May 2019

Welcome to the new-look Australian window film e-newsletter.

WFAANZ presents this revamped newsletter,  complimenting our new industry website. Here, we deliver an independent account of news impacting Aussie tinters. It’s a forum where you can get updated, ask questions, share ideas and raise issues.

The tolerance in Victoria

In a positive move for Victorian tinters, VicRoads has issued a bulletin to all licensed vehicle testers confirming a five percentage point tolerance on VLT readings.

A VLT ‘tolerance’ accounts for the margin of error of electronic light meters, most of which have instructions that state a tolerance of +/- 5 percentage points should be applied to all readings.

The Licensed Vehicle Tester Bulletin August 2018 says, “As per the previous directives when measuring VLT there is a 5% tolerance. This tolerance means you cannot fail a vehicle unless the measured VLT is 5% lower than the legislated requirement. For example, if the window is allowed to have a 20% VLT you should not fail it unless it has a film applied to it and it reads below 15%.”

The points of note…

  • Front two windows (the driver and front passenger window) still has a 35% VLT limit, this has not changed
  • There is a new regulation covering windows rear of the B pillar, which now have a 20% VLT limit
  • The tolerance discussed here allows for a five percentage point differential (it’s not a calculation of 5% of the final reading)
  • So front windows can’t be failed unless the VLT reading is 29% or below, and rear windows can’t be failed unless the reading is 14% or below
  • Note in the last line the words “…has a film applied to it…”. This is because the regulations for privacy (factory tinted) glass are different to those covering aftermarket window film

Many car owners don’t know or understand the old regulations, let alone these revisions. That’s why it’s crucial tinters remain informed, and have a strategy in place that helps them communicate the laws succinctly and clearly. You’re encouraged to download a copy of the current regulations here, and have a read of our feature article in this newsletter, The clever way to say no.

The latest in spontaneous glass breakage

In February, a fourth floor window at the Adelaide Magistrate’s Court broke for no apparent reason during a lunch break, forcing the temporary closure of the building. Thankfully, no one was hurt. Read here for more information.

Again in February, Yahoo7 News noted a horrific tale from Tunisia, where the spontaneous explosion of a shower door caused serious injury to a British man on his Honeymoon. He required an operation and stitches for a deep wound. Read more here.

Earlier this year, WFAANZ was contacted by a home owner having trouble with his insurance agency. The agency claimed his randomly exploding pool fence could have been caused by a flying rock or other projectile. WFAANZ provided information regarding spontaneous glass breakage to help strengthen his claim. As luck would have it, his security cam captured the whole incident. Take a look at the video here and you be the judge – can you see a projectile of any kind?

Secret protection

When we talk ‘security’ you immediately think of film deterring ingress into a building or vehicle, or safety film holding glass shards in place after a window is broken.

But what about electronic and cyber security? Window film can play a vital role in prevention of the theft of data, information and intellectual property, which is particularly relevant for commercial and government buildings.

Anyone can buy a laser microphone from Amazon for around $200. This cheap and effective surveillance device enables the user to stand outside, point it through a window at a smooth surface (maybe a picture or wall), and it will pick up an audio signal. This is corporate espionage at its most basic. Imagine the secrets someone with real tech savvy could get their hands on.

Window film has been identified as a worthy inclusion in a comprehensive site plan to protect against this type of espionage.

Electronic equipment like cordless microphones, headsets, printers, wireless routers and remote and robotic controls can emit an infra-red (IR) signal. Some films can prevent the emission of these signals through the glass, while also stopping infra-red intrusion from devices like laser microphones.

The other characteristic making radio frequency (RF) and IR films more appealing is they can optimise the performance of the building’s WiFi, as they contain the WiFi signals and prevent ‘leakage’ and hacking. You know when you drive down a street and can suddenly see a list of WiFi options? That’s leakage, and even though you can’t access those networks without a password, the performance of those systems are weakened.

When you get a window film with a variety of benefits – RF and IR protection, solar control, safety, blast mitigation, etc. – you get a product with a lot of appeal to security, building and facility managers tasked with the job of protecting the building, its occupants and their data.

Ally Cronan, WFAANZ President, comments, “In an age where electronic protection is at a premium, these benefits highlight how technological advances continue to consolidate the relevancy of window film.”

Glass doors are in, sticky beaks are out

You want your home to be warm and welcoming – but not so welcoming that strangers knocking on your door can see what’s going on inside.

Doors with stunning glass panels are more than a design trend, they’re now a design norm, with an array of different styles to choose from. While home owners may enjoy the modernity of a glass front door, the lack of privacy and compromised security can be problematic.

Grant and Shaleen from All Tint had one such client, at whose house they installed a frosted film on a dramatic magenta front door (pictured here). Done purely for privacy, this job was one of many in the Northlakes home, including a kitchen splashback and panels in the pantry, laundry and hallway.

Proving the power of word of mouth, All Tint was then hired to tint the home next door to this one.

New website means new opportunities for tinters

If you haven’t already, we encourage you to take a few minutes to check out the new window film website. Laying the foundation of the WFAANZ communication platform, it’s the first stop for anyone wanting to learn about the benefits and types of film, Australian tinting laws, WERS For Film or for those wanting to find a tinter they can trust.

The redesign makes it easier to navigate. It’s more intuitive, guiding users through each page to ensure they can readily access the info they need – all the while promoting our members.

It’s a content management system, so we at WFAANZ can update it daily to ensure it continues to meet the changing needs of our markets. As such, feel free to take a look and give us your feedback and suggestions for improvement, emailing your comments here. It’s there to serve our members, so your input is always welcome.

Ways to get involved…

  • Let us know if your details change so we can update your listing in the member directory
  • Send us in photos of jobs you’ve worked on so we can add them to the gallery page, with a link to your website as a free promotion
  • The contractor directory is for any tinter (member or non member) wanting to advertise their services to other tinters looking for contractors. Please note, while all tinters can advertise (for free) the actual directory can only be accessed by members
  • Include a link to our site on your website to ensure we both benefit from the added SEO. SEO is search engine optimisation – which helps your website get closer to the top of Google search results

FEATURE ARTICLE

The clever way to say no

Yes, it’s unfair new cars have privacy glass as low as 5% VLT and you can’t tint to match. And yes, customer expectations can be skewed when they don’t understand the regulations. And yes, the new 20% limit on rears has added to the confusion.

None of these are reason enough to tint illegally though.

Taking the stance to comply with tint laws is more than just a question of ethics. Back in the 80s the government almost banned auto film altogether because illegal tint was so prolific. That situation proved that ignoring the rules has the potential to jeopardise the auto tint industry altogether.

All tinters are in the same boat when it comes to customers requesting dark (illegal) tint. What differentiates the professionals from the rest is the way they handle the situation.

WFAANZ has heard of some businesses making customers sign a waiver, to purportedly absolve them of responsibility regarding the illegal tint. Just so you know, that waiver may not protect the tint business in a courtroom if the film is found to be a contributing factor in an accident. In fact, it could easily work against them as it proves they knew the tint was illegal.

The most common reason I’m given from auto tinters who operate outside the rules is they don’t want to turn business away, which makes some sense. But wouldn’t it make more sense to convince their clients to abide by the rules in the interests of risk management, customer relations, reputation, community safety and industry longevity?

Here, WFAANZ talks to two tinters who do just that.

Michael Miller, Vision Window Tinting, NSW.

We take a strong stance not to tint darker than legal, and my business does not suffer for it, in fact I’m convinced it has the opposite effect.

I often get car owners contacting me with a firm idea of how dark they want their windows. If they want darker than legal, I see it as my responsibility to change their mind, while reassuring them the film’s performance won’t be compromised.

One of the tools I use is a heat box. Each side of the box has a different film applied with different VLT levels – 5%, 35%, 70% and clear. These can be turned, while the customer holds their hand inside. It physically demonstrates that a legal film can have the same, if not greater impact on heat rejection as a dark film. I’ve found this extremely effective as it’s so tangible, they can actually feel the results and it backs up what I’m saying – you don’t need a dark film to stop the heat.

The other bit of info people always find interesting is that ultra violet (UV) light is blocked by UV inhibitors built into the laminating and mounting adhesives within the layers of film. This has nothing to do with the film’s VLT, it’s more to do with the film’s construction.

Using nanotechnology, manufacturers control the size at the molecular level of the particles used when adding coatings to window film. The film can then be made to allow parts of the sun’s energy to enter the film, like visible light, while infra-red and UV can be rejected.

Once the customer understands more about the films available, how they’re made, what they do and how they do it, it’s never too much of a leap to then get them to tint within the legal limits.

Much of our business comes from repeat customers and referrals, and our customers safety is far more important than making a quick buck. In most cases, I get the feeling they appreciate my taking the time to help them out. If our efforts fail to sway people away from the need to have a dark and dangerous film installed, we will allow customers to take their business to someone who is happy to run the risk.

 

Andrew Booth, All About Window Tinting, Victoria

Installing illegal tint on your customer’s vehicle isn’t doing anyone any favours. You’re not doing them a favour because they could get pulled over and fined by the cops. Their car will be deemed un-roadworthy and Film will be required to be removed.

You’re not doing yourself any favours because it’ll damage your reputation as the customer will blame you for the issue, not to mention what trouble you could be in legally if they ever get in accident.

And you’re definitely not doing the industry any favours if the government bans film because of huge amount the illegal tint on the roads.

If someone’s dead keen on illegal film, I simply take a few minutes to understand why. Asking them a few questions about what they want to achieve helps me know what to say to convince them otherwise.

For example, if it’s to protect them self and their family from UV exposure, my response is simple – legal film offers the same UV rejection. If it’s for solar control I can explain that 35% VLT on the front and 20% VLT on all rears will make for a massive difference to the heat of their car.

If it’s someone who is doing it just for the look – they want the gangster look of dark windows – I use a different spiel again. What I’ve found works best with this type of customer is the list of deterrents:

  • You’re more likely to get pulled over by police and receive a fine. In Victorian police look out for this sort of thing and they can carry a VLT metre
  • You will not pass rego inspection
  • If you’re in an accident, you may not be covered by insurance
  • You may have to pay to have the film removed, and then you’re back to square one but you’ve wasted money on applying and then removing the film

Having the actual regulations on hand to show to the customer when needed helps too. Editor’s comment: you can download these here.

ASK AWAY

My shower screen smashed for no reason. There were no chips or cracks around the edges, no earth tremors or construction work nearby. I want info on having the new shower screen fitted with safety film. I want my ensuite shower fitted too. If I’m unable to force my landlord to put safety film on both showers, I’ll pay for it myself. Do you put the film on both sides of the glass? Do you do the whole shower or is the door enough?

The likely cause is nickel sulphide (NiS) inclusion, which causes spontaneous glass breakage and makes the whole pane shatter. You can’t tell if the glass will have the NiS inclusions and while many panes of glass do have these, they don’t always break.

There is a risk the other panes of glass in your shower could have the same issue, so I agree it is wise to have safety film fitted. The film to use would be 100 micron (also called 4mil) clear safety film and if you use a WFAANZ member installer then you’ll be confident it meets the Australian Standards for human impact as well.

You only need to install it on the outside face, no need to do both faces. I would recommend doing all the panes, having multi sided frames does help to keep the particles in place but by no means is it safe. Showers are wet and slippery areas so not having safety film to hold the fragments together poses a risk of cutting injury if someone tries walking on the broken glass.

With toughened glass there is a process called heat soaking done by manufacturers at extra cost, which can help to reduce the risk of NiS breakage, but even that is not conclusive. The only way to be sure is to have safety film fitted.

Whom will have to pay is up to your negotiation with your landlord and/or body corporate, but I would think you have a justifiable case. It is a serious injury risk and how can you be confident about the new glass or the other panes of glass still there? Hopefully you can argue this is their duty of care.

My customer has sand blasted glass, so I can’t put safety film on the inside of the glass. The glass is only 3mil thick. Can you please advise what I can do?

To provide safety, the film’s high strength adhesive needs to be in good contact with the glass. The sand blast glass should just be rough on one side, so if the exterior side is smooth and not sand blasted then it’s OK put an external-rated safety film on that face. Note that external film will have a lesser lifespan due to exposure to the elements, so you’ll need to replace it at some stage. The manufacturer’s warranty is a good gauge of when to replace it to ensure the glass is still safe from breakage.

I often get asked to provide an official glazing audit, and I do not have the necessary credentials to provide one. Is there a list of glaziers who conduct glazing audits that I can refer to?

WFAANZ contacted the AWA to determine if there was a list of qualified glaziers who conduct glazing audits that we could make accessible to our members. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as that. From the AWA: “We don’t have a list of glaziers who perform glazing inspections. In theory, any glazier who has done a Cert III in Glass & Glazing can conduct them, however not every accredited glazier wants to do them. The two pathways we normally recommend is to reach out to one of the two big national glazing networks in Express Glass and O’Briens for people wanting assessment/testing.”

The time to join

With a fresh website, revised VLT regulations, opportunities for inclusion in government energy programs and a push for support regarding safety film, there’s never been a better time to join WFAANZ.

New members who join between now and the end of the financial year will have their yearly membership extend to the end of the 2019 – 2020 period.

If you’re a tinter who is committed to this industry, please consider adding your voice to the many who already reap the rewards of WFAANZ membership. Download a membership benefits document here, or the registration form here.