Volume 14, Issue 3 - May/June 2010

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SAFETY ZONE

PGC International Offers Technical Resources for Protective Glazing-Related Industries
By Sara Neiswanger

The Protective Glazing Council (PGC) International and its members are working on several new resources for the many industry groups involved in specifying protective glazing products for a diverse segment of projects that run the gamut from government facilities to commercial buildings. As a primary trade association for manufacturers of protective window films, the organization has long recognized the importance of standards and other voluntary resources in the area of safety and security.  The continued development of those standards and other helpful documents, especially in the commercial sector, is one of the missions of PGC International.  As the use of protective window films increases over the next five years, the development of these resources is in high demand from end users.

Quality Assurance Accreditation Program
The Quality Assurance Accreditation Program (QAAP) is the newest undertaking of PGC International members and was prompted by the need for specific knowledge and information that is required when handling and installing protective glazing products, such as security and safety films, and how they differ from other glazing options. The program that will result from this effort is geared toward installers and specifiers, and will provide technical-level training and education about protective glazing products and what constitutes proper installation procedures and maintenance. As a comprehensive document, the QAAP is designed to offer an immediate impact to companies striving to increase the quality and value they provide to building owners and developers.

Product Selection Guidelines
PGC International members often receive requests for a form or checklist tool to assist architects and specifiers in selecting the best product for their buildings. The new Product Selection Guidelines will act as this needed starting point. The guidelines will be fundamental, user-friendly references that, given a certain threat level and performance level, will serve as a guide to the appropriate product choices that will help shield a building from various threats while mitigating their effects.

As an organization, PGC International represents six different areas within the protective glazing scope: ballistics, blast, fire, forced-entry, hurricane, and seismic; a product selection guideline is being developed for each. Once available, the documents can be downloaded at www.protectiveglazing.org.

Each guideline will address the key questions an architect or specifier should consider when evaluating the performance requirements of a product. These include: various threat levels as outlined in the applicable code; available levels of protection; and design parameters associated with required performance levels. For instance, if an architect needs a certain window film that meets GSA-approved blast-performance conditions, along with a few additional pieces of information, using the selection guidelines the installer could easily determine which products would meet the needed requirements.

Each guideline will be accompanied by a product selection data sheet. This form is being created to provide a clear and simple way for specifiers to communicate what performance data is important to their projects and to have a clear and simplified way for the manufacturer or contractor to respond with appropriate test data. The intent is to aid in product selection based on the performance that best suites the application. We expect the product selection guidelines will fill a basic void of clarity in the information exchange process, while providing an effective tool to enhance apples-to-apples communication between specifier and contractor.

Protective Glazing Manual
Finally, PGC International is also collaborating with the Glass Association of North America to create a Protective Glazing Manual. It will be the first of its kind that focuses solely on the use of protective glazing products, systems and technologies. This manual is intended to be a 101-level educational manual focusing on types and purposes of protective glazing products, and will also include related best practice information such as maintenance and storage. Introductory chapters on safety film, flat glass, polycarbonate and building codes, among others, are included. In addition, sections devoted to the six types of protective glazing, as well as information on emergency egress and material handling practices, are also detailed in the manual. This resource will provide a thorough overview of all things related to protective glazing, and will be available for sale in mid-2010.

PGC International continues to address the growing need for protective glazing systems in both government and commercial settings through education and tool development. Its members come from various segments of the industry including window film manufacturers, laminated glass fabricators, suppliers, contractors, consultants and test laboratories. A complete listing of members, as well as additional information about the organization, is available online at www.protectiveglazing.org.

Sara Neiswanger is the account executive for PGC International based in Topeka, Kan.

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