Was wired glass affected by the new codes?

The correct answer is “YES” and “NO“.


Today’s model building codes restrict the use of “traditional wired” glass in hazardous locations like doors, sidelites, and any location that requires safety. This code change limits the potentially life threatening injuries resulting from accidental impact with non-safety traditional wired glass, which can and has been broken with as little as 50 ft. lbs. of force, or the force exerted by a small child running into this glazing. These injuries are well documented in a CBS News Report, as well as the misguided perception that traditional wired glass is strong, when in fact, the opposite is true. The embedded wires in the glass act as a break plane, making the glass just half as strong as annealed glass.

New generation “safety wired” glass products such as SAFTIFIRST’s filmed SuperLite I-W can be used in these hazardous locations. Safety wired glass products are tested to and meet the highest safety requirements mandated by both the code and the federal government’s Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), and have attained a fire rating after stringent fire testing.


The recent local building code did not ban traditional wired glass, but it effectively limited its use to those applications that do not require safety glazing. These are areas that are not easily impacted by children or adults. Please refer to IBC 2003, 2006, and 2009 Chapter 24 model code sections or your local building code for specific safety glazing requirements and restrictions.

Bottom Line: The key to understanding this code change is realizing that there are two types of wired glass: non-safety traditional wired glass and safety wired glass. Only non-safety traditional wired glass was affected by the recent code changes. Safety wired glass meets all the required fire and safety standards, making it the easy, code compliant choice.

Historical Background: Wired Glass and Codes

In 1977, traditional wired glass was given an exemption from meeting the CPSC impact safety standard when used in doors, sidelites and other potentially hazardous locations because wired glass manufacturers claimed that they did not have the technology to meet such critical standards. Twenty-five years later, they still claimed that they could not meet these safety standards. This all changed when safety wired glass products were introduced.

The 2003 IBC removed the exemption for traditional wired glass in educational and athletic facilities and set forth that the federal safety glazing standards applied in those buildings. In the 2004 IBC Supplement and the 2006 IBC code, restrictions were taken one step further. The result was that traditional wired glass is no longer exempt from meeting safety standards when used in any potentially hazardous location. This applies to all new construction and in all types of occupancies (see Sec. 2406.1.1 in the 2003 and 2006 IBC).

New safety wired glass is economical and meets all the fire protective glazing and safety standards, making it the best value in fire rated glass.

To learn about SAFTIFIRST’s full line of fire and safety rated glazing products that meet new IBC requirements, please visit www.safti.com.