Some Updates—Codes and Otherwise

Judging by your response to the recent blogs in this space, there is widespread concern about glass railings. These concerns generally center on safety issues, dealing mainly with those who do not know the proper codes and/or installation procedures or are deficient in installation skills.

Our industry wasn’t the only one to notice this problem. The International Building Code’s (IBC) Section 2406 is being rewritten to define terms such as guards and handrails. Previously, the section used terms such as guardrails and railing in-fill panels.

During a recent glass conference code update, industry consultant Thom Zaremba explained that glass in guards must meet the load requirements of 1607.8. The glass also must meet a safety factor of four. To determine if the safety factor is met it’s important to first calculate the allowable stress of the glass. For tempered glass, allowable stress is determined by dividing its published ultimate strength by four, which results in an allowable stress of 6,000 pounds of force per square inch (psi). For heat-strengthened glass, the allowable stress is 3,000 psi and the same process is used. According to Zaremba, these allowable stresses must be compared to those as required by Section 1607.8 in order to determine whether or not the glass being used in the guard assembly meets the required safety factor of four.

Code changes also are coming for another one of my favorite safety subjects—wired glass. USGlass magazine has been publicizing the issues surrounding wired glass for nearly two decades. If you go to the USGlass magazine online archives and put in the search term “wired glass,” you should get any stories from our print publications for the past 12 years and from our online news services for the last two years or so. (By the way, the archive search is a free service for readers and can help you find info quickly.)

I was heartened to learn that Canada has adopted a new safety glazing standard that is very similar to the one in the U.S. CAN/CGSB 12.1-2017 supersedes CAN/CGSB 12.1 – M90 and decrees that monolithic wired glass is no longer classified as safety glazing.

Wired glass used in Canada must be coated organically when used in hazardous locations, even if a fire protection rated product is also required, according to Zaremba.

There are more proposed code changes that affect the glass industry and we will be covering them in coming weeks. Thanks to everyone who reached out about the glass railings.

Our New Virtual Reality

I wanted to take a moment and invite you to join our editorial staff and me at the upcoming GlassCon Global VE-Glass Expo VE September 9-10 online. This event is not your typical “zoom-like” conference meeting or web microsite. Come join us for great educational sessions, social events such as a wine tasting, charity 5K and morning yoga, and an 80-booth trade show. You can register here. Please use the Promo Code “USGB” to attend as my guest at no charge.