged pieces when it breaks – making it a risky addition to any building. The Australian Standards for glass were formulated in response to this danger.

It’s important to know that many homes still do not meet these safety standards. If a home was built prior to 1989, it’s very likely that door surrounds, windows or shower screens are made of sub-standard glass. When considering glass replacement Melbourne residents should understand what the Australian Standards demand.

The basic requirements

Standards AS1288 and AS1288-94 cover the installation of safety glass in areas where injuries are likely to occur. These areas include both outdoor and indoor glass, windows, shower screens, doors that contain glass side panels and low-level glass. To meet these Standards, safety glass must be installed in these locations as part of all new construction.

Although the Standards are different for structure built before 1989, it is mandatory to install safety glass whenever glass replacement proceeds in these high-risk spots.

The different types of safety glass

The Australian Standards recognize two grades of safety glass: Type A, which can be either toughened (also called tempered) or laminated safety glass, and Type B, wired safety glass.

Toughened glass is up to five times stronger than conventional annealed glass. It is resistant to impact – and if it does break, it fractures into small blunt particles that are much less likely to cause injury. Toughened glass tends to be less expensive than laminated glass, but it provides less security from break-ins, as it can be broken with one solid blow from a hammer.

Laminated glass consists of two panes of conventional glass held together by an inner layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB). Often used in car windshields, it is the most common kind of safety glass found in homes and commercial buildings. If you’ve ever seen a broken car windshield, you know how hard it is to smash a hole into laminated glass. The inner layer holds the glass together even when it is broken, creating a kind of spider-web pattern that keeps the glass intact. Most glass and glazing professionals will recommend laminated glass for homes.

Wired glass, like laminated glass, is created by layering. But in this case the layers of glass are bonded to an inner wire mesh that keeps the glass from shattering if it is broken. Wired glass is not any more impact resistant than conventional glass, though, and is better suited to for use in public buildings – fire doors, for example – than in the home.

By using safety glass in domestic and commercial buildings, you’ll be in compliance with the Australian Standards for glass. And more importantly, you’ll be keeping associates, customers, and loved ones safe from the dangers of glass-related injuries. When you’re ready to start replacing windows, shower screens, door surrounds and other high-risk fixtures, call on your Melbourne glass replacement specialists at Matthew’s Glass and Glazing.

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Posted on Oct 25, 2013