Volume 43, Issue 11 - November 2008
A New Conclusion
I read with interest your article “Wearing a Label” in the August issue (see August 2008 USGlass, page 32). You correctly point out that there is confusion in the current marking system. I disagree with your conclusion that this labeling confusion is dividing the glazing industry. In fact, the industry as a whole, architects and code officials agree that the marking system is terribly flawed and could constitute a risk to public safety due to the misapplication of fire-protective glass where only fire-resistant glass should be used.
I also believe your article may have missed an opportunity. Instead of continuing to debate the existence of a problem, we need to work collectively on a solution. The current marking system was developed by one manufacturer without input from either the rest of the industry or the code-enforcement community. Everyone agrees that this hasty, top-down effort resulted in an overly complicated labeling system that code officials frequently ignore.
Now five years later, steps are underway to start over and create a labeling system for fire-rated glass products that can be of actual use to architects and code officials. Hopefully, this time we can work together to do it right. This time, we are working from the bottom up collecting input from code officials, building professionals and manufacturers, in order to create a system that works and protects public safety. The best forum for this discussion is the Code Technology Committee (CTC) of the International Code Council because code officials, not manufacturers, are leading the way. Manufacturers through the Glass Association of North America’s Fire Rated Glazing Council can participate in the CTC’s discussions and provide the necessary, detailed knowledge about the fire-rated products. At the end of the day, though, public safety benefits most when those responsible for enforcing building codes develop a marking system that makes sense to them. SaftiFirst will continue its long-standing effort to put public safety first.