Limit liability: Choose compliant windows

by Darren
Limit liability

New builds without compliant windows (SANS 10400-XA) will be deemed unfit and illegal.


It’s been almost three years since the SANS 10400-XA National Building Regulations came into effect. However, the slow take-up of these regulations, especially with regards to fenestration, is very worrying and could lead to dire consequences for parties concerned.

According to the Sustainability Institute, residential and commercial buildings consume some 60% of the world’s electricity, and fenestration remains one of the worst culprits for energy loss in a building. It has been estimated that approximately 40% of all energy loss in a home occurs through standard, single pane windows. This number can be dramatically reduced if compliant windows are used instead.

No exemptions
Hans Schefferlie, executive director of the Association of Architectural Aluminium Manufacturers of South Africa (AAAMSA), adds: “By law, all new buildings have to comply with these regulations, as must any additions and extensions to existing buildings that require planning approval from a local authority.”

Beware of non-compliant windows
Cobus Lourens from wooden window and door manufacturer, Swartland, says: “Even though the SANS 10400-XA regulations have been in force for quite some time, there are unfortunately still a multitude of non-compliant windows readily available on the market. This is extremely alarming, as a new build without compliant windows will not pass the building regulations and will be deemed unfit and hence, illegal.”

He points out that Swartland continuously tests its products to ensure that they are compliant with the SANS 613 and 204 (Fenestration Products) Mechanical Performance Criteria. Its Ready-2-Fit range of windows is tested for deflection, structural strength, water resistance, air-tightness, operating forces and energy-efficiency. As a result, they have unique mechanical property values, from A1 to A4, assigned to them.

The market is rife with non-compliance
Although there are currently no compulsory specifications for the manufacturing of windows, investing in compliant windows is imperative, says Schefferlie.

“Generally speaking, the most economical solution usually prevails, and the purchaser often does not insist on buying certified products as they don’t know any better. However, this is lethal for the future security of the build in question, as if it is deemed that it doesn’t meet the regulations, it will need to be rectified in order to be passed, and this could be an incredibly expensive procedure.”

He says at the moment, the number of problems and complaints arising from non-compliance are “too many to count”.

Beware of gorilla marketing
Schefferlie notes that one needs to obtain an AAAMSA performance test certificate confirming that the mechanical performance standards are met, as well as a SAFIERA (South African Fenestration and Insulation Energy Rating Authority) energy rating certificate confirming the thermal properties of the product.

Buyers also need to beware of gorilla marketing tactics. “It’s not a matter of one shoe fits all – make sure that the certificate of compliance is relevant to the specific fenestration products you are using.”

Who is liable?
Everybody involved in a project can be liable in some way or another if non-compliant windows are used. The owner of a property is typically considered to be the individual responsible for ensuring compliance with the SANS 10400-XA regulations, unless he or she has appointed a professional to specify the products for them, such as an architectural professional or engineering professional for example, who is then deemed to be liable for compliance assurances.

Schefferlie asserts: “The Consumer Protection Act casts a wide net to parties that may be held accountable if non-compliant fenestration products are used. So, to avoid any costly consequences, compliant windows are the only windows that should ever be specified and used in any building project.”

Tel: 011 671 0400
Website: www.swartland.co.za


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