What is IWA 14? The Definitive Guide to IWA 14-1


28 Jan, 2021

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    28 Jan, 2021

    What is IWA 14?

    Underwritten by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the IWA 14-1 standard is an impact test detailing the method and means of measuring the performance outcome for impact-tested vehicle security barriers (VSB).

    Originally published in 2013 the IWA 14-1 standard draws on elements from two major impact test standards, PAS 68 and ASTM F2656/F2656M (American Society for Testing and Materials stand for vehicle security barriers).

    The IWA 14-1 standard aimed to unite and provide a clear, international test certification for security consultants and specifiers to compare HVM products against identical testing methodologies. These are the most common standards you will find for hostile vehicle mitigation (HVM) bollards, road blockers and vehicle barriers.

    This guide will provide a walkthrough of an example product rating, explaining each section.

    IWA 14-1 was designed to be considered the ‘world’s impact test standard’, with input from the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure, the British Standards Institute, and the US Department of State, among others.

    What does IWA 14 stand for?

    IWA stands for ‘International Workshop Agreement’ and is overseen by the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO).

    Now you know what it stands for, but what exactly is the ‘International Workshop Agreement?’ Unlike most documents overseen by the ISO, the IWA 14-1 standard was developed outside the usual committee system.

    This allowed key industry players to negotiate in an open workshop environment allowing them to shape the IWA standard.

    The diagram below shows the steps needed to develop an international workshop agreement.

    Making sense of the IWA 14 rating

    For those of you who are familiar with BSI PAS 68 or have read the previous section on this British impact test specification (sometimes referred to as a standard), this code will look familiar, although there are important differences.

    Again, the best way to explain the IWA 14-1 rating is to break it down, step-by-step.

    For this, we will be using our Centurion Bollard as an example as it has been fully certified to the IWA 14-1 standard.

    Test method

    Similar to PAS 68, the IWA 14-1 rating starts with the type of test that was conducted. V denotes that a vehicle impacted the product.

    IWA 14-1 differs from ISO 22343 and PAS 68 in that vehicle tests are the only method used. ISO 22343 and PAS 68 also allow for simulated and pendulum tests.

    Vehicle type

    Next, we have the type of vehicle that was used for the test.

    This section shows the vehicle type and its mass. As with ISO 22343 and PAS 68, the vehicle mass is measured in kilograms, so our Centurion Bollard was tested with a 7,200 kg vehicle.

    Whilst IW 14, PAS 68, and ISO 22343 can test a similar range of vehicle types and masses, the classifications differ (although confusingly, the same code is sometimes used across different standards to describe different vehicles). To avoid confusion, we strongly recommend you consult an expert.

    Test speed

    After the vehicle type, you have the target test speed measured in kilometres per hour (kph).

    For IWA 14-1 the impact speed can range from 16-112 kph, though the speeds you will most commonly see are 32 kph (20 mph), 48 kph (30 mph), 64 kph (40 mph) and 80 kph (50 mph).

    In our example of the Centurion Bollard, it was tested at a target speed of 80 kph (50 mph).


    Impact angle

    Next, you have the intended angle of impact for the test.

    This will usually be 90° however you will sometimes see 30° and 45°.

    The 30° and 45° test certifications are appropriate for applications with a shallow angle of attack such as bridge protection.

    You must also be careful as some products will be directional and may perform at 45° but not at 225°.

    Impact penetration

    Vehicular penetration shows how far in metres the load-carrying part of the vehicle travelled passed the VSB datum line. The datum line is the point from which vehicle penetration is measured. For the IWA 14-1 standard, this is the front of the product as can be seen in the diagram below.

    IWA 14-1 is similar to ISO 22343 but differs from PAS 68, where penetration is measured by how far the load-carrying part travelled past the back face of the product. For products such as wedge road blockers, this can represent a considerable difference.

    Looking at our example, the Centurion achieved a penetration rating of just 1.5 meters. The level of penetration considered acceptable can vary depending on the perimeter line in relation to the asset that you are seeking to protect.


    How does IWA 14 differ from the other standards?

    If you’re familiar with PAS 68 or have read our guide, you may have noticed that the IWA 14 rating doesn’t include debris dispersion. The major debris dispersion measurement showed the furthest point that debris weighing over 25 kg travelled after the impact.

    This is included as part of the PAS 68 rating to help security engineers to visualise the test. However, in the past, this has caused some confusion and so was removed from the IWA 14 standard.

    IWA 14 also differs in its testing conditions. With ASTM the products need to be installed in low cohesive compacted soil, while PAS 68 doesn’t define a soil type for products being tested in conditions appropriate for use. IWA 14 on the other hand, allows for both in-soil or site-specific installation for the test.

    What about the other standards?

    Now that you are familiar with IWA 14 you may want to know more about the other impact test standards that you may come across. The other two major standards you will come across are PAS 68 and ASTM. PAS 68 which shares a lot of similarities with IWA 14 is the British testing specification for hostile vehicle mitigation and is explained in full in our definitive guide.

    A more recent addition in PAS 170-1 is for impact testing bollards at a low speed with a 2,500kg impact trolley. PAS 170 offers protection from vehicle threats from criminality and accidental impacts. You can read more in our PAS 170 guide. 

    ASTM F2656/F2656M is the US standard for crash-testing security products. ASTM stands for the American Society for Testing Materials and serves a similar role to the BSI. You may also come across DOS (Department of State), the old US standard that has now been superseded by ASTM.

    The final standard you may also find is CWA which is a European workshop agreement that combines elements of PAS 68 and PAS 69. PAS 69 is the specification for correctly installing impact-tested products.

    If you would like to learn more about the various standards or hostile vehicle mitigation, we recommend reading the National Protective Security Authority (NPSA formerly CPNI) guide.

    If you need any advice on impact-tested products or have any questions regarding IWA 14, PAS 68, or ASTM, then contact one of our experts on +44 (0) 345 350 3799 and they’ll be more than happy to help.


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    With the release of ISO 22343 in September 2023, the experts here at ATG Access have updated our popular ‘Guide to Physical Security Standards eBook’ to include details on the new standard. The latest edition of the guide explains the differences between the old and current standards and goes through an example test result step-by-step to help you understand the new standard.

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