Get in the know with security screens and doors
In the world of windows and doors, security products are not normally discussed, but Gary Smith outlines their importance and relevant standards.
Window screens and screen doors are common features of construction in most parts of Australia. They allow the circulation of air in hot weather whilst preventing insects from entering a premises. However eﬀective they are in keeping insects out, ﬂy screens oﬀer very little security and can be easily broken through.
Security screen doors and window grilles on the other hand are strong enough to withstand most attempts at forced entry while retaining the advantages of ﬂyscreens. They can also be installed on all types of windows and doors, including hinged, bi-fol, and slidins.
As an extremely popular home security option, security screen doors and window grilles also provide protection in other areas, such as bushﬁre, falls, emergency escape, and cyclone debris, and can improve the energy eﬃciency of a home through shading.
Australian Standards (AS) cover the security aspect of these products and must be followed when supplying a legitimate security door or screen product.
WHAT ARE THE STANDARDS?
There are three standards that need to be met for security product:
– AS 5039: Security screen doors and security window grilles
– AS 5040: Installation of security screen doors and window grilles
– AS 5041: Methods of test —Security screen doors and window grilles
(A) 5039: Security Screen doors and security window grilles was developed to provide both the industry and consumers with speciﬁcations covering the general requirements and performance of these products.
This Standard speciﬁes the minimum requirements for the performance of all types of hinged and sliding security screen doors and hinged, sliding, removable and ﬁxed security window grilles used primarily in residential situations.
It is concerned mainly with resistance to forced entry and does not address the important issues relating to egress in the case of an emergency. The Standard covers movable and removable security window grilles that can be used in such instances.
AS 5039 is intended for use by regulatory authorities and all persons concerned with the manufacture, installation and general requirements of security screen doors or window grilles and gives protection to consumers.
For products to conform to this Standard, they must be tested by an accredited laboratory in accordance with AS 5041: Methods of test —Security screen doors and window grilles.
The tests include:
– Dynamic Impact Test
– Jemmy Test
– Pull Test
– Probe Test
– Shear Test
– Knife Shear Test
AS 5040: Installation of security screen doors and window grilles provides installers of security screen doors or window grilles with speciﬁcations covering the general requirements for installation of security screen doors or window grilles used primarily in residential situations. If a product is not installed correctly then it will not be secure.
ALTERNATIVE USES OF SECURITY SCREEN PRODUCTS
Security screen products can be eﬀectively used for purposes other than security. These include:
When security screens are installed, it is important to remember that windows may provide a secondary means of escape from a burning home. At least one window in each room must have a release mechanism on the security screen.
Homes with security bars, grilles or shutters covering their windows may be useless in an emergency if the devices on them do not have a functioning release mechanism.
It is important to select security screens with overriding devices that can be released by an adult. For the homeowner, it is important that all members of the family are aware of how to safely use an emergency egress device in an emergency.
Ensure keys to all security door locks are readily accessible to enable escape from the home if required. Deadlocks, if engaged, will prevent the security door from opening without a key.
Protection from falls
The National Construction Code (NCC) speciﬁes various requirements for the prevention of falls from openable windows. There are also speciﬁc requirements in New South Wales for strata title properties.
AS 5203 Protection of Openable Windows/Fall Prevention – Test Sequence and Compliance Method sets out the methods of test for determining the performance of a barrier screen and a restricted window opening to a level of force speciﬁed in the NCC.
If a window is accessible by a child and the window is not restricted, ensure that tested compliant security screens are ﬁtted to stop a child from accidentally falling through.
It is important to remember that a standard ﬂyscreen is not made to protect a child from falling through a window.
Using a tested compliant screen for protection from falls on a window, rather than restricting the window opening, gives the beneﬁt of full ventilation.
In a bushﬁre, check that screens meet the local bushﬁre regulations and the requirements of AS 3959 – Construction of buildings in bushﬁre prone areas. The wrong ﬂyscreens can burn in a bushﬁre and can be the cause of a home burning.
Cyclone debris protection
With the occurrence of cyclones being more common in northern Australia, it is a good idea to add another level of protection to the windows from cyclone debris.
With cyclonic debris screening, a home is protected from cyclone debris at all times – ensuring that it is not necessary to ‘batting down the hatches’ each time a storm approaches.
AS 1170.2:2011 Structural design actions – Wind actions sets out the requirements and test methods for diﬀerent cyclonic regions in Australia. When purchasing security screens for cyclonic areas, ensure that the product has been tested and complies to the requirements of that are.
PURCHASING A COMPLIANT PRODUCT IN THE SECURITY SCREEN INDUSTRY
The NSSA is a national association dedicated to supporting the needs of security door and window grille fabricators, retailers, installers and component suppliers and to give protection to consumers.
The NSSA encompasses all styles of design and materials used in the manufacture and installation of barrier security products as long as the end product will comply with the relevant Australian Standard that is applicable.
Products are labelled to show compliance to AS 5039. NSSA members comply with Australian Standards and are part of an independent third party accreditation scheme subject to annual factory inspections to ensure products conform.
Look for these labels and compliance certiﬁcate.
Using a NSSA member when purchasing a security screen product signiﬁcantly reduces the risk of purchasing the incorrect product. Contact your local(NSS) member for information and guidance on the right product to use for all situations.