If you compare modern-day buildings to those of decades ago, it’s easy to see how design has evolved to meet today’s lifestyles. Offices and commercial buildings in particular now strive to deliver open, light-filled spaces which offer a host of benefits for occupants. As a result, glass now plays an integral role in construction projects with its role extending far beyond traditional glazing systems. Here, Andy Lake, UK Projects Director at Pyroguard, explores how glass has evolved to meet the demands of modern construction projects.
In any major town or city across the UK, you’re sure to see new construction projects being undertaken. With new buildings comes new opportunities to create environments which facilitate how people live and work, both today and in the future. To maximise the potential of these buildings, architects and specifiers are now using materials – such as glass – in different ways. The Shard and London’s recently-announced ‘The Diamond’ are fantastic examples of how glass is used to make a building entirely unique and bring about a host of benefits for the people living and working there.
To make these construction projects possible, glass itself has also had to evolve. When glazing plays such a critical role in a building’s construction, it needs to be able to provide both the structural integrity required of its application alongside critical fire safety characteristics. In practice, the answer lies in toughened glazing options.
Gone are the days of Georgian wired glazing, making way for alternatives which are perfectly suited to modern construction. Leading the way is toughened fire glass, which not only provides essential protection from flames, smoke and radiant and direct heat transfer, but can also withstand greater demands than off-the-shelf laminated options. The benefits of this type of glazing are clear to see. With classifications as high as EI120, specifiers can be confident in the protection it offers in the event of a fire. Toughened glass also delivers an excellent strength-to-weight ratio, compliant with standards such as BS EN 12600 for impact classification as high as 1C1, which makes it a perfect option for today’s demanding construction projects.
Elevating light levels
Of course, with glass taking centre stage in a building’s design, the material is able to unlock other benefits for occupants. More glass means more natural light entering and flooding through a building. This can help occupants to maintain their natural daily cycle of activity and sleep, support immune systems with boosted levels of vitamin D and generally improve performance – a key consideration in work environments. Further to this, the increased presence of natural light reduces the reliance on artificial lighting. In turn, this facilitates enhanced energy performance for the building, ultimately reducing the amount of energy consumed for a lower energy footprint – something which would be reflected when modelling a building to achieve a BREEAM rating.
To maximise these benefits, light transmission needs to be a key consideration for architects and constructors. Following testing at TUV – the independent body which verifies a product’s ability to meet the demands of international standards – Pyroguard has recently re-tested and improved the light transmission data characteristics across the majority of the range, including toughened glasses such as T EW30 which now delivers a light transmission value of 88%. In accordance with EN 410, these products also meet regulations around solar radiation, ensuring the benefits of natural light are brought about safely.
Meeting modern demands
As the UK construction industry continues to surge ahead in integrating these benefits into today’s buildings, Pyroguard has also invested in reducing lead times in getting these crucial materials to site by opening a new UK-based facility. That allows specifiers to focus on securing the right products for their projects, ensuring the highest quality components underpin their constructions.
For further information on Pyroguard fire-rated safety glass solutions and the latest achievements in light transmission characteristics, download our latest Product Catalogue.