The FAQs below are aimed at providing a brief overview and general position on any given topic. The information contained within the FAQs should not be relied upon to replace specific advice based on your individual project needs. Please speak to us about your project needs and we can advise you further.
Q. WHY SHOULD I USE FIRE GLASS UK?
A. We are industry and quality accredited and can help you with all your specialist glass and glazing needs. Fire Glass UK is market leader with branches nationally and strong working relationships with industry specialists across Europe. It’s vital to get the right product for each individual project – we provide the technical know-how, product range and outstanding service as a whole package, at a competitive price.
Q. WHAT IS FIRE RATED GLASS?
A. Fire rated glass is specialist glass that has been proven to provide protection against fire – the degree of protection offered will depend on the type of glass but generally the glass acts as a barrier to help prevent the spread of flames and smoke in the event of a fire (integrity). Certain types of fire rated glass will also provide a degree of protection against the heat of a fire (insulation). Once tested, glass is given an official fire protection rating. The degree of protection offered is given in time periods, ranging upwards of 30 minutes. For more detailed information about fire rated glass and the rating system please see our Fire Rated glass page. We can help you use fire resistant glazing as part of an integrated fire safety strategy for your project.
Q. DO I HAVE TO USE FIRE RATED GLASS?
A. The use of fire rated glass is an important component in building safety and Building Regulations specify where it must be used. The relevant Approved Document sets out very specific requirements in terms of fire safety; including requirements as to the means of escape (providing a safe escape route), preventing fire spread, ensuring the building’s structure and providing safe access to the building in the event of fire. The Regulations state that doors and windows must be fire resistant in certain circumstances and set out the required level of Integrity Period and Insulation Period. For more information please see: www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-approved-document-b. Speak to us about your requirements – we can advise on whether fire rated glass is needed and what type you should use.
Q. CAN’T I JUST USE SAFETY GLASS INSTEAD?
A. No, standard Safety Glass is not able to withstand the thermal heat produced during a fire and will not provide an adequate fire resistant barrier as required under the Regulations. We can supply Fire Rated Glass with an Impact Safety Rating but safety glass on its own should not be used where fire resistance is also needed.
Q. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FIRE RATED GLASS AND SAFETY GLASS?
A. Fire Resistant or Fire Rated glass stops or limits the flames, smoke and heat from a fire for a specific period of time depending on the type of glass used and how it is installed. Safety glass is usually Toughened or Laminated Glass that is harder to break and does not shatter in the same way as ordinary glass; either due to the specific processing the glass has undertaken in manufacturing (toughened) or the bonded interlayer within the glass itself (laminated). Safety glass does not, of itself, have any fire resistance. Safety glass is used to protect against injury on impact. It is suitable for locations with a high risk of accidental damage or where there is an increased risk of vandalism.
Q. I NEED TO USE FIRE RESISTANT GLASS – WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
A. We offer a wide range of Fire Resistant Glass to meet your needs ranging from 30/0 to 120/120 in terms of Integrity and Insulation Periods in varying sizes. We stock both Wired and clear fire rated glass. Please use our GLASS SELECTOR to help. If you cannot see what you are looking for or would like to discuss your project in more detail please get in touch. Whatever your requirement we will be able to help.
Q. HOW CAN I BE SURE THE FIRE RESISTANT GLASS DOES WHAT YOU SAY?
A. Each product supplied has appropriate evidence of its performance; either via a test report, an assessment report or by a third party Certification. Test evidence should include information about the integrity performance of the glass as well as any insulation, the size of the glass and the glazing system used. All our fire rated glass is fully tested and complies with the relevant Fire Test Standards. The following link will take you to our test evidence data: CERTIFICATES.
Q. HOW IS THE GLASS TESTED?
A. Fire rated glass is tested in a controlled environment by an independent testing company. The glass and framing are installed into a test furnace and the flame is lit to imitate a real-life fire. The temperature on the surface of the glass is measured and integrity ratings are given based on the length of time the glass remains intact within its frame. Ordinary glass can usually only withstand temperatures of around 121 degrees celsius – equivalent to only a few minutes into a fire. In a Fire Resistance Test temperatures can reach in excess of 600 degrees celsius within 10 minutes and glass with an integrity rating of 60 minutes is subjected to temperatures in excess of 900 degrees celsius. Click on the following link to see a video of our most recent fire test: WATCH HERE
Q. CAN I INSTALL FIRE RATED GLASS INTO A STANDARD FRAME?
A. No, the specific Fire Resistant Glazing System as per the test evidence must be used when it is installed. Attention must also be drawn to the type of glass tested; single panes of glass are tested separately to unit pieces and you should not rely on the test evidence of one for the other. We have a specialist installation team who can assist you with your specific project’s needs. Please call us 0121 667 9087.
Q. CAN I USE NORMAL GLAZING SEALS?
A. No, as set out above, fire resistant glass must only be used as part of a Fire Resistant Glazing System. This includes the glass, the glazing seals, beads, fixings and frame. All essential components of such a system must be compatible under fire conditions and the performance must be referenced to appropriate and relevant test evidence. Standard seals cannot therefore be used on fire resistance glass. The correct seal to be used will depend on the glass in question and will be based on the test evidence for that particular product. We can provide the necessary seals, beads, fixings and frames.
Q. WHEN DO I HAVE TO USE SAFETY GLASS?
A. Building Regulations set out what is known as ‘Critical Locations’ where Safety Glass must be used to limit the risk of injury from glass on impact. Generally speaking these ‘critical locations’ are:
- Any glazed area within a window below 800mm from floor level;
- Any glazed area within a window that is 300mm or less from a door and up to 1500mm from floor level; or
- Within any glazed door up to 1500mm from floor level
Please click on the following link for a diagram showing these locations: WHERE TO USE SAFETY GLASS
Glazing in these ‘critical locations’ must break safely (if it breaks) or be robust enough to resist the impact without breaking, or be in small panes, or be permanently protected.
For more information, please see: www.planningportal.gov.uk/buildingregulations/approveddocuments/partk
The Approved Documents for protection against impact with glazing also include requirements around ‘Manifestation of Glazing’ – making the glass more visible in some way where your project includes large uninterrupted areas of transparent glass. This can be done in the form of a company logo or by broken or unbroken lines of pattern, depending on the aesthetic needs of your project.
We have our own Toughening Plant and can provide you with toughened glass cut to size ranging from 4mm to 25mm in thickness. We also supply Laminated Glass and Wired Glass in various sizes – speak to us about your requirements. All our safety glass is fully tested and complies with the relevant Safety Glass Standards. For more information please see our SAFETY GLASS page.
Q. WHAT IS ENERGY EFFICIENT GLASS?
A. Energy efficient glass is specialist glass that helps improve the energy efficiency of a building. Specially coated glass can give a greater protection against heat or cold; or both in some circumstances. Glass can be thermally insulated and/or have a conductive coating to increase solar activity. The thermal insulation helps prevent heat escaping and the conductive coating helps capture warmth from natural daylight. If you are looking for high-energy efficiency levels this is the glass for you – speak to us about your specific
Q. DO I HAVE TO USE ENERGY EFFICIENT GLASS?
A. One way of achieving greater energy efficiency is to reduce the amount of heat lost through glazing in windows and doors. Building Regulations also set out specific requirements around energy efficiency and the conservation of fuel and power: if you are installing windows and doors they must comply with the current Regulations regarding the amount of heat that can pass through the glass and framework (the ‘U-Value’). The ‘U-Value’ should not be exceeded and depends on whether your project is an existing or new build and the intended use of the building; generally speaking, the lower the ‘U-Value’ the better the performance of the glass. For more information see: www.gov.uk/government/publications/conservation-of-fuel-and-power-approved-document-l
Q. WHAT IS ACOUSTIC GLASS?
A. This is specialist glass that considerably reduces outside noise, especially near busy areas such as motorways, main roads and airports. When used in overhead or roof glazing, it can also provide insulation from the noise made by rain hitting the glass. This type of glass has a special bonded layer within it that reduces noise levels by absorbing the sound energy and preventing sound vibrations travelling through the glass. Acoustic glass can help manage noise levels and noise interruption; including the sound of people in open office spaces or schools. Please speak to us about your specific project, as making the right, informed choice is vital in ensuring that you meet any noise level requirements without sacrificing natural light and space. For more information and to see our product range click here: ACOUSTIC GLASS
Q. WHEN DO I HAVE TO USE ACOUSTIC GLASS?
A. Building Regulations have specific requirements in respect of resistance to sound. For more information see: www.gov.uk/government/publications/resistance-to-sound-approved-document-e
Specific provisions apply to schools – speak to us about your project. We can help you comply and demonstrate how to use acoustic glazing as part of an integrated noise reduction strategy for your project. We have undertaken a number of school projects and have used acoustic glazing, alongside fire rated and other specialist glazing, within school builds to help achieve aesthetically pleasing results with regard to light and space whilst ensuring compliance with the relevant Regulations. HOT MILL SCHOOL CASE STUDY
Q. DOES FIRE GLASS UK ONLY SUPPLY FIRE RATED GLASS?
A. No, whilst we are experts in supplying and fitting fire rated, safety or acoustic glass we also supply all types of glass and our experienced installation team are experts in general glass and glazing work and have undertaken many different projects across the UK; including work on large-scale projects and contract work. For more information see: SPECIALIST GLAZING or speak to us about your specific project needs – whatever your requirements we will be able to assist you.
Q. WHAT GLASS DO YOU STOCK?
A. We stock a wide range of products in all sizes – speak to us to discuss your individual needs. See our SPECIALIST GLASS page for more information.
Q. WHAT PROJECTS HAVE YOU WORKED ON?
A. The following link will take you to our GALLERY PAGE that highlights some of the recent projects we have been involved in.
Q. WHAT IS A VISION PANEL AND DO I NEED ONE?
A. Building Regulations provide that doors and side panels in excess of 450mm wide must be provided with viewing panels giving a minimum zone of visibility. The requirement applies to all entrance doors and to those internal doors where vision is appropriate; for example doors on escape routes or where doors are hung to swing both ways. Vision panels may also therefore need to be fire resistant. For more information please see: www.gov.uk/government/publications/protection-from-falling-collision-and-impact-approved-document-k