Glass has always been popular in the construction industry, thanks to its versatile nature and its ability to let light in while keeping the elements out! In recent years, the use of frameless glass has grown.
Bare minimum glass
As you can see from the above picture, frameless glass can be a fantastic addition to a property. There are no nasty pieces of stainless steel or plastic, which not only looks fashionable, but also results in unspoilt views!
The challenges of going frameless
On the face of it, these frameless glass balustrades look straightforward. However, they do pose some challenges for designers and specifiers alike. The biggest of these challenges is meeting current Building Regulations.
Building Regulations Approval
As there is no top rail or mid supports to the glass, it is usually a requirement for a structural engineer to be engaged during the design process. This can involve extensive structural alterations to balconies/ roof terraces so that the adequate structural support can be installed. This work can be costly and can involve disruption to other areas away from where the glass is being installed.
There is also the issue of glass safety. There are two types of safety glass used, toughened glass and laminated glass.
Toughened glass is up to five times as strong as ordinary glass, which means that it has to be hit much harder in order to break. In addition, when it does break it breaks into small pieces, which are much less dangerous.
Laminated glass has the same strength as ordinary glass but it consists of two pieces of glass containing a sandwich of plastic interlayer. If the glass does get broken this interlayer holds the whole piece in place so there are no holes in the glass.
For frameless glass balustrades, a combination of both types of glass must be used. Two pieces of toughened glass should be laminated together. This provides double protection as the chance of the glass ever breaking is very slim, however, if the glass does break it will hold its shape, which could prevent somebody falling through the glass.
A brighter future
If you want to brighten up your life then frameless glass can be a great addition! But be prepared for the unexpected challenges.
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