Can fire doors have glass in them?
Fire rated doors are a must in all business and commercial spaces. They provide additional safety and security for employees, clients and the building itself. Despite the huge safety features they offer, many fire rated doors are not aesthetically pleasing; heavy glazed fire doors obstruct natural light and internal fire doors may prevent that ‘open plan office’ look you are trying to achieve.
However, there is an easy solution to this – glass! While it is not commonly known, fire doors can have glass in them, and glazed fire doors are becoming increasingly popular. The use of fire rated glass is transforming office spaces, allowing architects and internal designers to incorporate natural light, illumination and transparency into their work while still completely adhering to building regulations and ensuring safety against fire.
Fire rated door glazing
All fire rated doors that contain glass panels must use fire rated glass. This is a specialist type of glass which has been specifically designed to provide protection against fire. The glass in fire rated doors will act as a barrier against flames, stopping their spread, and will also stop smoke from spreading throughout the rest of the building. Depending on the type of glass, the glazed panel will also act as an insulator, protecting the rest of the site against the heat of the fire. All rated fire doors which contain glass must use fire rated glass according to building regulations.
Testing for quality
All fire rated glass for use in glazed fire doors has been carefully tested by independent companies in controlled conditions to ensure that it is safe to use. Usually, the glass and frame are inserted into a test furnace, which is then lit to mimic a real fire. The temperatures on the surface of the glass are recorded and a rating is given based on the temperatures and length of time the glass remains structurally integral. Normal glass can withstand approximately 120 degrees Celsius, usually only a few minutes in a real fire. Good quality fire rated glass can withstand temperatures of up to 900 degrees, over seven times that of normal glass. In addition, it can protect against these temperatures for over 60 minutes, preventing the fire from spreading and providing more than enough time for full evacuation and fire fighters to attend the scene.