ICC Approves Proposal That Says Glass Doors
Can Be Used in Glass Atrium Walls
May 18, 2010
The International Code Council (ICC) approved as amended a proposed
change to the International Building Code's (IBC) General Code section
that clarifies that doors are allowed in the glass wall forming
the separation between an atrium and adjoining spaces (G51-09/10).
Clay Aler, PE, representing Koffel Associates, proposed adding to
the exceptions of a provision that mandates how atrium spaces be
separated from adjacent spaces. The code requires a 1-hour fire
barrier constructed in accordance with Section 707 or a horizontal
assembly constructed in accordance with Section 712, or both, be
used in these areas. In areas where a glass wall is used, Aler specified:
"Self-closing glass doors shall be permitted in the glass wall."
In his comment, Aler wrote, "Where glass walls are used as
an atrium enclosure, it is typical to include glass doors in the
glass walls to maintain material continuity. The current code text
makes no reference to whether glass doors are permitted as part
of the atrium enclosure. The proposed revised text will make it
clear that glass doors are permitted in glass walls, so long as
the glass doors are sprinkler protected in a manner consistent with
that provided for the glass wall."
Aler modified his original proposal with editorial adjustments,
and it was this modification that was approved yesterday. The exceptions
to the section would now state:
1. A fire barrier is not required where a glass wall forming
a smoke partition is provided. The glass wall shall comply with
all of the following:
1.1 Automatic sprinklers are provided along both sides of the
separation wall and doors, or on the room side only if there
is not a walkway on the atrium side. The sprinklers shall be
located between 4 inches and 12 inches (102 mm and 305 mm) away
from the glass and at intervals along the glass not exceeding
6 feet (1829 mm). The sprinkler system shall be designed so
that the entire surface of the glass is wet upon activation
of the sprinkler system without obstruction;
1.2 The glass wall shall be installed in a gasketed frame
in a manner that the framing system deflects without breaking
(loading) the glass before the sprinkler system operates; and
where glass doors are provided in the glass wall, they shall
be either self closing or automatic closing.
2. A fire barrier is not required where a glass-block wall assembly,
complying with Section 2110 and having a 3/4-hour fire protection
rating, is provided.
3. A fire barrier is not required between the atrium and the
adjoining spaces of any three floors of the atrium provided such
spaces are accounted for in the design of the smoke control system.
The ICC code change proposal hearings are taking place this week
through May 23 in Dallas. Stay tuned to USGNN.com for further
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