Subscribe to USGNN!

USGNN Original StoryFire & Safety Glazing Council Reviews Progress Before Upcoming Meeting

The Fire & Safety Glazing Council (FSGC), a division of the Americas Glass Association (AGA) is inviting interested parties to attend it's meeting on May 1, 2008, at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas.

During the group's last meeting an ad hoc committee of the FSGC met to review issues and concerns of the fire-rated glazing industry and to develop an outline for full industry review. Donn Harter, president of AGA, provided a report of the group's last meeting:

The committee is made up of the co-chair John La Torra, a building official for Redwood City and board member of the International Code Council (ICC); vice chair Greg Abel, chair of Advocates for Safe Glass; chair of education Len Brunette, president of Vetrotech Saint-Gobain; steering committee and AGA chair Mike Grossman, manager of technical services of Vitro America; and co-chair Harter. In addition to the FSGC members in attendance were: Harold Hicks, president of Atlantic Code Consultants; Rich Curkeet, chief engineer of building and health products of Intertek Testing Service (ITS); Tim Schaeffer, engineer and inspection manager of ITS; and Tom Janicak, director of industry affairs of Ceco Door.

Items discussed included:

  • Wired glass and safety films. The 2006 International Building Code (IBC) no longer permits ¼-inch polished wired glass where the CPSC Standard, 16 CFR-1201, Category II applies. However, certain fabricators are supplying the glazing market with a Category II film applied to ¼-inch polished wired glass for use in hazardous location where Category II safety glazing is required. The fire-rated glass industry has been applying a Category II film to ceramics for many years to comply with safety glazing.
    Surface-applied safety films have not been specifically recognized by the ICC. Shouldn't there be code provisions for this product? Should filmed safety glazing by labeled as such?
  • Certification. Glaziers should be certified to field install fire-rated glass. Glaziers should be certified to field-apply Category II film. ITS uses an ISO personnel certification program, noted Curkeet and Schaeffer during the meeting.
  • Test standards. Should there be any changes in the test standards due to current product performance levels? Committee members discussed the necessity of the continuance of the hose stream test, as one example.
  • Building codes. How good is enforcement by the Building Department? How does the Building Department recognize fire-rated glazing-as "protective" and/or "resistive?"
  • NFPA 80. Can we clarify language that defines the difference between door assembly and door and sidelite assembly: window versus wall assembly? Hicks explained that these are clarified by definition with illustrations in the 2007 edition of the NFPA 80 standard.
  • Glass labeling. What is the simplest way to label fire-rated glass?
  • Frame labeling. Should it be required?
  • Sprinklers. Should non-fire-rated glazing be permitted in lieu of fire-rated glazing when a sprinkler system is employed (i.e., active versus passive systems)?
  • Urban/Wildland Interface Code. Clarification is needed in the glazing section of this ICC code.

The participants held considerable discussion on these items. Among the items discussed it was agreed that the filming of non-safety glass needs immediate consideration for code adoption. The members also decided that consideration needs to be given to creating a means to certify installers and assure proper field application where it is permitted.

The FSGC glass labeling amendment was defeated 13-0 by the ICC during its code development hearings in February and March (CLICK HERE for that story). Hicks and Kate Steele of Steele Consulting Services approached the Fire Safety Code Committee at the ICC hearings to recommend to the ICC board that an ad hoc labeling committee be established to review the current labeling requirements and the FSGC amendment. Hicks's recommendation was that the ad hoc labeling committee formed by ICC be co-chaired by a building and fire official with representation from several fire-rated and -resistant glazing industry members; UL and ITS; fire protection experts; architects; and others with interest in the need for an application of labeling. Hicks also had asked ITS and Ceco to write to the ICC board supporting the need for an ad hoc labeling committee as the industry is unable to get together to represent the interest of the end user.

The FSGC ad hoc committee agreed during its meeting that intensive education is needed for architects, building official, and glazing contractors. This could take the form of regional and conference seminars, and webinars.

The group also felt that there should be a close working relationship with the Glass Association of North America and its newly formed division, the Fire Rated Glazing Council.

The FSGC will host an industry meeting for its 38 affiliated members and any other interested parties at the Golden Nugget Hotel in the AGA meeting room (see the hotel message board for the room number) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. in conjunction with Americas' Glass Showcase™.

CLICK HERE to RSVP by April 11, 2008, to attend the meeting.

CLICK HERE for more information about the Americas' Glass Showcase™.

Need more info and analysis about the issues?
CLICK HERE to subscribe to USGlass magazine.