People across the globe have witnessed the devastation that a fire leaves behind. This made safety as one of the key elements of the physical requirements of building designs. The government even made it a point to require building owners and designers to adhere to safety protocols and standards in constructing one. Because of this, fire-rated glass technology has seen continuous growth and further innovation.
Fire-rated glass is a specialised type of glass designed to withstand high temperatures and prevent the spread of fire in buildings. It has become a key element in contemporary building design, both commercial and residential, and plays an important part in ensuring the safety of building occupants.
The latest advancements in fire-rated glass technology
Recent advancements in fire-rated glass technology have effectively improved the safety and efficiency of buildings. It also allows for greater design flexibility and lower installation costs. Let us explore these recent innovations and evaluate their benefits.
Impact resistance fire-rated glass
Impact-resistant fire-rated glass is a type of specialised glass designed to provide both fire protection and impact resistance. This type of glass is commonly used in building construction, particularly in areas where there is a higher risk of fire, such as stairwells, elevator shafts, and other vertical openings.
This fire-rated glass is made by combining two or more layers of glass with a clear, fire-resistant interlayer. The glass is also treated to resist impact and prevent shattering, even in high-stress situations. This combination of fire resistance and impact resistance provides a high level of protection for occupants of a building in the event of a fire or even other emergencies.
High-performance fire-rated glass
Superior fire protection is the ultimate feature of high-performance fire-rated glass. Just like the impact-resistant type, this glass is usually installed in high-risk fire areas inside the building. It is designed to remain in place even when exposed to fire, preventing flames and smoke from spreading to other areas of the building.
This glass is produced using specialised interlayers placed between multiple layers of glass. These interlayers are made from clear, fire-resistant materials that can withstand high temperatures and keep flames and smoke from passing through the glass. In case of fire, the interlayer forms a protective barrier that slows the spread of flames and heat.
Multi-functional fire-rated glass
Multi-functional fire-rated glass is probably the type that has the most benefits. It is designed not just to provide fire protection, but also security, sound reduction and energy efficiency. This fire-rated glass is usually installed in areas inside the building where both fire protection and its additional functions are necessary.
Multi-functional fire-rated glass is designed to work by combining specialised materials and coatings to provide multiple functions in a single product. The exact composition of this glass can vary depending on the specific application and requirements of the project. It is also tested and certified to meet various standards for fire resistance. These certifications ensure that the glass can with withstand exposure to fire and high temperatures for a specified period of time without breaking or allowing flames and smoke to pass through.
Benefits of the latest advancements in the fire-rated glass technology
There was a time when little wired glass lites are the only fire-rated glazing available. It even used to be a compromise when it came to building aesthetics. It is the innovations in the fire-rated glass technology that made it possible to achieve superior fire protection without sacrificing aesthetics, energy efficiency and other design considerations.
Here are the key benefits of the latest advancements in fire-rated glass technology and how they can help improve building safety and performance.
Superior fire protection
Modern fire-rated glass can endure high temperatures and provide excellent fire resistance, helping to contain flames and smoke and keep them from spreading to other parts of the building. This buys valuable time for evacuation and rescue efforts, reducing the risk of injury or loss of life.
Various factors contribute to the superior fire protection brought about by modern fire-rated glass. One of them is the use of specialised interlayers sandwiched between layers of glass to provide additional strength and insulation. These interlayers are made from materials that expand when exposed to heat and form a thick, protective layer that helps prevent flames and smoke from penetrating the glass.
Another factor is the rigorous testing and certification it undergoes, the ultimate guarantee that it meets the strict fire-resistance standards. By meeting or exceeding these standards, modern fire-rated glass can provide a high level of fire protection essential for building safety.
In the past, fire-rated glass was often portrayed as poor in clarity, a type of glass that offered limited light transmission, which made it difficult to achieve an aesthetic and modern look in building design. However, due to the latest advancements, it is finally possible to achieve excellent clarity and light transmission using fire-rated glass without compromising fire protection.
These days, modern fire-rated glass is now customised to meet a wide range of aesthetic and performance requirements, providing options for varying thickness, tints and coatings to achieve distinct requirements. Some fire-rated glass products are available in low-iron formulations that minimise the greenish tint often associated with traditional glass, while some include specialised coatings that enhance solar control. This helps improve energy efficiency and comfort for the building occupants while still meeting the standards for fire resistance.
Fire-rated glass technology also offers improved energy efficiency. They can provide excellent thermal insulation, reducing heat transfer and helping to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures all year round. This is a huge advantage, especially in areas with extreme temperatures, and energy costs can be a significant factor in building operation and maintenance.
The thermal insulation properties of the innovative fire-rated glass consist of several factors. The use of low-emissivity (low-e) coatings is one of its key aspects, which helps to reflect infrared heat back into the building and keep it from escaping through the glass. Some of these glasses also include specialised gas fills or multiple layers of glass, which also enhance its thermal performance and, in effect, energy efficiency.
How to choose the right provider for your fire-rated glass technology needs
Finding the right provider of fire-rated glass is important to ensure that your building is safe, functional and aesthetically pleasing. Here are some tips to help you find the right provider:
Experience and expertise
While some products can still be reliable even if they come from beginners in the industry, experience and expertise matter when you talk about fire-rated glass. Look for a provider with a proven track record of delivering high-quality fire-rated glass solutions for various building types and applications. Consider key aspects like years of experience, certifications and references from past clients.
Compliance with industry standards
Fire-rated glass must also comply with strict industry standards to ensure that it provides the necessary protection in the event of a fire. Make sure to choose a provider that is familiar with the latest industry standards and regulations, and that their products have been independently tested and certified to meet these standards.
Design and customisation options
The right provider should be able to provide a range of design and customisation options to meet your distinct requirements. Choose the provider that can work closely with you to understand your design goals and provide tailored solutions that meet your needs.
Quality and performance
Fire-rated glass can easily be the most important component of building safety. Therefore, it is important to choose a provider that offers high-quality products that perform as expected. Choose the provider that uses top-quality materials, employs advanced manufactured techniques and provides comprehensive warranties and technical support.
Consider service and support
Finally, choosing the right provider is not just about the product itself. It is also about getting excellent customer service and support, including prompt response to enquiries, assistance with product selection and installation and any technical support after installation.
Never compromise on building safety. Choose the provider with the experience, expertise and commitment to the quality you deserve. Contact VJF today to discuss your fire-rated glass requirements. Our products have certifications and are tested for quality and integrity. With VJF, you can ensure that your building is equipped with the best possible fire protection, today and in the future.