February 11, 2019 Is Fire-Rated Glass a Game Changer For Commercial Architects in 2019?
Accordingly to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2017, it was estimated that a structural fire occurred every 63 seconds resulting in property losses well over $30 million.
The latest construction safety regulations in North America have largely influenced the way architects approach commercial and industrial projects in 2019. This is why it’s of the utmost importance for not only architects but also city planners, designers, building health and safety inspectors and engineers to rally in these efforts so as to stay compliant with these new codes.
What Exactly is Fire-Rated Glass?
One such game-changing safety requirement in 2019 is fire-rated safety glass. Fire-rated glass floor manufacturers have taken great strides in designing safety glass that exceeds new levels of engineering excellence.
This innovative technology protects against radiant heat, flames, and smoke by averting their transfer from room to room, commonly known as compartmentalization. They are engineered with remarkable fire-ratings from 1 to 2 hours.
In essence? Fire-rated safety glass minimizes damages and allows people to effectively evacuate the premises. It is a rigorously tested glass that can endure temperatures as high as 1700°F while still maintaining its integrity and insulation properties as mentioned before.
Besides ushering safety to the forefront, these systems are customizable depending on your building’s unique fire requirements.
For instance, Greenlite’s proprietary fire-rated safety glass, LITEFLAM, is engineered with a standard live loading capacity of 100 psf but can be engineered to withstand higher loads if required.
Fire-Rated Safety Glass Combines Integrity and Insulation – A Novel Approach to Saving Lives
These assemblies reinforce your building’s fire protection systems to keep occupants and possessions out of harm’s way. Seeing as they act as a fire barrier and compartmentalize the outbreak of a commercial fire, fire-rated glass gives firefighters more time to respond and occupants more time to egress.
The glass will turn opaque when a heat source hits the glass. What it does for the architect is it allows them to use glass where traditionally only brick, steel or concrete would be used, therefore bringing more natural light into space.
What are the types of fire-rated glass? In North America, there are two types of fire-rated glass; Resistive and Protective.
Resistive glass protects against Radiant Heat, Smoke and Flames.
Protective glass protects against only Smoke and Flames.
Where Can Fire-Rated Safety Glass Be Used?
Fire Escapes: Updated fire safety norms outline the duration of protection required for a building’s escape route. Accordingly, architects have to modify the layout to factor in these norms.
Indoor Partitions: Fire-rated glass confines the fire and prevents it from traveling to other rooms. It makes sense that this glass should be incorporated as partitions between different rooms. Because it is see-through, it opens the space and lets natural light through the space.
A common question is, “Is tempered glass fire resistant?” The answer is no. Tempered glass is nowhere as tough enough to endure high temperatures as it can only provide an integrity rating of 20 minutes with no insulation performance whatsoever. Even if you were to pair a tempered glass partition with a sprinkler system, it will shatter when shocked with water at such high temperatures.
Dry Lining: The structure’s internal lining can go a long way to curb the growth of a fire. On the other hand, if these materials are easily combustible, they can also contribute to the fire’s proliferation. Fire-rated glass barriers, in this case, can prevent injuries and property damage.
Fire-Rated Safety Glass is a Vital Federal Safety Code Requirement in 2019
To help you stay compliant with these new regulations and increase the fire protection and fire resistant properties of your facility, Greenlite Glass Systems manufactures a wide range of innovative and durable fire-rated glass systems – CONTRAFLAM Structure, LITEFLAM, CONTRAFLAM, KERALITE, VDS Fire Frame System, and VDS Curtain Wall.