Fire-Rated Glass FAQs
No, regular tempered glass is not the same as fire-rated glass. While toughened glass is strong enough to withstand physical impacts, and is designed to break into blunt pieces rather than sharp shards if it does shatter, this type of glazing won’t be able to withstand the extreme heat of a fire.
Different types of fires can range from 800°C to 1500°C and above, so fire-rated glass has to be specially manufactured to endure these temperatures. It also needs to withstand thermal shock, which can happen when cold water from sprinklers or fire hoses comes into contact with hot glass.
To achieve its fire rating, the glass is thoroughly tested to discover the length of time it stays intact when subjected to intense heat, smoke, impact pressure, and thermal shock. Fire-rated glass should offer at least 30 minutes of fire resistance and meet all the regulatory performance requirements.
Like laminated glass, it can be used in a variety of internal and external applications, but fire-rated glass may be subject to specific installation and size limitations under UK building codes. You cannot use ordinary toughened glass as a substitute for fire-rated glass, as it won’t perform the same way.
Fire-resistant glass can withstand temperatures hundreds of degrees higher than standard toughened glass. It uses multiple thin layers of toughened glass to slow the spread of fire – giving people more time to get out of the building, and making it easier and safer for firefighters to put the fire out when they arrive.
Fire-rated glass doors and partitions do the job of regular glass in dividing spaces and improving aesthetics, but they have the added function of trapping flames, smoke, and heat inside the partitioned area for at least 30 minutes. Not only does this save lives, but it also limits damage to the building and reduces repair costs.
The TG100 fire-rated glass system available from Glass Interiors offers high levels of protection without compromising on looks. Its 30mm deep section offers a slimline appearance and is available up to 3m high for fire glass walls and doors. They can be used both internally and externally to keep buildings safe.
There are two classifications for fire protection when it comes to glass doors and walls. Fire integrity refers to the ability of the glass to stop the progress of fire and smoke, while fire insulation refers to its ability to prevent heat from moving to the other side of the glass partition.
Category E is for integrity only, preventing the spread of fire and gases (including smoke) but not the transfer of heat through the glass.
Category EI is for both integrity and insulation, offering the highest protection against flames, smoke, and heat so that people can evacuate safely in the event of a fire.
Fire-rated glass is rigorously tested in a controlled environment to determine its rating. The rating will be listed in minutes; for example, E30 fire-rated glass should maintain its integrity against flames and smoke for at least 30 minutes.
At Glass Interiors, we provide fire-rated glass certified EI30 and EI60, which provide full integrity and insulation protection for 30 or 60 minutes respectively. They can also come with an acoustic rating for the added benefit of soundproofing.
The purpose of fire-rated glazing is to support safe escape routes in buildings where there is a greater risk of fire and/or fewer exit routes from upper floors. Specialist fire-rated glass can limit the spread of fire – withstanding the heat and, in some cases, holding back smoke – for enough time to allow people to evacuate the building.
This is why fire-rated doors and windows or partitions are a legal requirement in certain settings. While the specifications depend on fire safety building regulations for the particular type and usage and safety glass building regulations for the location of installation, fire-rated elements are mandatory for most multi-storey buildings.
While they don’t need to include glass, any doors or partitions that must be fire-rated where you want to include glass must use fire-rated glass. So, if you want glass doors or doors with windows to improve light flow and sightlines, you can still incorporate glass – you just need to make sure the planned installation is appropriately fire-rated.
Fire safety should be a priority for any building used by a large number of people, such as employees, visitors, and members of the public. While not all glass partitions and doors need to be fire-rated, it’s crucial to install fire-rated glass where necessary.
Typical areas where fire glass should be used include entrances and exits, stairwells, and any other escape routes from common areas. Consult the building regulations for your region to find out where fire-rated glass must be implemented to comply with the law, and where glass should be both integrity and insulation protected versus places where the glass can be integrity-only.
Fire-rated glass partitions and doors should be appropriately tested and should only be installed as part of an approved fire safety system. Never risk reduced effectiveness in the event of a fire by attempting DIY installation. Fire glass should always be fitted by a specialist, such as Glass Interiors, to ensure a professional-standard installation that's completely in line with building regulations.
Installing a glass partition will always reduce the transmission of sound from one side to the other somewhat, but the soundproofing ability will depend on factors such as the glass thickness, how it is manufactured, and whether it is specifically designed for noise reduction. For example, we offer acoustic laminate glass that can offer sound insulation up to 62dB.
When it comes to fire-rated glass specifically, this is constructed using layers in a similar way, which can automatically improve the sound insulation compared to standard types of toughened glass. However, while it does have acoustic properties in this regard, fire-rated glazing is designed for protection against fire, so noise reduction is secondary to this purpose.
That said, the fire-rated glass we provide does have comparable acoustic insulation to other types of non-fire-rated partitions and doors. Pyranova 30 is available in 15mm or 18mm thicknesses and offers sound reduction up to 38dB, while Pyranova 60 is available at 23mm thick and offers sound reduction up to 41dB.
It’s possible to achieve a frameless appearance for fire-rated glass, but it can’t actually be frameless. This is because a frame is necessary to guarantee the system’s integrity, with fire-resistant joints that also meet the appropriate standards. It cannot be advertised as fire-rated glazing otherwise, as the system is only as efficient as its weakest parts, which can lower or invalidate the overall rating.
To get the frameless fire-rated glass look, there must be a recessed frame surrounding it that can be hidden in the wall. When it comes to fire-rated glass doors and adjoining fire-rated glass panels, there may be a visible seam. This is due to the thermoplastic spacer used to seal the gaps – usually made of silicone – but the visual effect is minimal, so the thin lines shouldn’t disrupt the aesthetics.
Fire-rated glass walls and doors still look stunning within an aluminium frame, which you can customise by choosing a polyester powder coating or brushed steel/bronze finish. Our fire-rated glass panels are also compatible with our Crittall-style banded glass partitions, which is a trendy design for contemporary workplaces. To enquire about frameless fire glass, please get in touch.
When installing fire-rated glass partitions and doors in any property, it’s essential to comply with local Building Regulations. These laws are enforced to make sure health and safety initiatives are effective – that they’re installed correctly, in the right places, using the appropriate materials.
The Fire Safety Building Regulations can be found in Approved Document B, which has two volumes for dwellings and non-dwellings. These explain all the required elements for fire safety systems, including alarms, escape routes, signage, sprinklers, and structures and linings designed to prevent ‘internal fire spread’. The ‘Fire resistance of glazed elements’ section applies for fire-rated glazing.
You can also find more information on Building Regulations for safety glass in Approved Document K, and more guidance on the use of fire-resistant glazing in the publication A Guide to Best Practice in the Specification and Use of Fire-resistant Glazed Systems by the Glass and Glazing Federation.
Ensuring that your business or residential space complies with fire safety laws doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice aesthetics. At Glass Interiors, we understand the importance of creating a workspace or home that works for you, with functionality, safety, and appearance all in one package – which is what our skilled team and made-to-order fire-rated glazing systems can provide.
We use tried-and-tested products that can be manufactured according to your specifications, creating a bespoke partition or framed door with your choice of finishes. Our fire-rated screens and doors are compatible with manifestation graphics for added safety and decorative value, and blinds or switch glass for extra privacy if required.
The Glass Interiors team prides itself on being at the forefront of industry knowledge, maintaining the highest standards in our services as well as the products we select to use in our installations. We don’t just supply the glass in your requested dimensions – we consult with you to design a full system that meets your needs and is legally compliant, then visit your site at a scheduled time to expertly install your fire-rated glass for you.