Fire Safety

Compliance with the minimum standards of fire safety laid down in Building Regulations is crucial in achieving buildings which provide adequate protection for life and property in the event of fire.

The content of the Regulations, the frequency and timing of revisions and the regulatory regimes differ between England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. However, in each country's Regulations, glass performs a vital role in achieving the requirements for fire protection. This booklet examines the three sets of Regulations separately, and for each shows how the requirements are met in respect of glazing.

Developments in glass have resulted in the introduction of more sophisticated products with increasingly higher fire resistance performances, in both integrity (resistance to fire penetration) and insulation (resistance to the transfer of excessive heat).

The range of Pilkington Fire Protection Glasses is:

  • Pilkington Pyrostop®
    A clear, laminated fully insulating fire and safety glass that offers the highest levels of fire protection (integrity and insulation), maximising the available levels of natural light and visibility.
    Depending on the thickness, it provides impact safety up to Class A of BS 6206: 1981.
  • Pilkington Pyrodur®
    A clear, laminated fire resistant and safety glass designed to provide integrity but also offering a level of insulation against radiant heat transfer. Developed  specifically for use in doors and screens, it provides impact safety to Class B of BS 6206:1981
  • Pilkington Pyrodur® Plus
    Pilkington Pyrodur® Plus is an advanced thin, clear fire-resistant laminate glass, which easily meets all the latest European fire and impact standards. Using a special clear intumescent interlayer, it offers an excellent combination of fire and impact to Class B of BS 6206 :1981
  • Pilkington Pyroshield™ 2
    A monolithic wired glass for use where there is a specific requirement for integrity fire protection. Available in Clear and Texture versions.
  • Pilkington Pyroshield™ 2 Safety Clear
    A monolithic safety wired glass for use where there is a specific requirement for both integrity fire protection and impact resistance.  A certificate  to Class 3(B)3 of BS EN 12600 has been achieved.
  • Pilkington Pyroshield™ 2 Texture
    A monolithic safety wired glass for use where there is a specific requirement for integrity fire protection

 

In Scotland, the Building Standards (Scotland) Regulations set out the functional requirements which are supported by the detailed guidance of the Technical Standards.

In respect of fire safety, the relevant parts of the Technical Standards are:

  • Part D Structural fire precautions
  • Part E Means of escape from fire, facilities for fire fighting and means of warning of fire in dwellings.


Part D – Structural fire precautions
The purpose of this Part is to ensure a building will adequately maintain the stability of the structure and will restrict the spread of smoke and fire, both within and between buildings. Internal compartmentation is therefore prescribed and defined, and the fire resistance requirements of compartments, fire doors and other building elements are set down in tables. These are often, but by no means always, the same as the equivalent requirements in England and Wales Approved Document B. Pilkington Fire Protection Glasses are capable of achieving the highest standards of
prescribed performance. There are no specific references to glazing, but clearly the fire resistance of glazed elements must be no less than that required of the wall in which they are placed.

There are requirements for materials used in construction to be non-combustible (except in specified circumstances). Glazing complies with this requirement. rooflights have a requirement to resist fire penetration from an external source, the required performance of the glazing depending on the distance of the building from the boundary. Glazing will achieve the highest standards of performance, category AA to BS 476: Part 3: 1958 – and be fully permitted.

There are limitations on the amount of unprotected area (any part of a wall which has less than the standard of fire resistance prescribed for that wall). Windows glazed with ordinary annealed glass may well fall into this category. The provisions in Part D (D6.3) give detailed procedures for calculating the maximum permissible unprotected area, depending on distance from the boundary and the building's geometry and compartmentation. The use of BRE Report BR187;1991 "External fire spread: building separation and boundary distances" is also permitted. If the amount of glazing exceeds the maximum permitted unprotected area, windows and glazing which equal the fire resistance requirements of the wall must be used.

Part E – Means of escape from fire, facilities for fire fighting and means of warning of fire in dwellings

Escape routes are defined and prescribed in detail and specifications for fire doors are given. An emergency window, for escape purposes, must be installed in the upper storey of every flat up to a height of 4.5m, unless it is served by more than one escape stair. An emergency window, for access purposes, must be provided
in every storey at heights between 4.5m and 11m, unless there is more than one escape route. Institutional buildings, other than hospitals, which have only one escape route in an upper storey, must have an emergency access window in every bedroom up to a height of 11m. All of these windows must be at least 850mm high by at least 500mm wide.