Thursday 28th March, 2019
This month saw the publication of a report into the fire-resistant glass market. For those in the glass industry it makes interesting reading, as the fire glass market is growing rapidly due to advances in glass technology and increased demand.
So, what is fire glass and why is it important to use fire glass in your building?
Fire-resistant glass is a safety glass product which, in the event of a fire, acts as a barrier to stop flames and smoke. The level of protection offered depends on the specific type of fire glass used, but all fire-rated glass undergoes rigorous testing to ensure that it can withstand the temperatures reached during a fire and offer effective protection for a stated period. Fire resistance tests determine the ‘integrity period’ of the glass, that is the length of time that the fire glass will remain in its frame and prevent smoke and flames from spreading. The integrity period is classified using the letter ‘E’, followed by the period of protection offered which is measured in increments of 30 minutes. Some fire glass also offers heat insultation that acts as a barrier against the heat produced by fire and is designated by the letter ‘I’. Fire glass rated EI 60/30 will offer 60 minutes integrity and 30 minutes insultation.
Building Regulations in England specify the legal requirements for fire safety within and around buildings. Fire glass has an essential role to play in the following areas of fire safety.
There are strict guidelines for the periods of protection required for each element of a building’s escape route. Whether escape is via balcony, flat roof or stairway the entire escape route - including access to it - must provide at least 30 minutes protection from fire using fire-rated glass doors, glass windows, glass walls or glass balustrades. In the event of a fire most people need an escape route whilst firefighters need a safe way in. Whether you use wired fire glass, modified toughened fire glass or laminated fire glass, its importance for this purpose cannot be overstated.
Fire-rated glass is required to help prevent the spread of fire to other parts of a property, thereby limiting damage and potential risk to life. Even the most basic fire glass prevents flames and hot gases from penetrating through to the unexposed side. Fire-rated glass partitions will slow down the spread of fire and fire glass doors will confine a fire to the room it originated in. Statutory regulations differ for dwelling houses and commercial buildings, with the highest requirement for fire glass being 120 minutes of both integrity and insulation.
Building regulations also cover protection against falling, collision and impact, and identify parts of internal and external walls as critical glazing locations at which fire-rated glass is often the safest type of glass to use. Fire-rated glass walls are non-combustible, offering enhanced protection against the spread of fire, whilst glass windows contain fire and stop it escaping or entering a property. Glass product choice is crucial, but so is installation. Glass installation must be carried out to correct specifications, using the right seal, fixing frame and any other necessary glazing components, to ensure that it is effective and compliant with safety regulations.
Fire glass can save lives, so there are no short cuts. Contact Tufwell Glass today on 01293 533 533 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help you to meet your fire glass needs. Stay safe.