Wednesday 31st March, 2021
A sense of normality is set to return to the UK in the coming month, with sports facilities, hairdressers and shops soon to reopen in England for the first time this year. Covid-safe is the term on everyone’s lips, and as important as this is, so too are other essential safety requirements including fire safety. Fire remains the leading cause of commercial property loss in the UK. One way to mitigate this risk is with fire-rated glass from Tufwell Glass.
All commercial (and domestic) properties must adhere to fire safety legislation. Using fire glass in your building can help you to meet required standards and crucially, keep your workforce, clients and customers safe.
Fire-rated glass is a type of toughened glass that can withstand high pressures. Standard glass will break when the temperature reaches 120°C, but fire-rated glass will remain intact in more than double this heat. Fire-rated glass is also able to withstand the stresses of extreme hot and cold temperatures, which is important in a fire when glass is subject to heat and then rapidly cooled by high-pressured water.
All fire-rated glass undergoes stringent testing to ensure that it can offer effective protection. Fire glass ratings relate to the length of time that the fire glass will remain intact and prevent smoke and flames from spreading. This is known as the integrity period of the glass and is designated by the latter E, followed by the period of protection offered which is measured in increments of 30 minutes. Some fire glass also acts as a barrier against the heat produced by fire and this resistance is designated by the letter I. So, fire glass rated EI 90/60 will offer 90 minutes integrity and 60 minutes insulation.
The level of protection that fire glass provides depends on the type of fire glass used. There are three main types of fire-rated glass – tempered fire glass, ceramic fire glass and intumescent laminated glass (including Pyrobel and Pyrobelite); all of which are available from Tufwell Glass.
Fire-rated glass is effective in meeting the following legal requirements:
Preventing fire spread. Fire-rated glass partitions will slow down the spread of fire whilst fire glass doors will confine a fire to the space in which it started.
Providing an escape route. Fire rated glass windows, glass walls, glass balustrades or glass doors can provide the required 30 minutes protection from fire to allow people a safe way out and firefighters an essential way in.
Protecting a building’s structure. Fire-rated glass walls are non-combustible, offering enhanced protection against the spread of fire; whereas fire-rated glass windows contain fire and stop it from escaping or entering a property.