Why is Fire Rated Glass Essential in a Modern Office?

Fire safety influences architectural design


The design of a building is influenced by the function it needs to perform and building regulations that it needs to adhere to. The materials chosen for each project need to be carefully considered to ensure that the design is not only a stunning work of art but also that it minimises the risk of injuries or fatalities if an accident within the building were to occur.

Fire rated steel framed glass wall partition Fire safety is one of the main things to consider when designing a commercial property, and it’s an area in the construction industry that is on every architect’s mind especially after the huge tragedy at Grenfell Tower. Fire rated glazing comes in many forms, from fire rated glass doors, fire resistant glass screens and frameless effect fire rated walls.

Previously, minimalistic glass installations had to be traded in for not-so-minimalistic fire-rated systems, but thanks to modern glazing technology there are systems that offer nearly a frameless effect while exceeding fire regulations. These specialist fire-rated glass systems blend with the surrounding design seamlessly to enhance contemporary commercial architecture.

Despite the robust glass makeup of fire-rated glazing, it’s absolutely possible to create ultra-clear minimalistic glazing installations. For maximum transparency, IQ have a unique frameless fire rated glass system for internal and external installations that can be seen installed in the Great George Street project.

Frameless fire-rated glazing was installed throughout the building to allow maximum light ingress throughout the offices while meeting building regulations. This frameless effect product is ideal when transparency and vision are important design requirements in offices, especially when installing in large sizes.


Internal office building with multi-storey glass facades, structural glass walls and fire-rated glass doors


Achieving a transparent office design with frameless glass walls

In public buildings, transparent glass walls have the ability to separate yet simultaneously connect spaces together. This atmospheric separation is unique to transparent building materials and is why internal glass walls are so highly sought after in modern architecture. Because of this, frameless effect glass is widely used in commercial atriums, corridor walls, glass lift shafts, glass floors and for building envelopes. Frameless glazing opens the doors to so many architectural design opportunities, such as visual continuity and allowing light into the internal core of a building.

Frameless glass office wall

Fire-rated glass walls aid in the constant pursuit of transparent design that regularly challenges architects, by allowing glass to be used in commercial buildings that would otherwise have to be an opaque wall of brick, block or dry-wall. The frameless fire rated glass walls from IQ offer fire resistance for 30-60 minutes integrity and insulation, using specially designed fire-resistant glass units.

Transparent butt-glazed walls are manufactured without vertical mullions for maximum transparency and light intake. The silicone joints of each glass pane are 30mm-40mm for an exceptionally minimal finish. Architects are always looking for innovative products that break boundaries and allow them to do more with less, therefore introducing frameless fire-resistant glazing gives architects a great latitude in designing more engaging buildings that meet fire safety requirements.


The increased demand in fire-rated glazing

Internal steel fire rated office doorThe increase in demand for contemporary fire-rated glazing has pushed glass manufacturers to constantly innovate new products. Large and oversized fire-rated glass units are being used more within offices to improve natural light in the workplace. Within these minimalistic internal glass installations, frameless fire rated glass doors are being integrated to create a cohesive sense of openness to the interior design. There are many advantages of using internal glass doors in office spaces including improved communication between colleagues and the obvious benefit of increased natural light which makes staff feel more productive and uplifted. 

Frameless fire-rated doors are suitable for use as internal fire rated doors resulting in exceptionally modern elements of office interior design. These glass doors can be manufactured as single or double doors with a fire rating of 30-60 minute insulation and integrity. With these frameless fire rated doors, there is a small back painted band that surrounds each opening door which is the only profile visible. This band creates a neat external edge that hides the intumescent seal of the fire-rated glass unit.


Industrial style fire-rated glazing for offices

The frameless fire rated doors from IQ can be designed as frameless systems or they can be finished with a glazing bar appearance, using ceramic frit. Alternatively, traditional steel frames can be used to create a more authentic aesthetic to the glazing which still achieves excellent fire-resistant ratings. The steel-framed fire rated glazing can achieve a fire rating from E30 up to EI90.

With the steel-framed fire-rated glass units, the crisscrossing glazing bars are from 50mm wide. This slim yet robust glazing system discreetly and elegantly implements fire resistance. The traditional aesthetic looks outstanding in heritage buildings where a renovation/ refurbishment project aims to maintain the original aesthetics that would have been present when the building was constructed. An example of this was 25 Savile Row where classic Art Deco-inspired steel fire-rated systems were installed in several locations throughout the Derwent London office building.

Internal fire rated steel office partition


Fire safety should be one of the main priorities in offices to ensure the safety of all the staff in the building. Health and safety regulations set out strict guidelines that businesses need to abide by, however, they tend to vary from building to building depending on the use and the expected footfall within the building. Architects need to take these factors into accounts to ensure their designs meet the requirements for the purpose of the office structure.

Fire-rated glass helps to protect fire exit routes and to prevent the spread of fires and smoke throughout an office, mainly to protect the occupants but also to help protect a business’s assets. By restricting fires from spreading rapidly, buildings are safeguarded against catastrophic damage. Using glass is an outstanding safety measure, as the building looks contemporary and elegant, but with powerful fire protection functionalities.

Are you looking to specify fire-rated glazing for office spaces? Speak to the team at IQ who can advise you on the best system and glazing options for your project. Either email hello@iqprojectsuk.com or call 01494 722 880.

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Lucy Thompson

Lucy is a member of the Marketing team at IQ Glass. She spends most her time working on the company's website and SEO strategy. She also enjoys dabbling in photography and putting together other creative content.

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