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FAQ

 

Will BAL-40 rated products also be suitable for other BAL ratings?

 

BAL-40 rated products will also be suitable for use in BAL-12.5, BAL-19 and BAL-29 zones.

To date AWS has not tested any windows or doors for use in BAL-FZ Flame Zone. In order to use an AWS window or door system in BAL-FZ it would be necessary to protect the windows or doors with a Flame Zone tested shutter in accordance with the Australian Standard AS3959-2009.

 

How do I identify a BAL-40 product?

 

Throughout AWS brochures, websites and literature, window and door systems which have been tested or certified to comply with AS3959-2009 are identified with the BAL-40 logo illustrated to the right.

All AWS windows supplied as compliant for BAL-40 bushfire zones will be identified with the adhesive label to the right and will be supplied with an Australian Glass and Window Association (AGWA) compliance certificate indicating their BAL rating.

Testing undertaken is in accordance with AS1530.8.1 and the certification is issued based upon a positive outcome to this testing procedure.

 

Do you need to screen windows in a BAL-40 bushfire zone?

 

AWS BAL-40 rated windows systems have been successfully tested to comply with relevant Australian Standards for windows in BAL-40 bushfire zones.

 

The Building Code of Australia requires that all window openings in a BAL-40 bushfire zone are screened. To our understanding, the logic behind this decision is that whilst you are likely to close the door when evacuating or sheltering in your home from a fire front, it is reasonable to assume you may forget to close the windows. The installation of a compliant bushfire screen over all window openings is intended to offer some level of protection from embers entering your home in the event of this taking place.

In a BAL-40 bushfire zone the opening portion of all windows must be screened internally or externally with metal screens with an aperture of 2mm made from corrosion resistant steel, bronze or aluminium in accordance with the Australian Standard.

The opening portion of a BAL-40 tested window must be screened with a suitable screen in accordance with Australian Standards. BAL-40 tested doors do not need to be screened.

 

Do you need to screen doors in a BAL-40 bushfire zone?

 

AWS BAL-40 rated door systems have been successfully tested to comply with relevant Australian Standards for doors in BAL-40 bushfire zones without the use of screens.

The BCA does not call for the use of screens on BAL-40 tested door systems. Most of us like to screen door openings for security and as a barrier to insects. If you wish to screen your BAL-40 rated door system, AWS recommends the use of an approved fire rated screen in accordance with the Australian Standard.

In a BAL-40 bushfire zone, where a BAL-40 tested door system is being used, there is no requirement to screen the operable part of the door.

There is no requirement to screen a BAL-40 tested door system.

 

Do you need to use special glass?

 

AWS BAL-40 bushfire rated windows and doors are fitted with a minimum of 6mm toughened glass. Float or laminated glass is not suitable for use in a single glazed BAL-40 tested window or door.

 

Where double glazing is required, AWS has tested BAL-40 bushfire rated windows and doors with a double-glazed unit consisting of:

  • toughened glass on both exterior and interior pane

  • toughened glass on the exterior pane and annealed glass on the interior pane (windows only)

  • toughened glass on the exterior pane and 6.38mm laminated on the interior pane

 
 

How big can I make the BAL-40 tested glass panel?

 

  • 6mm Toughened Glass 2.92m²

  • 8mm Toughened Glass 4.50m²

  • 20mm IGU (6mm toughened with 5mm annealed on the inside) 1.66m²

  • 20mm IGU (6mm toughened with 5mm toughened on the inside) 2.94m²

  • 20mm IGU (6mm toughened with 6mm toughened on the inside) 4.50m²

  • 20.38mm IGU (6mm toughened with 6.38mm laminated on the inside) 2.90m²

How do I service and maintain my BAL-40 bushfire rated windows and doors?

 

Each component used in manufacturing a BAL-40 bushfire compliant window is purposefully selected.

 

Should your BAL-40 rated windows or doors become damaged or require servicing, it is essential that you contact AWS to ensure appropriate servicing and correct selection of parts to ensure the integrity of the BAL-40 bushfire rated window is maintained.

 

Will my windows still work after a bushfire front has passed over the house?

 

The heat from a passing fire front as it moves over your home will be intense. BAL-40 tested window systems are designed to minimise the risk of loss of property and life during a bushfire attack.

 

The role these windows play in protecting your home from the bushfire is to reduce the risk of windows shattering or being compromised allowing embers to enter the building and internal furnishings to catch alight.

 

They will not function following a severe bushfire attack. Components will melt, hardware will seize up, doors and windows may not be operable following the passing of the fire front.

 

AWS recommends that occupants sheltering from a fire front within their home have suitable tools to break the glass in their BAL-40 rated windows and doors to allow ease of escape following the passing of the fire front.

 
 

Further Reading & Resources

For more information download the BAL-40 Technical White Paper
Architects Assist provides disaster recovery architecture and design services pro bono.

Contact

To find an AWS BAL-40 window supplier in your area please complete this form.

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