Welcome to the October 2020 issue of Window Film News.
Amid the craziness of 2020 some tinters are experiencing a boom due to people spending more time at home, while others are still barely getting by. WFAANZ sends a resounding shout out to Melbourne tinters who are finally allowed to work again. The situation this year highlights that businesses fare best during a crisis are the ones which adapt, and WFAANZ is just a phone call or email away if you need help on that front. In the meantime, we hope you get something out of this collection of news stories currently impacting our industry.
Melbourne tinters, back in the game
After a gruelling 112 days in lockdown, Melbourne metro tinters could legally open for business when Third Step restrictions came into effect at 11.59pm, Tuesday 27th October.
A reminder that all businesses in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria must complete a COVIDSafePlan, you are also required to meet your obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 and you must comply with a request to present or modify your COVIDSafePlan if directed to do so by an Authorised Officer or WorkSafe Inspector.
The Victorian State Government COVIDSafe Plan Template has been uploaded to the WFAANZ website for anyone who needs help getting their plan in order.
To the tinters across Australia and New Zealand under lockdown this year who stuck it out, devised creative ways to protect your business while physical tinting was off the table, while juggling home schooling and making massive sacrifices – please know that WFAANZ applauds your efforts.
WFAANZ & VicRoads working together to quash confusion
It can’t be denied. When it comes to VLT limits, there is still confusion in Victoria among car owners, licensed vehicle testers, police and in some cases, tinters. WFAANZ identified the best way to combat these questions was to work with VicRoads to ensure all involved parties know the rules.
So that’s what we did. WFAANZ and VicRoads have embarked on a campaign to educate people on the rules surrounding VLT, reflectance, windscreens and privacy glass.
We created this fact sheet, which answers all commonly asked questions in simple terms. All Victorian WFAANZ members are encouraged to print it out, display it, upload it, post it, email it…whatever you can do to help us spread the word far and wide. The more people who know and understand the regulations, the better.
Some members have already requested their logo be added to this document, so they can present it as a branded marketing material for their business. Let me know via firstname.lastname@example.org if this is of interest.
WFAANZ appreciates the assistance of VicRoads in disseminating this information. VicRoads is committed to…
- Creating a new Window Tinting page online, which has already been done – check it out here
- Emailing our VLT fact sheet to every licensed vehicle tester in October, as part of its regular bulletin communique
- Uploading the VLT fact sheet to the online licensed vehicle tester portal, if possible
An article based on our fact is set to appear in the next Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA) monthly newsletter, sent to over 1,000 subscribers. AADA is the peak industry body representing franchised new car dealers in Australia.
This information has also been sent to communication channels within Victorian Police, including Police Life magazine, in the hope of raising awareness among officers.
New VLT bulletins for QLD & SA
Both Queensland’s Department of Transport & Mains Roads and South Australia’s Department of Infrastructure & Transport have new 2020 versions of their VLT information bulletins, released May 2020 (QLD) and February 2020 (SA). WFAANZ emailed copies of these bulletins to tinters last month. For these and all other info bulletins for each State/Territory, please visit the Regulations – automotive page of this website.
All you need to know about VLT exemptions
“If an Aussie car owner has a medical condition exacerbated by sun exposure, or if they have a regular passenger with same, are they legally allowed to have darker tint?”. To get to the bottom of the issue once and for all WFAANZ contacted each state transport authority to create a VLT Medical Exemption technical bulletin. This has been sent to all members. Email email@example.com if you did not receive a copy.
Window film helps community building soak up the sun
The Bayswater Early Years Hub, otherwise known as “Sunflower”, is a new community building in Victoria offering day care, maternal health and supporting family services.
The project comprises two U shaped buildings orientated to maximise the use of sunlight, it can run off grid and has a 100+ year lifecycle. Leading design principles – access to natural light and solar control – reduces reliance on artificial lighting and cooling. Solar control film, solar batteries, rainwater harvesting, and other sustainable initiatives help this building set a new benchmark for environmental design in local government.
Learning about NatHERS
If you install solar control or Low E flat glass film, then you should also know about NatHERS. The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) is a star rating system that gives the energy efficiency of a home a rating out of ten, based on its design. Tinters keen to learn more about the program should watch this short video.
Getting cosy with safety film
Where glass forms a backrest to a window seat with the glass extending down to within 500mm of seat level, the glazing must be Grade A safety glass or annealed glass not less than 5 mm thick (AS1288-2006).
This is something to keep in mind when discussing the applications of safety film in the home.
New certification requirement for NSW auto glaziers
Massive changes to NSW motor industry laws were announced earlier this year. WFAANZ spoke to NSW Fair Trading and confirmed this will NOT affect NSW auto tinters, but it does affect auto glaziers.
From 1 November 2021 NSW auto glaziers must hold an applicable Motor Vehicle Repairers Licence for the Auto Glass Class of Repair work, issued by NSW Fair Trading and renewed every three years.
To be eligible for that license, they must have completed AUR20916 Certificate II in Automotive Body Repair Technology – Glazing Stream OR Cert III in Automotive Glazing Technology AUR32216.
WFAANZ acknowledges the work undertaken by the Auto Glass Association to lobby for a delay to the start date of this program, in doing so giving industry stakeholders much-needed time to organise certification.
FEATURE ARTICLES: Backseat Bandits
Babyseats & boosters
In a recent dispute between a customer and tinter, the customer claimed the tinter removed her baby seat without permission, damaged it and then incorrectly reinstalled it.
This is a serious safety consideration for auto tinters – how to handle this process in such a way as to avoid customer complaint, possible litigation, reputation damage or worse, a tragic accident.
The most effective method of ensuring compliance and transparency is to place the onus of removing and reinstalling the baby seat entirely on the car owner.
At the time of booking the job, ask the question about whether a child seat is in the back seat. If the answer is yes, instruct the car owner to remove the seat prior to dropping off the vehicle. This is the safest and best way to ensure zero liability, which also means you cannot be accused of damaging the seat or adjusting the straps.
A child seat should never be removed from a vehicle without the customer’s prior knowledge and approval. If your approach is to remove the child seat for your customer, there should at the very least be a provision within your Terms & Conditions that is sent/provided to the customer at the quoting stage, regarding the possible removal of a child seat for the sake of access.
This should of course be reiterated during the vehicle inspection stage at the time of drop off. Verbal approval should be gained from the customer and/or a waiver physically signed at that time. You must make it clear at this stage that you cannot reinstall the baby seat (unless you are a licensed child restraint installer).
Some other considerations…
- If you know the seat will need to be removed when you sight the vehicle for the first time, talk your customer through the process and explain that you cannot reinstall it
- When removing the seat, do not adjust any straps
- When putting the seat back in the vehicle at the conclusion of the job, don’t sit it upright. Lay it on its side or upside down so it’s obvious that it has not been reinstalled
- WFAANZ recommends you find the authorised restraint fitting stations near you. You could even contact one and ask if your businesses can work together, you recommending their services to your customers and them doing the same for you. Handing your customer a business card of a licensed local baby seat fitter is a great value add that will leave a lasting impression
Window tint versus window shade: the no brainer
Protecting kids from the sun, making the journey more comfortable to offset whinging, limiting UV exposure, preventing glare so they can watch their device, making it easier for a baby to sleep – there’s lots of valid reasons car owners with kids consider a treatment for the back windows of their vehicle.
Here, we look at why tint beats a window shade, every day of the week.
According to this saferide4kids article: “Window tinting is by far the most preferred method of keeping sun rays away from a car’s interior. It is more convenient and you will not have to repeat the installation process once it’s done.”
The problems with shades…
- Child Protection Services in the USA do not recommend using window shades that suction cup to the window or have hard plastic pieces as they could become a projectile in the event of a crash
- You can’t open the window when the shade is attached
- Finding the perfect sized shade to fit your window can be tricky, so they don’t always cover the entire glass surface
- You have to take them off and on, which can compromise the fitting device to the extent they don’t attach properly after a while
The benefit of professionally installed window film within the legal VLT limits…
- It’s permanent
- No obstruction of the entire glazed surface
- Reduced glare, sun and heat
- Increased safety from shattered glass
- Deterrence of theft of objects in the car or the car itself
- UV control
- Protects the interior of the vehicle from fading and sun damage
QUOTES OF NOTE
My question revolves around slip solutions. What are the pros and cons of using manufactures slip solutions to a tinters own solution?
A slip solution must be pH neutral or pH positive – depending on the film adhesive. As most detergents contain various grease cutting agents that can reduce the effectiveness of film adhesives and shorten their life, the safest approach is to use the slip solution recommended from your film supplier that matches the product your installing, one that has an established track-record and is proven to be reliable in the long term.
Tinters must also be mindful of the mixing ratio instructions that can be found on the label of the slip solution they’re using.
Johnsons Baby Shampoo was popular in the past as it is pH neutral. It should be noted, however, there have been instances of low adhesion of certain security films with this detergent, so the advice is to steer away from it – even if you’re not installing a security film.
Many tinters are in the practise of adding Isopropyl Alcohol to their slip solution, to speed up the drying process. To the knowledge of WFAANZ, there are no negative effects of this practice, with some international technical departments actually recommending it for colder climates or thick films with poor sun exposure, etc.
Does installing film on Low E glass negate its Low E properties? Does it therefore also change the window’s WERS rating?
A film applied directly to the side of the glass with the Low E coating will negate the Low E properties of the glazing. Note, this is also the case with condensation forming on the Low E glass surface. It follows then that applying a film onto the Low E coated surface of the glass will change the WERS rating of the window.
This question is complex, however, as there are high performance Low E films with similar ‘centre of glass’ Low E (U-Value) performance to that of single pane Low E coated glass.
Here’s an example. An existing Low E coated glass is filmed with a high performance Low E film. Even though the Low E coating of the glass will cease to work, the Low E ability of the film will provide similar and in some cases better performance than the glass alone.
One caveat here is that this claim refers to ‘centre of glass’ values, which means glass + film only – not the frame. Centre of glass value is not a WERS rating. In the example above you cannot claim the WERS rating of the whole window with film applied will be the same or better performance than before, because WERS film ratings are modelled with generic, poor performing window frames. So even though we have not changed the frame at all in this example, a WERS rating for the window would have to default to the standard WERS for Film rating – which unfortunately increases the U-Value significantly showing worse performance.
To put it into simpler terms – installing a high performance Low E film over single pane Low E glass will change the WERS rating of the window, but not necessarily the ‘real world’ performance.
The WERS rating is required to obtain an occupancy certificate when the building is completed. At WFAANZ, we often see instances of people moving into their new home with Low E glass, which has met the WERS requirements, only to discover it’s far too hot. They then seek a film solution. If your customer is concerned about continuing the Low E performance of their glass but also knocking out some heat, then a high performance Low E film will tick both boxes.
Is ‘gap free’ / trimming technique supported or recommended by WFAANZ? Is the ‘gap for expansion’ reason a myth?
There are two main reasons for tinters wanting to trim rubbers. Firstly, they can better achieve a “no gap” install, and secondly, as the end of the rubber wedge is the dirtiest it helps flush out dirt which equals less contamination. Despite this, tinters must be extremely careful when modifying the window unit in any way. Even though a tinter may typically only trim the rubber a couple of mm, it means they were the last to work on/modify that building component and therefore a case could be made they are then responsible for it, in accordance with National Construction Code guidelines. Tinters are not glaziers, the rubbers were sized by the manufacturer for a reason, plus, they perform air/water sealing and structural functions.
While we recognise why tinters trim rubbers, WFAANZ recommends against the practice for the reasons stated above.
Regarding your gap for expansion question, i.e. is a daylight gap a good approach to avoid film being lifted at the edge when the glass expands?
Using the basic expansion calculations found here, in a 2.4m pane of glass with a 30 degree temperature change, there would be a 0.65mm expansion. In this instance, if you had the film very tight to the rubber it is feasible that if the glass expanded, the rubber could interfere with the film edge and peel it.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some metal films can suffer ‘galvanic corrosion’ in aluminium frame windows. The further the film is from the aluminium frame, the less the chance of corrosion. This shouldn’t be an everyday reason to install with gaps as the films should be stable enough to avoid corrosion or ask for edge seal if not, but it can very occasionally happen.
From Nicole Burns, Tint Ur Pride: “Thank you so much for taking the time to thoroughly answer my question – your response was spot on and exactly what I was after. It’s great to have you guys to lean on to answer these questions that would otherwise go unanswered.”
Window film stars
Have you seen the window film installation video we recently posted?
One of the ways WFAANZ supports our members is by helping with the production of marketing materials, just like this video we created for new member Zavita.
They sent us the footage, and we turned it into a snappy video.
Images are another tool we use to support our members, like these shots from Alpine Tint. We used their before and after glass temperature images, and created a social media graphic that was viewed hundreds of times and now sits in the WFAANZ online gallery. The photos show how the windows in a Beechworth home were 10 degrees warmer after the application of a dual climate film, which is quite something considering the outside temperature was a chilly 8 degrees.
If you have images or video of jobs you’re proud of that you’d like to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss ways we can work together to both promote your business and the industry as a whole – at no cost to you of course.
WERS For Film accreditation a plus during the current crisis
It’s hard and costly to maintain a comfortable temperature in a home with a low energy star rating. This becomes more of an issue as people spend more time at home, and a person’s physical and mental health can suffer if it’s too hot or cold. Addressing these issues with window film AND issuing a WERS For Film energy certificate ensures the homeowner reaps every advantage – in terms of immediate comfort and a future advantage when selling the home.
Smart tinters with WERS For Film accreditation have identified this opportunity, and are promoting their credentials during this time when home improvement is a high priority.
For more information about becoming accredited download the WERS For Film brochure.
So you just joined WFAANZ, now what?
The more you engage with our programs, the more bang you’ll get for your buck when it comes to membership. Some suggestions on how to get the most out of a WFAANZ membership can be found in this new document, which you can download here.
Who runs WFAANZ?
A committee of members, comprising tinters and film distributors. All votes are equal, and each company only gets one vote. Any member can nominate themselves to join the committee. Due to COVID we’ve been holding all meeting via Microsoft Meetings (just like Zoom), so committee members don’t even have to leave their office/home/workshop to get involved.
Visit About WFAANZ in this website to learn more or to take a look at who currently sits on the committee.
A reminder that WFAANZ produces 35% VLT cards, available for purchase through the secretariat.
The cards are sold to tinters, police departments and automotive product retailers around the country. Members enjoy a significantly reduced rate
Contact Deb for more information at email@example.com.