Fire Rating Glazing – When Do You Need It?
What happens when you require your glass components, like doors, walls and windows, to be fire resistant and fire rated? Here’s a look at when you need fire rated glazing.
In today’s modern times, the use of glass in architecture and construction is becoming more and more common. Designers and clients alike are often eager to create cutting-edge contemporary looks for homes, commercial buildings and even industrial buildings – and glass plays a significant role in this modern approach.
What is Fire Rated Glazing?
Fire rated glazing is a specific glazing system that is used to create fire resistance in glass panels. It can be used to create fire doors and walls made of glass. The glazing can be applied to doors and walls during the manufacturing process or in some cases, it can also be added to existing buildings that already contain glass doors, walls and windows.
Fire rated glazing is often chosen for specific building projects since it allows architects and builders to incorporate a high volume of natural light and transparency or visibility into the project, while still maximising fire safety and adhering to the fire regulations set out by the Building Code of Australia.
How Is Fire Rated Glazing Measured?
Fire rated glazing products are measured based on their fire resistant levels and their overall ability to contain a fire. Their ratings will usually consist of a 3-number pattern, often displayed in minutes as, for example:
60/60/60 or -/120/120.
- The first number refers to the structural stability of the product and the capacity it has to resist fire, while still acting as a support for its structure; this number is used to rate walls only (since fire doors and windows are not structural elements)
- The second number indicates how well the product and glazing will prohibit the spread of flames in the event of a fire; you must make sure that this rating meets the standards for your build as required by the BCA
- The last number will tell you how long the fire rated glazed product will prevent heat transfer and hence subsequent fires; this is otherwise known as insulation
You will need to make sure that the fire resistant ratings for the fire glazed products you choose all comply with the standards for your building as per the National Building Code. This will be essential in making sure your glass doors, windows, walls and other panels are compliant and certifiable.
Using Fire Rated Glazing
Fire rated glazing is essential if your fire protection products – like doors, walls, windows, panels or partitions – require glass. Glass can pose a huge risk during a fire, especially since it can explode during instances of high heat.
- It is important to make sure that the glass component you choose has been fire approved as part of a complete testing system; this means that the glass panel, the frame and hardware need to have been tested and certified as a whole product and that they must also be installed exactly as per the tested installation
- It is often recommended that fire rated glazed panels have a steel or timber frame; in some instances, this may be mandatory in order to satisfy fire resistant ratings
- Fire rated glazed items can be purchased as insulated and non-insulated glass panels; you will need to decide which is going to be best for your project, along with the type of glass you want and the desired thickness that will allow you to meet your fire safety needs
- Fire rated glazed products can be pre-fitted during manufacture or they can be assembled on site; talk to your supplier or project manager about what you require for your construction project
FSE Special Purpose Doors are specialists in the design, manufacture and installation of fire doors and fire rated glazed components across Australia. For further information, contact our office in Sydney on [email protected] or 1300 4 DOORS.