The National Association of Rooflight Manufacturers (NARM), has launched a new campaign to support the requirement for laminated inner panes on glass rooflights for important safety reasons, bringing pressure on the British Standards Institute for a regulatory amendment.
Current British Standards define that inner panes on rooflights must be laminated in applications more than 5m above floor level (increased to 13m in limited circumstances) or are located over water (eg swimming pools). However, the relevant standard permits use of toughened glass inner panes in other applications, if a risk assessment is carried out and confirmation provided that this does not present additional risk to those below the rooflight.
The term ‘toughened’ implies a degree of safety which in the case of rooflights, is misleading. Toughened glass inner panes actually bring a risk of shattering and falling into the room beneath and it is this fact that NARM is addressing with its campaign, following a number of worrying reports of potentially dangerous incidents involving poorly designed or installed rooflights.
NARM safety representative, Mark Wilcox said: “It is difficult to see how use of a toughened rather than laminated glass inner pane doesn’t present a risk to anyone beneath a rooflight, whatever the position or height of the installation. In our view, any risk assessment of a toughened inner pane is therefore largely irrelevant.”
This is a position strongly supported by the Advisory Committee for Roofsafety (ACR), a body founded by the Health & Safety Executive, dedicated to making working on roofs safer. ACR has published its own document covering this issue, entitled: Glass Specification in Flat Rooflights. This can be downloaded at: https://www.the-acr.org/publications/is5-glass-specification-in-flat-rooflights/
The NARM campaign will focus on a new symbol, designed to draw attention to the need for a laminated inner pane. This will be promoted to professional and end-user audiences via on-line, printed and social media, together with detailed information regarding the dangers of inappropriate glass specification in rooflights. The symbol is also being made available to NARM member companies, for use on their own marketing materials.
With reference to some manufacturers supplying rooflights with inferior toughened glass inner panes, yet claiming excellence in quality standards, Ian Weakford, NARM’s marketing committee chairman, said: “It’s important to note that a great looking rooflight isn’t necessarily a great rooflight. Our aim is that this work will increase awareness of the importance of laminated glass inner panes and give reputable rooflight manufacturers the opportunity to differentiate the products from inferior offerings in the marketplace.”