Glass installed in schools

Glass can be a hazard at schools if it breaks. As a board of trustees, you need to manage this hazard, including knowing what kind of glass to install and what standards you need to comply with.

Meeting your health and safety responsibilities

Keeping people safe from the hazards of broken glass is part of your overall health and safety responsibilities. We recommend you review your school’s health and safety systems against the 11 key components of an effective health and safety system. This will help you meet the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (external link) .

Deciding on the type of glass

Give the information on this page to your project manager and contractors fitting new or replacement glass at your school.

Grade A safety glass

You must use Grade A safety glass in these situations:

  1. Where there is a risk of people falling against it.
  2. In all doors and panels around doors.
  3. In buildings where there is a higher risk, such as:
    • gyms and swimming pools
    • buildings that are within 6 metres of playgrounds, courts or playing fields
    • halls, viewing galleries or grandstands.
  4. When installing or replacing glass in a building where the glass starts less than 1.6 metres from the lowest point, such as the ground, the floor, outside decking or any raised seating.

Where a window begins less than 1.6 metres from the ground, and goes higher than 1.6 metres, take the safety glazing to the top of the window or to the next transom (the horizontal cross piece of the window).

Where the window begins at ground level and goes up to 2 metres or higher, use safety glazing unless the glass is protected by mesh, guards or some other similar protection.

Other glass

In all other cases, all glass should be installed to New Zealand Standard 4223.3:1999 (external link) .

In some cases, you may need to install Grade B wired glass, which is fire rated, according to New Zealand Standard 4223.3:1999. Your project manager or contractor will be able to advise you.

Double glazing

You may wish to upgrade your windows to double glazing. If you’re using aluminium, make sure you use frames that are thermally broken or insulated. Aluminium is a good conductor of heat so if it is cold outside, the frames will be cold inside and suffer from condensation.

Anti-graffiti film

A common issue for schools is the scratching or etching of glass by vandals. One solution is to install an anti-graffiti film. This is an optically clear protective film that is applied to exterior glazing to prevent glass damage.

Maintaining your glazing

You should check the glass in your school regularly. If there are changes to your school, such as new courts being built, this could introduce new hazards and ordinary glass may have to be replaced with safety glass.

Paying for glass

Pay for glass in new buildings or alterations out of your project budget, for example, an upgrade project paid for with 5 Year Agreement (5YA) funding.

To pay for replacing broken glass or to install new safety glass, use your school’s Property Maintenance Grant (PMG) funding.

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