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Wise choices: selecting the right fire safety glass

Fire safety glass is just one of many components within a fire-rated system. However, choosing the right product remains essential. With numerous factors for glazing fabricators to consider, Steve Goodburn, Pyroguard’s Business Development Director, takes a closer look…

Anyone within the fire safety industry will know the importance of taking a system approach, regardless of whether you are fabricating a fire door unit or glazed partition. Only when all individual components come together in a tested and approved system can it be guaranteed to offer the expected level of fire protection. One of those components is of course fire safety glass. However, with so many products available on the market, how can you ensure that you’re making the best choice?

 

Wired or clear?

Historically, wired glass was the original glass of choice, commonly seen within fire doors and partitions in schools and social housing. However, while it can and does meet the required fire safety and impact resistance regulations, wired glass is fast becoming an obsolete product, as well as being at the centre of a global supply chain issue. It can also be prone to various misconceptions, both by the general public and those within the industry itself, due to the presence of metal wire. This can often lead to people viewing it as a stronger product, or as an example of security glass, despite neither being the case. In fact, wired glass often only has an impact rating of 3B3 to EN12600.

Instead, there are a host of new clear fire safety solutions that offer more, including enhanced aesthetics and performance. Substituting wired for clear glass can not only help achieve a higher fire rated classification, but also deliver greater impact resistance, acoustic ratings and light transmission values, providing added levels of performance.

 

Size matters

With the architectural and construction industries in a constant state of evolution, changing design trends and client demands can lead to increasingly challenging fire safety applications. Due to the popularity of glass as a building material, it’s important to look for cuttable products that can deliver exceptional fire protection even at larger certified pane sizes and with a high tolerance to variations in glazing media.

Take fire doors as an example. While traditionally featuring a simple, rectangular strip of glass, it has become increasingly common for doorsets to feature larger pane sizes, a side glazed partition, or even an elegantly designed top-lite.

 

When speed counts…

In a competitive market, the speed and availability of cuttable fire safety glass is critical, with any issue in the supply chain potentially leading to major delays further down the line. To avoid this, consider looking for stocked products that are manufactured and processed here in the UK. As well as supporting the country’s economy, it can also mean shorter lead times for your fabrication business and a lower carbon footprint compared to those imported from overseas.

 

Preparing for the future

As we look ahead to the future, it’s important that we all take a proactive approach and actively work to safeguard our businesses against potential industry shifts. One example of this is the recent discussions around a potential transition from British Standards (BS) to European Standards (EN). If actioned, this will mark a significant change for the industry, particularly within the timber door market, which has long relied on BS standards for testing.

While undoubtedly a positive step forward in terms of fire safety, the adoption of EN standards is renowned for posing more rigorous testing requirements. As a result, any shift from BS to EN could necessitate the redesign and retesting of numerous products, potentially leading to the temporary removal of door systems from the market during this transitional phase.

At Pyroguard, we’ve been testing to the EN standard for many years, including Pyroguard Advance, our new, high-performance fire safety glass. Certified for use across a wide range of steel and timber profiles and described as the ‘next generation’ of cuttables, it provides EW classification with a fire resistance of 30 or 60 minutes, even at larger certified pane sizes.

For more information, please contact us.

Further reading

Helping combine performance and aesthetics, with Pyroguard’s new Smokeguard brochure

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Clearing up the confusion: changes in fire-safety regulations and the implications for glass in high-rise balconies

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Pyroguard Advance: A Q&A

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