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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe

    Queensland leads the way with high-rise glass safety tests

    Minister for Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Queensland leads the way with high-rise glass safety tests

    New high-rise glass window panes will be safer when a national test championed by Queensland takes effect on May 1.

    Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Stirling Hinchliffe said the State Government had successfully campaigned for a national safety upgrade of new window panes for high-rise buildings.

    Mr Hinchliffe said in recent years glass had spontaneously failed and fallen from high-rise buildings in Brisbane’s central business district. He said the new heat soaking tests were designed to detect any flaws before the glass was installed.

    “This is an issue that has plagued cities around the world,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

    “This problem led us to seek action on the issue which we then brought to the attention of other states and territories.

    “Late last year the Australian Building Codes Board agreed to implement a national test for impurities in new toughened glass panes by heat soaking them.

    “This latest achievement will help stop impure panes of new toughened glass being fitted in tall buildings where sufficient protection from falling glass, such as balconies or awnings, is not provided.

    “It involves any domestically produced or imported glass being heat soaked to identify the nickel sulphide impurities that can lead to failures.

    “From 1 May, a new test for new high-rise glass window panes will be phased in over a 12-month period to allow industry to adjust.’’

    Mr Hinchliffe said from May 1 the Australian Building Code would be amended to include the new test provisions. The test, for glass in all windows more than 5m above floor or ground level, will become mandatory in May 2011.

    “In simple terms it involves heat soaking the glass for two hours at 280 degrees Celsius to see whether it will break,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

    “Glass for windows in high-rises must already be manufactured to an Australian Standard but from May 1 toughened glass will also be heat soaked to further protect the public.”

    Mr Hinchliffe said it was important to note the test would not fix glass failure problems for existing buildings.

    “It’s not realistic to expect that all glass in older buildings could be replaced due to the massive costs involved in such an exercise,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

    “However, those responsible for existing buildings should regularly inspect existing glass and where failures have occurred or are likely to occur, suitable protection measures should be provided.”

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