Fire-rated glass has surged in applications during the past few years due to its versatility and use in commercial buildings, including healthcare, higher education and transit centers.

Why Fire-Rated Glass

A West Coast Army hospital offers both fire and blast protection through the use of a two-hour fire resistive GPX blast system from SAFTI First. Photo courtesy of SAFTI First.

Used anywhere in a building to separate spaces and prevent fire from spreading, fire-rated framing and glazing are constructed using thin layers of glass that sandwich intumescent interlayers, which turn into an opaque shield when exposed to fire. Fire-rated systems are classified as either protective or resistant. Protective glass stops the spread of fire and smoke. Fire-resistant glass also stops the spread of fire and smoke while also being a barrier to radiant heat, says Jerry Cucchi, sales manager of Aluflam near Los Angeles. This is crucial for people fleeing a fire, he says, where temperatures reach more than 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Fire-rated products are used throughout a building on both the interior and exterior. The most obvious applications are in and around modes of egress: doors, sidelites, transoms, stair enclosures,” says Timothy Nass, vice president of sales at SAFTI First in San Francisco. “Population-dense areas such as the Northeast or other major cities face issues on the exterior to not only contain a fire within a property but also to prevent the fire from jumping to an adjacent property.”

He continues, “The goal of the fire-rated manufacturers is to ensure that the fire-rated systems blend in seamlessly with the balance of the building envelope, and that includes air, water, thermal, structural, sound attenuation and security, all while enhancing the overall safety of the building’s design and the security of its occupants.”

Application Options 

Wide open and multi-floor entry lobbies and atriums are prime destinations for fire-rated glass applications, says Devin Bowman, general manager of Technical Glass Products in Snoqualmie, Washington. Because of the high occupancy of these spaces, the International Building Code (IBC) requires fire-rated materials, including walkways and stairs above the reception area and adjacent spaces, he says. Clients want transparency, too, allowing natural daylight to travel through a building.

Click here to read more about fire-rated glazing in the January issue of USGlass magazine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *