How Glass plays Its Part in Fire Protection

Read on for additional information on glass’s significance in fire protection

Photography by © Hoang Le

There are many items that come into a fire protection program. One that is often less mentioned than others, is the importance of glass. That is because technology has changed the properties of glass. By adding fire-glazing materials to them, it now helps keep people safer in their home and at the office. Here is more on the role of glass in fire protection.

Kim Long House
Photography by © Hoang Le

What needs to be taken in Account in a Comprehensive Fire Protection Program

The first element that you need to find in any building where people live or work, are detection devices. They are the ones that will raise the alarm and send people to safety, before it is too late to get out, or they asphyxiate from the smoke that is rising from the flames. You will find various items on the market that can handle this job, such as smoke and fire alarms, which are the most common ones.

The second key to the success of a comprehensive fire protection program, is suppression. This can involve material already in place that will get to work, whenever a fire starts, such as sprinklers and a smoke exhaust system, or other elements that can be found on site, to be used by humans, in the forms of extinguishers, which anyone can be utilized to put out the fire, at its inception. 

The last one is the one involving glass. Compartmentation is where the architect plays his biggest part in rendering the building as safe as possible, by using materials that will help contain the fire, in dedicated areas. By segregating the fire to only one room, it can protect the rest of the construction from burning as well. To make sure that the compartmentation will work, one needs to pick the right materials for the walls, the ceiling tiles, as well as the sealants. All of these can help to trap a raging fire. But glass can also take part in the fight, now that it has evolved into its new form, thanks to fire-rating glazing materials that are found on them. 

Photography by © Hoang Le

How did Glass change and take Its Place into Fire Protection Programs?

If we look back in time, through many decades, we will notice that there was only one type of glass that was considered for help in terms of protecting against fire in building constructions, which is polished wired glass. The problem is that, although it did provide some kind of safety against fire, it was actually a hazard for people, when it broke. And since it was only 25% stronger than tempered or laminated glass, it did not always make sense to use them. As for a normal glass window, it will simply fall out of its frame after a few minutes that the fire has started. It will happen when the room reaches about 250° Fahrenheit.

Now, move on to today, where you will find fire-rated glass that can withstand heat that rises up to 1,600° Fahrenheit. This is quite an advance, as it also enables them to remain in place for close to an hour, while the fire is burning. 

Photography by © Hoang Le

There is a large variety of products offered on the market that help prevent disastrous scenes at fires. For example, one solution is to install an aluminium window wall and door system that can extend as a curtain wall system solution. These products come in a variety of classes, in terms of fire resistance performance. They help save lives and are one of the reasons why glass has become a full-part of the main elements necessary to create a comprehensive fire protection program in houses and commercial buildings. 

All images from Kim Long House project beautifully designed by BHA studioSee the full story here

Mila designs Casa Sull’Albero in Montepulciano, Italy

Stone House by Constantino Trebucq, Josefina Trebucq & Milagros Sirena