Why Safety Matters in the Design Glass Process

It’s easy to get caught up in the visual appeal of design glass, but it’s more important to ensure that the architectural design glass you choose meets the necessary safety standards for your application. Design glass safety is an essential consideration during the architectural design glass sourcing and production process.

Your design glass manufacturer should be able to provide you with strong, durable products that will meet or exceed the relevant safety parameters for your application. If your design glass selection falls short of required safety standards, you’re not only on the hook for expensive building code violations, the welfare of employees and customers may be at risk.

Glass Applications Where Safety is a Must

While there are myriad applications for design glass, some have superior durability and other safety requirements. If you’re in need of one of the following types of glass, you’ll need to perform due diligence to ensure that the product is safe enough for the intended purpose.

  • Laminated Glass

The shatterproof properties of laminated glass have made it an indispensable commodity in the car industry for the last 50 years. It has become an essential tool for both passenger and driver safety. Outside of the automotive sector, however, laminated glass has become a more common offering among glass providers as architects and designers move toward safer building solutions and ensure compliance with strict regulations.

The benefits of laminated glass are two-fold. It supports the creativity of architects by bringing innovation to buildings and structures because laminated glass allows for more complex designs. Laminated glass also allows design glass processors to add value and custom appearances to your project, because it enables them to expand their portfolio and offer a wider range of end products.

  • Tempered Glass

Tempered glass is specially heat treated or chemically treated so that it is several times stronger than non-tempered (annealed) glass.  It cannot be cut, drilled, ground, or polished without fracture. Standard tempered glass solutions are typically usable at temperatures up to 500° F. Most importantly, when highly tempered, a fracture at any point will cause the entire piece to break into small particles. It is this property that makes tempered glass a SAFETY product.  Federal law and building codes require tempered glass in many applications, so make sure your Design Glass partner manufactures to the ANSI Z97.1 and CPSC 1201 standards.

Because tempered glass cannot be cut after tempering, tempered glass must be produced to size, but it’s not feasible to keep all sizes that might be needed in inventory. As such, tempered glass is a custom-manufactured solution.

  • Fire-Rated Glass

Most glass offers little-to-no fire protection, but fire-rated glass is designed to withstand even the most dangerous environments, including temperatures up to 1600° F. There are two common types of fire-rated glass. The first, polished wire glass, is the oldest glass fire solution available. The second, ceramic glass, is produced with a clear ceramic fire-rated glazing rather than wire reinforcements. Polished wire glass is NOT a safety glass and should NEVER be used in an application that could put it in the path of human impact.

Fire-rated glass must pass a series of nationally established testing standards before being assigned a fire-rated glass safety rating. This rating corresponds to the length of time the glass is expected to remain reliable during a fire.

Think Safety When Sourcing Design Glass

When sourcing architectural design glass, be sure to prioritize design glass safety and the glass safety standards relevant to your application. To learn what else to look for when sourcing architectural design glass, download our eBook: 7 Factors to Consider When Working with a Design Glass Manufacturer.

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