Making Manifestations on Glass Work with Your Design

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Manifestations are required for all elements of glass in ‘Critical Locations’ as determined by Diagram 5.1 in Approved Document K. This includes areas of uninterrupted transparent glass which forms part of the walls/partitions of any building that is not a private house.

The requirements and guidance for manifestations are detailed in requirements K5.2 of Approved Document K as well as Section 7.

The idea behind the requirements of Part K and Section 7 is to ensure that visitors in a building know that glass is there and do not walk into it. This could cause injury to the person and damage the glazing or building structure.

As Approved Document K5.2 and Section 7 details out the requirements for manifestations on all projects that are not private houses it also offers some guidance on how this can be achieved as part of your building design.

Alternatives to Manifestation Designs on Glass

You can use physical elements within the glass partition or glass doors to make it clear that there is a physical structure there. Some examples of these are shown in Diagram 7.1:

  1. A substantial frame around the glazing or glass door

The frame can be made of any material if as long as it is ‘substantial’. There is no guidance as to what substantial means which leaves this open to interpretation. Some of the below examples could be considered to have a ‘substantial’ frame. Most framed fire rated glass doors will have a ‘substantial’ profile of over 130mm which means that a manifestation on the glass is not likely to be required.

  1. Large handles or push plates on each glass door leaf

You can make these door handles a real design feature of the glass doors. The below example used a bespoke handle design of architectural metals to satisfy the requirement for manifestation.

bespoke door handles

  1. Use glass less than 400 mm wide between joints or frames

This iconic glass design by Thomas Heatherwick shows how the use of narrow elements of glazing can maintain transparency and become an eye-catching feature of your architectural design.

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  1. Integrate glazing bars into the glass partition or door

There has been a general increase in the popularity of steel or steel look doors for commercial developments. As well as offering projects a touch of ageless class and design these industrial glazing designs also satisfy the Park K requirements for manifestations on glass designs.

These glass doors and partitions were made using the Mitika slim frames door system which has a very minimal outer profile. By including glazing bars into the glass door design not only did the architects create an industrial glazing design in keeping with the project but they satisfied their requirements for K5.2. The glass doors and partitions are clearly visible thanks to the glazing bar design which minimises the risk of impact with the glazing.

Mitika Cross Pieces

Another solution would be to use the Piana internal glass doors with a decorative band. Piana Internal glass doors can be designed with a horizontal band across the glass face. This can be in a contrasting material to the glass which shows a physical barrier within the glass face.

Piana Band Sliding Doors

It is useful to note that manifestations are only required on ‘large uninterrupted areas of transparent glass’ to minimise the risk of collision. If you use tinted, coloured or decorative glasses the glass element is no longer ‘transparent’ and it is clear that there is a physical barrier there.

You can see from the image below this Mitika internal door used a smoked tinted glass within the sliding panes from the reception to meeting room. This coloured glass distinctly shows that there is a glass barrier there and will prevent occupants from walking into it.

Manifestation Designs

If you are using a clear transparent element of glazing a manifestation should be included within the glazing design. There is a lot of design choice available when considering these manifestations and various methods with which they can be incorporated into your glass design. Whichever method is chosen the below rules from Building Regulations should be adhered to:

  • Manifestations should be at two levels as in Diagram 7.2.
  • Manifestations should contrast visually with the background that can be seen through the glass from both sides and in all lighting conditions.
  • If the manifestation is a logo or sign it must be a minimum of 150 mm tall and it must be repeated if it is on a larger glazed screen.
  • If the manifestation is a line or band on the glass it must be at least 50 mm tall.

You can see an example of a manifestation design on the Blenheim Palace project we worked on. The World Heritage site was renovated and we designed various glass inserts for the archways in the East Courtyard.

frameless glass

The glass was decorated with the logo and branding of Blenheim Palace. Not only did these glazing designs provide the required manifestations for the glazing but they maintained the design of the building and provided signage for visitors so they knew where each door would lead them.

Manifestations on Frameless Glass

Whatever your design requirement there are various ways to integrate visual indications into your glass design without detracting from the overall architectural glazing package. If considered at an early stage these required safety elements can become a true part of your architectural design.

For further advice and guidance about how you can incorporate manifestation designs within your architectural glazing design just speak to one of the technical experts at IQ. You can do this by calling the Sky House head office on 01494 722 880 or filling in our enquiry form.

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Rebecca is Head of Marketing at the IQ Group and has worked in glazing specification for many years. She has a broad range of technical knowledge about all our glazing products and offers technical advice and guidance to architects for specification. Her easy to digest technical advice is often quoted in magazines and publications. You might also recognise her as one of the IQ Glass CPD presenters.
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