The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in conjunction with the Screen Manufacturers Association (SMA) has developed a testing and certification program to ensure security screens meet certain minimum performance standards.
The certification program defines three levels of screens:
- “LIGHT” screens are used for protection against glass breakage in upper story windows.
- “MEDIUM” screens are used for protection against glass breakage and to provide some deterrent against forced entry for openings with difficult access, such as second floor windows.
- “HEAVY” screens are used to prevent glass breakage and act as a deterrent against forced entry for openings with easy access, such as first floor windows.
Therefore, where tenant security is an issue, security screens should be specified to meet the “HEAVY” performance test. The requirements are as follows:
- Impact Test: Resist 100 ft-lbs. of force without stretching the screen material more than 3” and without tearing the screen cloth at any point.
- Forced Entry Test: Resist a prying load of 150 pounds and simultaneous pulling load of 300 pounds without springing the lock or bending the frame.
- Sag Test: Resist 90 pounds of weight on the open screen with no more than a .063-inch sag in the screen.
By requiring that security screens pass the HUD “HEAVY” security screen test, the housing authority is assured it is purchasing screens that can provide a high level of security. These tests should be performed by an independent testing laboratory and certified by an agency such as the National Accreditation Management Institute. Be sure to ask for the necessary SMA specifications from your security screen manufacturer.