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Glass - Safety.
The following short guide is necessarily worded in a general way and cannot cover every circumstance. It is intended only as a guide for manufacturers, suppliers and installers of new and replacement glass and glazing products for domestic use. Additionally the content is relevant to UK - domestic situations only.
Where glass and glazing products are supplied for domestic use (such as conservatories, garages, double glazing, porches) they must comply with the 'General Safety Requirement' of the General Product Safety Regulations 1994 (GPSR). This requires consumer products to be reasonably safe and this may be achieved by conforming with British Standard BS 6262: Part 4: 1994 (as detailed below) with reference to the Approved Document N of the Building Regulations 1991.
WHAT GLAZING MUST BE SAFE?
The updated British Standard "BS 6262: Part 4: 1994 Code of Practice for Glazing for Buildings", introduced new requirements that glazing fitted in 'critical locations' in domestic buildings must be safe.
This may be achieved for example by fitting glass which breaks safely; small panes of ordinary glass; thicker ordinary glass; by protecting the glass with a permanent robust screen; or using plastics glazing sheet. Further details are given below.
The General Product Safety Regulations 2005
The GPSR and the standard apply to all domestic glazing installations whether new build, replacement or refurbishment.
WHAT IS A CRITICAL LOCATION?
Certain internal and external areas are considered 'critical locations' in terms of the safety of vertical glazing, as they are at risk from accidental human impact. The critical locations defined by the standard are similar to the Approved Document N of the Building Regulations 1991.
The 'critical locations' in any internal or external domestic area are:
Any glazing or part of that glazing in a door, which is between the finished floor level and a height of 1500mm above the floor level, is in a 'critical location'.
Side Panels to Doors
Any glazing or part of that glazing, which is within 300mm of either side of a door edge and which is between the finished floor level and a height of 1500mm above the floor level, is in a 'critical location'.
Windows, partitions, and walls
Any glazing or part of that glazing, which is between the finished floor level and a height of 800mm above the floor level, is in a 'critical location'.
WHAT GLAZING IS 'SAFE' IN 'CRITICAL LOCATIONS'?
Safety Glass and Safety Plastics
Safety glass, which complies with 'BS 6206: 1981 (1994)' may be fitted in 'critical locations'. This standard requires the glass to pass stringent tests involving impacts from a "punch bag" containing lead shot. Providing the glass does not break or breaks safely it is categorised as Class A, B, or C with A being the highest grade of safety glass.
Different types of glass can be classified as safety glass:
Toughened Glass (also called tempered) categorised as Class A
This looks like ordinary glass but receives a special heat treatment process to toughen it. It is much stronger than ordinary glass and on impact disintegrates into small granular pieces, which are not sharp, reducing the risk of injury.
Laminated Glass available in Class A, B or C
Consists of two or more sheets of ordinary glass which are attached together by a plastic interlayer. The plastic layer provides a barrier and on impact any broken shards of glass will remain attached to the plastic reducing the risk of injury.
Wired Glass (also called Pyroshield safety clear/textured) categorised as Class C
This glass has a network/mesh of wires embedded in it. Certain types of wired glass can satisfy the impact requirements for safety glass while giving a level of fire resistance.
Plastics Glazing Sheet
Certain types of transparent plastic sheet can satisfy the impact requirements for safety glass. Please Note: Glass in doors and side panels may only be glazed in Class C materials where the smaller dimension is a maximum of 900mm. Where this dimension is greater than 900mm glazing categorised as Class A or B is required.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR ON SAFETY GLAZING?
'British Standard 6206: 1981 (1994)' requires that each piece of safety glazing used within 'critical locations' should be marked with the all of the following:
The British Standard number 'BS 6206'.
Identification of the type of glass used i.e. 'L' for laminated, 'P' for plastics, 'T' for tempered (toughened), 'W' for wired or 'SFB' for safety film backed.
The category of safety glass used i.e. 'Class A', 'Class B', or 'Class C' (based on its performance under impact tests). A suffix 'o' denotes front impact test only e.g. mirrored wardrobe doors.
An identifiable name, trademark or other identification mark of the manufacturer. If any of the above markings are lost by cutting, then the company which carries out the cutting must replace markings a) to c) and add their own identifiable name or trade mark.
Fire resistant glass Pyrobel range is protecting residents in Ireland’s tallest apartment block. Rising 71 metres above the city skyline, the Elysian Tower in Cork is a spectacular 17-storey building providing over 200 homes including luxury penthouses.
Pyrobel 25 EG fire rated glass has been used in single glazing around the Tower’s inner courtyard to provide 60 minutes integrity and insulation in the event of a fire.
A fully transparent glass, Pyrobel satisfied the project’s exacting aesthetic and safety specification, combining complete fire protection with clear visibility and high natural light transmission.
Pyrobel is assembled from clear intumescent layers that expand at around 120oC and transform into a rigid, opaque shield against the spread of flames, smoke, hot gases and radiant heat and so enable safe evacuation of a building.
The multi-laminated composition of Pyrobel makes the glass extremely robust, "This type of glass weighs in at around 65kg per square metre so requires specialist handling and transportation,"
Pyrobel range of fire resistant glasses are tested and approved according to BS 476:Part 22:1987 on both integrity and insulation criteria. In addition, Pyrobel is a safety glass that meets the requirements of BS:6206, and also offers excellent sound reduction properties between 40dB and 44dB depending on the specification. An increasingly popular choice with architects and designers for its aesthetic properties, Pyrobel does not incorporate any wire and has a light transmission that is comparable to clear float glass. It is available in sizes up to 290cm in height in certain applications and in various shapes to suit individual design demands.