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Fire Rated Glass for Exteriors

How Can Fire Rated Glass be implemented for exterior applications?

Fire Rated Glass for Exteriors. This article from Glass and Glazing lists exterior applications where fire rated glass can be used to meet codes and provide safety. 

by Diana San Diego

Fire rated glass is typically used in the interior of a building to protect people and property in the event of fire. It does this in two ways—by compartmentalizing the fire to prevent it from spreading to other areas and by protecting paths of egress so building occupants can safely exit the building. It has become an increasingly popular building material because it means it meets the requirements of many life safety codes while offering clear view areas. Gypsum or masonry can meet the fire requirement , but doesn’t afford clear views like fire-rated glass.

The bigger news, however, is the fact that there’s been an increase of fire-rated glass for exterior applications. Especially of fire-rated glass and framing assemblies can do so much more than just protect against fire and they can be made to match all the non-rated glazing systems.

Following are some of the most common situations where the threat of fire comes from the outside, thus the opportunity for employing fire rated glass:

Meet property line requirements. This can be between two different properties in close proximity or two buildings in the same property that are also in close proximity of each other. With owners increasing their building’s footprint without having to sacrifice clear views, this is great solution.

Area adjacent or leading into parking garage. Vehicles are perceived as a possible threat for fire because they are full of fuel, so these areas need to be protected.

Areas prone to wild fire. In areas prone to wild fires, fire-rated glass has been used in the windows and openings to prevent the fire form coming inside the building. Exterior fire-rated glass do double-duty as well. Here are some project examples where it needed to be fire rated:

Energy efficiency. In the case of Sapphire Towers in San Diego, SAFTI FIRST provided NFRC certified, 45-minute assemblies for the entire south facing façade, thus meeting the property line requirement as stated above. These assemblies were also tested for air and water infiltration, wind load deflection, structural load and forced entry testing.

Hurricane rated. In the case of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Orlando, some of the local locations exterior fire rated assembles specified were exposed to the elements. Not only were these assemblies rigorously tested and certified for fire and radiant heat protection for up to two hours, but because of its Florida location, it also had to be certified vs. large missile impact, air and water infiltration and cyclic wind loading. Energy efficiency-wise, it also to meet certain U-values and SHGC.

In both cases, SAFTI FIRST was involved early on in the project working with architect to help design and provide a syte, that met all your needs. SAFTI also worked with the contractors to make sure that the products were delivered on schedule.

The bottom line is tat new-technology fire-rated glass and framing systems make it possible for architects to have it all—meet code requirements and have the clear views and the abundant natural light that they desire. Clearly, it can be beneficial to seek manufacturer’s expertise. Whether it’s questions about product performance, allowed applications or understanding the code requirements, resources are available. They can help you understand your options and choices to ensure that the glazing product chosen is the best-suited, code-compliant solution for the project.

Orlando VA

Source: Glass and Glazing

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