A Building Products Standard to Help Ensure Safety in Schools
Introduction to ASTM F3561
28 March 2023
In November 2021, the National Glass Association (NGA) formed its School Security Task Force to address school safety, with a focus on fenestration systems. Just eight months later, in July 2022, the NGA announced a new test method for forced-entry-resistance of fenestration systems. A month after that, ASTM F3561-22: Standard Test Method for Forced-Entry-Resistance of Fenestration Systems After Simulated Active Shooter Attack was published.
ASTM F3561 is primarily intended for building products like windows, doors, modular panels, glazings, and similar products, to ensure forced-entry protection after sustaining an active shooter attack. The test method for ASTM F3561 is carried out by using projectiles and mechanically driven impacts to weaken the fenestration system to simulate an active shooter trying to force entry into a building or classroom by breaking through a weakened door or window. The result is a forced-entry resistance rating level based on 1 - 8.
A minimum of three separate test specimens of identical construction per product type are required to be tested per the standard. For example, two single-door systems would be required to be evaluated for glazing/panel weakening and forced entry impact and one door system for lock weakening and forced entry impact. Systems tested are required to be full-size systems representative of production with all required hardware. All testing is done in a laboratory setting, field testing is not allowable under the standard. Additionally, it also states within the standard that there are prerequisite test standards, which vary depending on product type:
- ASTM F476 Standard Test Methods for Security of Swinging Door Assemblies
- ASTM F588 Standard Test Methods for Measuring the Forced Entry Resistance of Window Assemblies, Excluding Glazing Impact
- ASTM F842 Standard Test Methods for Measuring the Forced Entry Resistance of Sliding Door Assemblies, Excluding Glazing Impact
Glass/Panel and Lock Weakening Testing
The first part of testing in ASTM F3561 is conducted for glass/panel and lock weakening. There are two means of weakening device for the standard: ballistic firing mechanism and hole generation mechanism. The hole generation mechanism is an alternative to the ballistic firing mechanism and can only be used in glazing pre-evaluation testing. For doors that have locks, lock weakening tests are performed. Both of these tests are intended only to weaken and do not establish a ballistic resistance rating.
Forced Entry Testing
Forced entry testing is conducted on the products using an impactor or pendulum system that can deliver horizontal impacts. Forced entry impacts are completed after the weakening testing is completed.
Level of Performance
Using the forced-entry resistance rating referenced earlier, impact testing starts at Level 1 and increases from there. A specimen must pass two sequential impacts from the same drop height for it to pass that level. A door will qualify at the lowest level of forced entry determined from either the glazing/panel or lock impact testing.
ASTM F3561 was developed as an international standard to address a very specific safety need to which manufacturers of windows, doors, and glazings can test their products to ensure they perform as intended in certain situations. To learn more about the specific test methods covered in the standard, as well as what we've observed during testing to the standard, watch our on-demand webinar, ASTM F3561 Forced-Entry-Resistance of Fenestration Systems After Simulated Active Shooter Attack.