Safety Glass – Are We Where We Need to Be?

Julia Schimmelpenningh of Eastman Chemical Co. asked attendees at the IGMA Winter Meeting to consider whether safety glazing standards were still up to par.

Julia Schimmelpenningh of Eastman Chemical Co. asked attendees at the IGMA Winter Meeting to consider whether safety glazing standards were still up to par.

Julia Schimmelpenningh of Eastman Chemical Co. presented “Safety Glass: Does it Make the Cut?” during a lunch seminar at the 2014 Winter Meeting for the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA), being held at the JW Marriott Union Square in San Francisco. Schimmelpenningh discussed the defining characteristics of safety glazing and what members of the industry need to understand about these products.

She noted that many of the safety glass definitions online still mention wired glass as a form of safety glazing and that some definitions state that the glass reduces the likelihood someone will sustain injury as a result of the glazing.

Discussing international requirements for safety glass, she stated, “From a global perspective there’s a lot of commonality when it comes to safety glazing.”

Additionally, Schimmelpenningh said that more buildings are using this type of glazing, and, as a result, consumer perception of safety is as important as the technical specifications of the products.

“Perception becomes reality,” she said. For noise reduction, quiet equates to order, and therefore safety. The same can be said for privacy and durability features of a product.

For particular applications, though, Schimmelpenningh noted that the popularity for safety glazing is dependent on the particular application. For instance, “In high-rise facilities, we do not see bomb-blast specifications … at one point we had a ton of interest, but the only people specifying them now are government facilities,” she stated. “I’m not saying there are no applications, but it isn’t widespread. Fall-out on the other hand, we see a lot of specifications for that … but it’s more for balconies than full facades.”

One of the most concerning aspects of safety glazing, Schimmelpenningh noted in her closing remarks was that the standards surrounding it have been updated, but not changed since 1966. She said that places safety glazing standards on par with old-school vinyl.

“We’re still on vinyl records, guys,” she said. “I challenge you to take a look at where we are with glass, what we’ve gone through and where we’re going … as rapidly as we can.

“As our industry evolves, we need to evolve the standards that go with it,” she added.

The IGMA Winter Meeting continues through tomorrow. Stay tuned to www.USGNN.com™ for the latest from the event.

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