In the UK construction industry, the issue of non-fragile rooflights is a highly contentious subject; on average there are 10 deaths per year resulting from people falling through fragile rooflights, because legislation is less than perfect and allow the continued fitting of cheaper fragile versions.
Impact Solutions was approached by a Client to provide an understanding of the mechanism of damage in their glass-reinforced rooflights, the ultimate aim being to develop a cost-effective, superior rooflight structure.
Tools were developed to rapidly assess the resistance of rooflights to walk-on damage, which provided a means of relating panel performance to its structure. Although full scale impact testing of development structures was necessary to prove the product, the small-scale tests gave a reliable assessment tool and were subsequently used to prove product supply alternatives.
Application of these methods to a carefully designed material set led to the optimisation of panel performance at a reduced commercial cost.
A major additional benefit from the product optimisation was a panel profile and thickness which has excellent compatibility with existing metal profiles.
Spin-out technology from a separate project led to the use of nano-particulate colouring dyes, which have provided the new product with distinctiveness and “safety branding”. Excellent transparency of the product was also maintained.
Accelerated testing was successfully performed in two centres to provide key information with regard to weathering or UV exposure. This has enabled the product lifetime to be confidently predicted at a minimum of 45 years.
In summary, this development has led to a “step-out” rooflight product in terms of structural optimization, construction compatibility, distinctiveness and a unique 45 year guarantee.