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In the late 1960s and 1970s, when ‘double glazing representatives’ started knocking on our doors, an awful lot of reasonably secure windows were replaced by windows that were not. Yes, some of them were more efficient at keeping the heat in the house and some of them would cut down the noise from outside. Most of them, however, were certainly not designed to be secure. To be fair to the industry at the time, burglary was not that high on the agenda during the 60s and early 70s and so little thought was given to security in their design.
Commonly, casement windows were held closed by a single non lockable handle, like they had always been, and the double glazed sealed units (something quite new for the time) could be popped out of their frames with ease using a screwdriver or chisel. Then the burglary started to rise and it wasn't surprising to find that it was the replacement windows that became the main target for forced entry.
By the mid 1980s the aluminium and PVC-U window profile manufacturers started to tackle these problems. Multipoint locking mechanisms started to be used and better systems to retain the double glazed units were introduced. Some windows that had been glazed externally were turned around so the vulnerable glazing beads were on the inside. Unfortunately there was no minimum security standard at this time and no independent testing available, so it was very much left to the householder to judge the claims being made by the manufacturer and to add extra security if necessary.
At about the same time the police crime prevention service started to take notice of research into how the built environment provided opportunity to commit crime. In 1989 a police project known as ‘Secured by Design’ was launched which set minimum security standards for new and refurbished homes. Advice was given to architects about how to set out a new housing estate and also how to secure the individual housing units.
By the early 90s the police were talking with some window manufacturers and their trade bodies, particularly the Glass and Glazing Federation and the British Standards Institute about the creation of a test standard for enhanced security windows. As a result of this work a test specification called PAS011: 1994 came about, which was later replaced by BS 7950: 1997 Specification for enhanced security performance of windows for domestic applications .
In 2012 this standard was replaced with PAS 24:2012 Enhanced security performance requirements for doorsets and windows in the UK. External doorsets and windows intended to offer a level of security suitable for dwellings and other buildings exposed to comparable risk.
The PAS 24 standard has since been updated further and the latest version is PAS 24:2016 Enhanced security performance requirements for doorsets and windows in the UK. Doorsets and windows intended to offer a level of security suitable for dwellings and other buildings exposed to comparable risk
Today we now have many hundreds of manufacturers producing secure windows of many different styles and materials that are certificated to this standard. You’ll be interested to learn that the UK was the first country in the world to make enhanced secure windows (and doors) for domestic use and their performance has been quite breathtaking. The Dutch quickly followed suit and slowly Europe got into the act with a standard called ‘EN 1627’ , although this standard is not exactly the same.