Sprinkler code changes to affect fire-rated glazing

January 7, 2010

The fire-rated glazing industry faces ever-changing codes and standards. One of the newest codes to come from the International Code Council’s Fire and Safety Committee limits the size and placement of wired glass and ceramics, according to Jeff Griffiths, director of business development, Safti First, San Francisco.

The ICC committee approved a proposal to eliminate the use of non-temperature-rise restrictive glazing—ceramics and wired glass—in applications larger than 100 square inches in doors where a sprinkler system is present, Griffiths says.

“We were successful in turning back the trend to rely solely on sprinklers for fire protection,” Griffiths says. “The committee agreed that the presence of sprinklers in the building should not eliminate the life safety and fire spread hazard posed by unrestricted transmission of radiant heat flux through large sizes of fire protection-rated glazing panels, especially when those doors are protecting exit enclosures or passageways.

“We see this as ... an indication within the code community that radiant heat transmission is a far greater concern than the effort to simply contain smoke and flames,” Griffiths says. “Hopefully this concern will spill over to the design and glazing community, resulting in the greater use of fire-resistive glazing that insulates against the spread of heat.”