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USGNN Original StoryBuilding Officials Get Safety Glazing Codes Update During Viracon Tour

The Americas Glass Association's director of technical services, Donn Harter, recently had the opportunity to educate 25 building inspection personnel about the 2006 safety glazing codes-onsite at Viracon's one million-square-foot fabrication plant in Owatonna, Minn.

Russell Thornburg, program chairman for the S. E. Minnesota Chapter of the International Codes Council and building inspector for the City of Owatonna, arranged for the tour and the following presentation.

Roger Skluzacek, technical services manager for Viracon, led the building inspectors through the tour of company's fabrication facility, including its horizontal tempering line, pyrolytic glass coating application line, autoclaves for the production of laminated glass and the fabrication process for insulating glass units. Following the tour, Harter presented the building officials with a seminar on the major changes for safety glazing in the 2006 International Building Code (IBC). This included information on:

  • The declassification of ¼-inch wired glass as a safety glazing product. However, Harter said, wired glass is being fabricated with a polyester film that meets the Category II requirement for hazardous locations.
  • A new requirement about "bugging" states that the temperer shall permanently etch all tempered glass, while laminated glass shall be bugged by the manufacturer or the installer. Harter said the code permits the omission of the bug on laminated glass where the building official approves a written statement that safety glazing has been used. Harter strongly opposes this exception, saying that the inspector and industry depend on the bug for safety glazing identification and documentation can be lost. He proposes instead that multiple lite assemblies of less than 1-square-foot may have one lite with the full bug applied, while all other lites in that assembly shall be identified by CPSC 16 CFR 1201.
  • Harter also told attendees that residential sidelites perpendicular to the door on the latchside need not be safety glazed, a requirement that he said is a "poor code exception."
  • Glazing in elevators is an inconclusive addition referring to the use of laminated glass. According to Harter, the code should have referred to the ANSI Standard 17.1. In reality, most elevator plan check and inspection is done by state having jurisdiction and follows the National Elevator code using the ANSI 17.1 standard.
  • Interior "air-gap" glazing, he explained, limits the amount of deflection that potentially can cause scissor-like impinging.
  • Harter recommended guidelines for design limitations for safe frameless shower installations.
  • One of the fastest growing areas of the architectural glazing trade is that of fire-rated glazing, he told his audience. He explained that it is designed to resist fire passage and reduce radiant heat transmission. In addition, this sophisticated product must meet safety glazing, energy, earthquake and hurricane force wind requirements.

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