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Are you taking a Risk with Product Substitution?

Windows and doors are a crucial and valuable part of any building. They can provide architectural beauty, whilst also offering functionality and performance. Glazed building elements are designed to bring light into a building but can also provide a connection to the outside world, all the while protecting from the external environment. 

To ensure compliance of windows and doors, it is imperative that we ensure that all systems have been tested to AS2047-2014 (Windows and external glazed doors in buildings).

AS2047-2014 testing provides performance ratings for a number of different criteria; deflection, operating force, air infiltration, water penetration, and ultimate strength.

As you would expect there are many components that can affect the performance of a given system; frames, sub-frames, seals, hardware and fixings. Of particular concern is the substitution of certain components with alternative (usually inferior) products. The overall tested performance of a window or door system is only achieved by optimising all the elements into an effective system. Unfortunately, replacing minor elements may be detrimental to the performance of the whole system. It would certainly limit your ability to demonstrate compliance to a particular test standard.

From a practical sense, we need to consider what could happen if Window Systems were not installed or fabricated as intended. What if the sub-sill were replaced with an inferior sub-sill?

In many instances, the building owner or occupier may never know but possible problems could occur.

Water drainage from a sill and sub-sill combination are designed to work together. Substituting one element may leave an inconsistent drainage path and increase the risk of leakage. The structural capacity of a substituted sub-sill may differ from the original, due to a difference in wall thickness or even the grade of Aluminium. Reducing the structural capacity of a system could lead to an increased susceptibility to wind loads and water ingress, resulting in system failures.

Traceability of building materials has become considerably more relevant over the past couple of years, due to some fairly high profile incidents. With high profile cladding fires across the globe, material selection has been brought to the forefront of conversations around rectification, suitability and insurance. Also, the considerable work being implemented by the NSW Building Commissioner to highlight both best practice and some significant problems within our industry, have been necessary due to the building defects crisis across the state.

It is the duty of all practitioners across the construction sector to ensure we have systems and ultimately buildings, that are fit for purpose. Project Specifications to ensure suitable systems are nominated are a great first step but only by engaging your systems suppliers can you ensure that the correct systems are used. Buildings are inherently complex and the industry requires the expertise of suppliers and installers to provide greater transparency if we are to future proof our assets.

The Alspec team can assist you through the construction process, from Specification writing to Value Management advice and Subcontractor engagement. Alspec systems are independently tested to ensure compliance to the Australian standards at multiple test facilities including Omnitest, Exova Warrington and CSIRO. Only by working together can we ensure we move the industry forward and deliver resilient buildings into the future.