The current inventory of public and institutional buildings contains an ample amount of wired glass, originally installed due to fire protection requirements. Many of these facilities, however, were built prior to code changes that deemed wired glass applications subject to human impact as unsafe, as well as new technology that allowed alternate products to be used. The code change generally affects only new or retrofitted construction, leaving many buildings with wired glass in impact areas. A new program is dedicated to ensuring that glass won’t be dangerous upon impact.

Safe Glass Solutions (SGS), a company focused on ensuring the use of safe glazing in public buildings, has teamed up with Solar Gard, Saint-Gobain’s window film branch, to combat the issue. The partnership comes as SGS has launched a program dedicated to bringing potentially non-compliant glass in public buildings—both wired and non-wired—up to safe standards.

The purpose of the program is to “provide the building/facility owner a means to make current non-safety glazing products safe until they require replacement due to breakage,” according to Greg Abel, director of government relations, “or the owner initiates a program to replace existing products not meeting various code requirements with products which will meet code requirements.”

SGS kicked off its pilot program at the end of 2014 at Bellevue College in Bellevue, Wash., where film was installed in a section of the school in order to bring it into code compliance. At the end of March, the program’s grand opening will consist of filming all impact-area glass in the entire school.

In the early stages of SGS’s efforts, the program already has multiple schools from Washington state and Oregon “lining up, wanting evaluations performed,” says Abel.

Four years ago, Abel founded SGS with industry veterans Len Brunette and Donn Harter, who serve as president and chairperson of the board, respectively. The idea was sparked when Abel learned that code in the UK requires an annual inspection of buildings. This involves a private agency assessment of the building, including the glazing, to ensure it meets certain safety standards.

“There needs to be a program in the U.S. to identify these [non-complying] areas in public buildings,” says Abel. “And we need to offer a solution to the property owner.”

With the newly-establish program, SGS will provide an assessment of the participating facility, including a building walk-through to document all potential hazards, such as wired glass panels subject to human impact. Film would then be installed in those hazardous locations.

Each finished panel would then be labeled with a QR tag that would contain information on where the facility is located, the room number, details about its location, the date the panel was modified, and references to the safety glazing impact requirements it meets. That information would be kept on file by SGS.

“If the building maintenance has a question on the glass, they scan it and contact Safe Glass Solutions,” says Abel. “Safe Glass Solutions contacts a certified representative in the area, and they go back to it and install the appropriate film or glazing.”

SGS has already begun rounding up a network of retired code officials from around Oregon to handle the assessment aspect of the program. It is also in talks with associations nationwide on acquiring those kinds of services as the program expands.

“We thought, ‘why couldn’t we elicit the help of retired code officials, who would get paid to do these evaluations, to give back to the community that their children and grandchildren are a part of?’” he says.

SGS is also working with U.S. Congressman Peter DeFazio’s office in regard to grant applications in an attempt to help offset costs of future projects.

The program not only involves impact film and wired glass but addresses the aspects of security and privacy, as well. SGS also stresses that the specific film used will not alter the fire-resistance of the glass.