November 2, 2016

10 Important Glazing Questions Your Glazier Should Be Asking You

Written by Rebecca Clayton

Commercial Structural Glass

Architectural Glazing is a complex element of architectural designs. As such there are some key important glazing questions that professional glazing companies should be asking you.

When it comes to specifying bespoke glazing systems, knowing the answers to these important glazing questions ensures that as a professional glazier, we are able to ensure that the specialist glazing solutions meet all project requirements, both in terms of performance and design.

Without knowing this, it would be difficult to successfully design and engineer bespoke architectural glazing for your project.

This is why if you are not being asked these important glazing questions it may be that the company is not considering these issues which will fundamentally affect the specification and ultimate performance of your glazing and window systems.

Commercial Structural Glass

1. What is the wind load for your project?

The architectural glazing company must have the wind load for your property/project. This figure will dictate what systems can be offered and the glass specification for large glazed elevations.

If a glazing system that has not been tested to your specific wind load is used then there will be latent issues with weather tightness and the glazing will not be strong enough to withstand the loads exerted upon it by the wind.

2. What is the required thermal performance for your project?

There are standard minimum thermal performance requirements for glazing in the UK, however, a SAP calculation for the whole building may dictate that the new glazing needs a higher performance. Your glazing supplier should be asking what performance you need to achieve.

Material Standards

3. Is the glass in a marine environment? 

Although there are some very technical specifications for aluminium or steel framing and the finishes applied to it the most important element to consider is identifying whether the site requires ‘marine grade’ finish.

This is applicable to all sites within 5 miles of the coast, due to the aggressive nature of the salty air.

If your site is within this distance your window supplier should be offering this finish which includes pre-treating the frames and applying a marine grade coating to the framing.

4. Do you require UV filters?

The sun can create a wonderful ambience within a space however when you have expensive artwork, real wood flooring or furniture within your space you do not want the ultra-violet rays from the sun to fade them. Your glazing supplier should be offering you the option of a UV filter within the glass make up.

5. What solar control solutions are you using?

Another concern if your glazing faces south is the solar gain. Your window supplier should be identifying this and offering the correct level of solar control to your glazing. Modern coatings have very high levels of transparency although some suppliers are still using cheaper reflective coatings. Alternative Solar Shading options include the installation of external automated louvres. You can find out more about these solar shading options here.

10 Important Glazing Questions Your Glazier Should Be Asking You

6. What is your drainage solution?

Where is the water runoff from your architectural glazing going to go? Obviously, your architect or engineer should have planned for the drainage of water falling on the glazing or in more severe situations being blown directly at the glazing. Your glazing supplier should be making themselves aware what the strategy for water dispersal and removal is and whether their proposal can deal with it. All full height opening installations with a flush threshold should feature a threshold drain.

7. What is access to the property like?

One of the first questions a client should be asked is how the glazing supplier is going to get the windows, doors or glass to the point where it is to be installed. Large elements may require a crane and this can soon start to add cost to your project if it is going over the house or requires a road closure. Other areas in properties like basements cause access issues if large elements cannot be manoeuvred through the structure. Your glazing supplier should be asking this question and providing costs early on in the process.

8. Does the glazing need to be fire rated?

In some cases, the glazing may need to have a certain fire rating. The most common fire ratings in the UK for glazing are EI30 and EI60, although some projects may require up to EI120.This is one of the most important glazing questions as if a system is required to be fire rated in order to be signed off by building control but isn't, the building will not be signed off which can be a costly mistake in terms of both finance and time. 

9. What type of frame finish are you looking to achieve?

IQ offers a wide range of finishing options for our glazing systems. The available options will depend on the system and the framing material. aluminium glazing solutions are by far the most popular, and aluminium framing profiles can be finished in a polyester powder coating with a choice of over 200 RAL colours or special finishes such as anodising can be used. 

For structural glazing or other frameless glazing solutions, as fixings and connections are concealed within the building finishes this is not a major factor as the finishes would not be seen. 

10. Are there any required security ratings for the glazing?

The most common security rating for architectural glazing solutions in the UK is PAS24. This is not always required as architects must ensure the home is secure as a whole, and this can be done in many ways. However, some projects may have stricter requirements when some of the glazing solutions are required to have a PAS24 certification. Luckily IQ have a wide range of glazing solutions that have undergone and passed rigorous testing and are PAS24 certified. This included the minimal windows Sliding Doors system, which is ideal for any project thanks to the minimal design of the system.

Don’t be caught out once you have committed to a glazing supplier. Make sure that these issues are discussed at an early stage so that you know your company can offer what you want.

For more information on specifying bespoke architectural glazing, contact the IQ team today.