Nov 152011
Glazing366 Glazing

All forms of glazing need to comply with the relevant SANS.

Glazing and the Glass you use for it

The section on glazing in the National Building Regulations & Building Standards Act is short and reasonably sweet.

Essentially you need to be sure that any material used for glazing in buildings is secure and durable and that it is fixed so that it:

  • safely sustains wind actions that one would normally expect wherever you live in South Africa (but not necessarily major hurricanes or tornadoes that might be experienced in other parts of the world),
  • does not allow water to penetrate the interior of the building, and
  • is obvious to anyone who approaches it (if it isn’t, people could walk right into the glass and be injured, particularly if it is completely transparent and not made of “safety glass”).

Of course it isn’t only glass that we use for glazing. There are also a number of plastic and polycarbonate materials, as well as organically-coated glass, which can be used.

When it comes to choosing the best type of glazing for the job, the essential aspect is to make sure that if someone (or an animal) does impact the glazing – or collide with it, they won’t be seriously hurt. Factors to take into account include:

  • the position of the glazing,
  • the number of people who are likely to be able to access the glazed door or window, and
  • the probably behaviour patterns of anyone (or anything) that is likely to get close to the glazed area.

And ultimately, as long as the glazing material is selected, fixed and marked in accordance with SABS 10400-N, all should be well and legal… and safe for all concerned.

NBR Changes that Relate to Glazing

The “new” National Building Regulations are a lot more specific in terms of glazing installations than they were previously. Not only is the maximum pane area and glass thickness specified, but so too are the different types of glass. These are:

  • monolithic annealed glass,
  • patterned annealed and wired glass,
  • laminated annealed safety glass,
  • toughened safety glass.

In addition to this, glass must also comply with the relevant SANS, as must the method of fitting the glass or alternative material used for glazing.

Just be aware that whether you are glazing doors, windows, shower cubicles, shop-fronts or anything else, glazing MUST comply with SANS 10400-N as well as other standards that relate to the manufacture of glazing materials.

Construction Standards of Glazing

The SABS also has a strategic policy that relates to glazing in buildings. The reason for this is to standardize glazing in buildings in terms of:

  • terminology (so that we all understand exactly what the regulations mean and relate to),
  • performance requirements,
  • various methods of calculation,
  • design and construction guidelines,
  • the classification and specification of materials (including dimensional properties).

To this end, the SABS has a sub-committee that specifically develops, maintains and co-ordinates standards in the field of glazing materials that are used in buildings. The committee’s responsibility is to:

  • develop national standards,
  • participate in the development of standards (getting votes, comment and so on),
  • develop and review the programme of work,
  • recommend what else needs to be done to ensure that the South African standards stay on track with international standards.

At the end of the day, the safety of users and installers is paramount.

Here is a drawing from the Standard that provides guidance

Part N Safety Glazing Glazing

Examples of safety glazing requirements for exterior doors and windows.

  55 Responses to “Glazing”

Comments (54) Pingbacks (1)
  1. I have recently updated my building plans to an As Built status and have had them approved. I then receive a letter informing me that I have to produce a glazing certificate and a soil certificate for a house which is 30 years old and has not had a single structural change or addition. Please advise

    • Andy my guess is that because the plans are “new” they consider that they must comply with certain things, including the new XA regulations. Which in turns makes me think that somebody is being stupid! I suggest you go into your local council and discuss the problem and insist that they waive this requirement. Clearly your glazing is not going to comply! Good luck, let us know what happens.

  2. In terms of the new Energy Requirements for Residential Buildings in South Africa, is their a regulation in the National Building Regs that says that if you design a Residential Building your Glazing section, ie Windows and Glass doors where the total area of glass must not exceed 15% of the nett floor area of the building, if not it does not meet the Energy code?


    • Hi Peter, Correct, it is the new SANS 10400X & XA. We have given a brief rundown to help explain the situation on this page here: energy-usage Since 2011 when the new regulation was set, architects have been attending courses to get to understand the new regulations, most by now will have applications that do the calculations for them as well. If there is a specific problem that you have then you should get your local building inspector to give a ruling so that plans are not rejected when you submit them.

  3. Subject:
    Glass Panel breakage

    As part of an extension to the first floor of our house we had a new oak staircase fitted and this included six glass infill panels. The work was carried out by Hallmark Glass and Glazing Ltd of 49 Potters Field, Harlow CM17 9BZ in July 2011 (Tel No. 01279 410304). Our problem is that this morning
    the long glass panel going up the stairs exploded and shattered, causing considerable shock, from which I have hardly recovered. I got in touch with Hallmark and they maintain that the work is outside
    their warranty period and there is nothing they can do. My point to them is that glass doesn’t just break unless there is a fitting problem. I would be pleased to know from you where I stand on this and what action I can take against Hallmark. You advice would be greatly appreciated.
    John Farrow (Tel: 01582 769975). We live in Hertfordshire.

    • Hi John, We would love to help you but I think we are a bit out of your area here in South Africa. I am sorry to hear of your dilemma and hope you find a solution.

  4. Hi

    We are about to open a retail store with street front access in Cape Town CBD. We have just been told that our glazing may be illegal – it’s standard 6mm non-safety glass, only one or two of the 6 or so 3m x 2m panes is even laminated.

    Are there any legal stipulations for glazing in retail space? And if so, would our store be in contravention of these rules?

    • Steve the National Building Regulations apply to all glazing. There are tables in SANS 10400 Part N, Glazing that state nominal pane thickness in relation to maximum pane area and type of glass.
      If it is vertical glass that is supported by a frame on all sides in an external wall of the building, where the height measured from the ground to the top of such wall does not exceed 10 m, then it has to be monolithic annealed glass 10 mm thick; or toughened safety glass that is 8 mm thick.
      The drawing on this page is taken from the regs and shows when safety glass is not required.
      If someone falls through your glass – or walks into it and is injured – you could be sued.

      • I agree in part. But if a smash and grab safety film was applied, wouldnt this conform.

        • Gary I don’t think so. It is not even mentioned in the regulations! My understanding is that it could be used in addition to the correct type of glass as an added safety factor.

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