Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Windows in BAL-FZ

We've been investigating costs for the supply of BAL-FZ-compliant windows and doors over the past few days.

What a drama!

The problem with BAL-FZ is that very few companies have had their products tested to this level and when you mention that we're building to that standard, otherwise cooperative salespeople turn us away with a cold shoulder.

We've known for a while now that there's at least one company who can supply BAL-FZ-compliant windows - that's Paarhammer, and their "associated" company Sonneschutz who supply fire shutters. The problem seems to be that since they have a near-monopoly on this corner of the market, they can get away with charging Mucho Dollaro for their products - from memory, for our 17 windows and 3 external doors, we were looking at somewhere in the region of seventy thousand dollars (I had to type that in words because my keyboard ran out of zeros).

I'm not sure I can bring myself to spend that much coin on windows (read: we don't have it)... which leaves us with a dilemma.

I'm quite capable at carpentry and I know I'm able to build these windows myself - I made all the windows and our bifold doors in our current house - but the big question mark surrounds compliance with BAL-FZ. BAL-40 allows frames to be made from certain species of timber providing they're protected by steel flashing, but there's conflicting language in the code for -FZ. On the one hand it says that timber framed windows and doors are NOT PERMISSIBLE (their caps, not mine), but then elsewhere it says that windows which comply with BAL-40 can be used in -FZ when suitable screens and shutters are fitted.

That aside, I'm still in the dark as to whether I am allowed to make these myself and comply with the code, or whether I'd have to have a window of my design tested by CSIRO.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Simon, we're in the same FZ boat, even though we live in the bush in suburban Hornsby (Sydney). I think you would have to prove that your windows conformed to the 1530.8.2 standard which would mean testing to destruction by some agency like CSIRO. Having said that, it will probably depend on your certifying authority as to whether you got away without the testing. A risk.