Blog

Why domestic blinds should not be installed in schools
Category: All,Regulations,Technical
By: John James

The above picture says it all and we come across it often in schools – budgets are stretched so why not buy blinds at low prices from a domestic blinds e-commerce website and get the site manager to install them?

There are two main reasons why this often turns out to be an expensive mistake – quality and safety.

Quality
The quality of the hardware on many domestic grade blinds simply isn’t good enough for more robust environments. Plastic control chains or cheap nickel plated metal ball chains break easily, and low-grade plastic chain mechanisms become brittle when exposed to UV rays. Aluminium tubes tend to be 28mm or at best 32mm diameter – fine for small kitchen windows but they start to bow when installed at a window more than 1800mm wide.

Whilst fabric colour and type for domestic blinds is diverse, it is primarily designed to look nice in your home. High-performance fabrics that will reduce glare and heat whilst being tear resistant and easy to clean are reserved for the non-domestic sector.

The end result is illustrated by this picture which was taken by our surveyor at a school last week. A school is stuck with blinds that can’t be operated, through fear they will break and require money spent repairing them.

Safety
Fire regulations stipulate that blinds installed in public buildings (including schools) must be fire retardant to BS 5867. Blinds for domestic properties are not required to meet this standard. By installing domestic blinds in your school you are contravening fire safety laws unless the fabric is fire retardant to BS 5867.

The blinds in this picture do not comply with BSEN 13120 Child Safety legislation – a law that e-commerce sites find difficult to advise and insist on as they are not responsible for installation. The child safety law says that blinds with looped control cords installed into publically accessible buildings (including schools) where children aged 0-42 months may have access must be fitted with a chain retainer and fitted at least 1.5m from the floor.  

By sticking with an experienced blinds supplier who specialises in manufacturing blinds for the education sector you will not only have the peace of mind that your blinds are covered by a backed 5 year or even 25-year guarantee,  you have the reassurance that your blinds are compliant to all relevant fire and child safety legislation.

About the author

John James Marketing Director