In the 2nd part of our ‘behind the scenes’ at Selecta Systems feature, we take a candid look in to window and door product testing. Technical Manager, Cliff Prosser, provides us with an eye-opening account of the rigorous testing processes of achieving PAS 24 certification.
Our first behind the scenes feature spoke about it not just being a window or door and seen as a piece of plastic, but of a precision engineered range of products. What we have is a collection of windows and doors that undergo a series of external tests to ensure that the window and door solutions are compliant to a comprehensive range of standards – thus meeting building regulation requirements.
Window and Door Testing
So, what is PAS 24:2016? Well, PAS 24 is the industry standard for Enhanced Security Performance Requirements for Doorsets and Windows. This is a product assessment specification and primarily referenced in the Building Regulations Approved Document Q. The manufacturer, or systems company in this case, submit a range of window or doors to a UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited test house for testing to PAS 24 and the relevant ‘fit for purpose’ standards.
Rigorous testing methods for forcing entry are carried out to ensure that there can be no failure of components that make up that window or door. Testing also includes BS 6375 consisting of weathertightness, operational performance and strength, ensuring that the windows and doors serve their two main purposes of protecting the property from unwelcome visitors and keeping inclement weather at bay. In this feature we’ll concentrate on PAS 24 product testing.
Prior to any fabrication of test windows and doors, a number of research and development meetings are held with hardware, component and accessory suppliers to ensure that the appropriate hardware is used, and in certain cases profile specific, to ensure maximum performance.
Test windows are generally made up of the largest side hung, next to the largest top hung over a fixed window, whereas French doors are made to the largest configuration, thus also covering single leaf doors as a worst-case scenario. Our patio and EASi-FOLD doors were again fabricated to the anticipated largest pane sizes to cover a number of configurations. These configurations and sizes provide the fabricator / installer with the opportunity of offering a vast range of multi-light window and door options, where PAS 24 is a requirement.
Once set up in a test rig, mechanical load tests are carried out on each locking point of our test window. A load of 3.0kN, which is approximately 300kg, is progressively applied from the inside at each locking and hinge point, whilst an external 1.0kN parallel load is applied at the same time for a total of 10 seconds. This can be applied two or three times, horizontally and vertically at each locking and hinge point, dependant on the locking and hinge points on the top hung and side hung windows.
For our test doors, a load of 4.5kN, is progressively applied with an external 1.5kN parallel load applied, following a similar process to windows and all locking and hinge points. An infill mechanical test is carried out on the four corners of the fixed window and on any slave glazed infills, where 2.0kN is applied for 10 seconds.
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to view these tests, you really do appreciate the quite brutal forces that are applied, which intend to replicate an intruder attack using nail bars.
Up to five, three minute manipulation attack tests are then carried out, where a craft knife is used to cut through the PVCu, in an attempt to expose the hinges, locks and cams. A choice of nail bars, flat head screwdrivers or paint scrapers are used to try to break or release the locking points, again simulating a manual attack. A further three minute manual attack is also made with a craft knife in an attempt to cut through the bead and free up the glass. Watching the severe ruthlessness of these attacks makes you appreciate the qualities and strength of PVCu windows and doors when the appropriate hardware, furniture and fixings are used.
When testing our doors, they were also subjected to soft body and hard body impact tests. The objective of the soft body test is to assess the door assembly’s resistance to impacts using a soft body – a pendulum fall of a leather spherical bag of approximately 350mm diameter filled with dry sand to a total mass of 30kg.Three impacts are conducted at three points, which simulates a body charge or an intruder kicking the door.
The hard body impact is to assess the hardware, infill and its retention system to a series of hard body impacts by the pendulum fall of a cylindrical steel block having a mass of 50kg. Three impacts are made on the lock cylinder when fitted, at each corner of the leaf, on the door leaf at each locking point, on the door leaf at each hinge point, on a midrail, if fitted, at the centre of non-glass infill mediums and at each corner of the infill. Should panels be present, each corner and the centre of panels are also impacted. The whole purpose of this test is to simulate an unwanted visitor attacking with a sledgehammer.
When it comes to our doors PAS 24 security hardware and cylinder tests the objective of this test is to assess the door furniture, hardware and cylinder resistance to a 10 minute overall manual attack. The total time of each attack shall not exceed 3 minutes and consists of several activities where there is an attempt to remove, dislodge or otherwise gain access to the cylinder by attacking any item protecting the cylinder, attempting to break or defeat the cylinder by applying a twisting or bending force orif access to the internal workings of the hardware, cylinder or lock is gained, then attempt to defeat the lock and gain access by operating any accessible mechanism. An attempt is also made to screw a self-cutting traction screw into any part of the exposed cylinder and then try to break and defect the cylinder by employing force to the screw.
A standard cylinder can be bumped, snapped or drilled in a matter of seconds and after all the brutality of all the locking and hinge point attacks, it becomes quite futile when access can be gained easily and very quickly when using an inadequate cylinder. Every component, whether its on a door or a window, has to do the job and serve the purpose it there to do – prevent intrusion.
Let’s just say the PAS 24 mechanical and physical attacks leave windows and doors in a sorry state, but with the right hardware they will hold firm against the ruthless nature of the attacks. That’s why our research and development process is so important. From profile design and indicative testing through to collaboration with the supply team, to ensure the right components are used, and where required, profile specific. I must emphasise that fixings are so very important and imperative to a good performing window or door when under attack! There’s no point in having the best hardware and components if you’re not using the correct fixings to ensure that it cannot be manipulated or eased out of place when under attack. That’s why we here at Selecta don’t believe it should be referred to as just a window, door or piece of plastic. To Selecta it will always be that precision engineered product.