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It’s Time To Ban Wired Glass

It’s Time To Ban Wired Glass

Wired glass. It’s been a mainstay in public buildings in the UK for many moons. Schools, gyms, offices, factories. All places which have glass with the thinnest grey wire. We all know what it is. It’s not the nicest looking glass in the world. In fact it can be the most dangerous. Check out this article, featured originally on rdnewsnow.com:

The Canadian General Standards Board is set to remove wired glass from its national building standards at the end of February, saying it isn’t safe “because it’s not impact resistant.”

“It can shatter when hit and cause lacerations,” Jacqeline Jodoin, senior director of the federal organization, told The Canadian Press.

The building standards are voluntary and “have no force of law,” she noted, but observers hope the removal of wired glass from the national guidelines will discourage its use.

Granted this is a Canadian article, but it’s worth reading. The article went on to describe a rather gory story of when wired glass does it’s worst:

For Tyler Dickie, the changes are long overdue.

In 2007, he was walking out of his Amherst, N.S., high school when he pushed open a wired-glass door and both of his arms crashed through. The jagged glass shredded his left arm, tearing his biceps and triceps muscles, cutting through nerves and severing an artery.

“The blood was unreal, it looked like a horror movie,” he said.

Students rushed to help stop the bleeding until paramedics arrived, he said. In the hospital, Dickie’s heart stopped beating and his breathing ceased — he was “vital signs absent” twice — as doctors scrambled to save his life, he said.

He survived, but his life was forever altered. He has regained about 80 per cent of the strength in his arm, but can’t play hockey, type on a keyboard and failed a physical when he tried to get into an underwater welding program, he said.

Read the original article on rdnewsnow.com here

In the US in 2006 they removed wired glass from it’s standards so it wouldn’t be used. Canada is taking steps to discourage it’s use. Given that there is still much of it around the UK, should we now be looking to get rid of it here?

Also, did you notice that Canada’s version of our Building Regs is voluntary?!

DGB Features

Time to get rid?

Wired glass is very much the norm here in the UK. But I bet many haven’t given much thought to it once it’s broken. Thanks to the wire, it actually weakens the glass itself, rather than strengthening it. And, if you read the extracts above, it’s the metal wires that become the major problem to limbs and safety. This stuff is in schools.

This is one of those products where the more you think about it, the more you wonder why we’re still using it. Modern non-wired fire glass can easily do the same job, without the risk those metal wires bring.

It’s mainly used in the commercial sector, as a fire glass. I’ve personally never seen it used in the residential market. Still, wired glass comes into contact with many people every single day. With the US banning is, Canada discouraging it’s use, perhaps it is now time, probably when the next Building Regs revisions come round, to shelve it here too.

Personally, I wouldn’t just ban it from future use, but go one step further and change the law to start the ball rolling on changing all wired glass to non-wired fire glass. The advantage would be three-fold. First, it’s future use would be out of the question. All future works on buildings needing fire safety glass will use modern-day, safe equivalents. Two, the safety of those in buildings will be improved. Three, the enforcing of the changing of wired glass to modern non-wired fire glass would create a boost to the glazing sector. Everyone would win.

There are no hints about wired glass change in the UK, but it probably is time, now that Canada is doing something about it, to look at how we use it in the UK too.

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By |2017-02-13T12:06:09+00:00February 5th, 2017|Categories: double glazing industry|

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Ginty
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Ginty

It’s an awful, dangerous product, and universally hated by those who have to cut and handle it. It’s cut edges are like handling a cactus, and lots in the glass trade will have had injuries and near misses from it. It’s the injuries to the unsuspecting public which are most horrific. Hands, heads and legs going through them get shreaded as the article shows, and can’t just be pulled back through. It’s so often mis-specified as a general safety or security glass even when much safer and stronger options are also significantly cheaper! It’s that misconception that the wires make… Read more »

Jam
Guest

Really glad this has come up on this blog as i’m not sure if everyone see the dangers of this product but there is a solution! We have recently created an alternative to Georgian Wire Cast Glass called Plasiax™ Wire, sometimes know as Georgian Wire Polycarbonate. It’s looks are exactly the same due to the grid pattern etched onto the flat surface but the base sheet is a 6mm obscure polycarbonate, meaning it cannot be smashed and is very easy to cut and install. Being polycarbonate it doesn’t give the same fire rating but it does comply to BS476 Part… Read more »

Anthony C Jones FIAM FInstSMM - NFG
Guest

Agree entirely with this, and will lobby whenever and wherever we can to phase this glass out. Thanks for the post.

Anthony C Jones FIAM FInstSMM - NFG
Guest

Thanks for the post. We will lobby wherever and whenever we can to phase this glass out.

Nick
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Nick

The Regulations state: There are some exceptions to these requirements for safety glass, based on the robustness of annealed glass: (1) panes having the smaller dimension less than 250mm and an area of less than 0.5m (2) may be a minimum 6mm (nominal) thick glass not complying with BS 6206. Georgian Wired Polished Plate is not annealed glass. After leaving the LEHR the glass undergoes another process: (Grinding and Polishing) this together with the wire mesh that serves as a structural discontinuity the glass then becomes half the strength of ordinary glass. Nick Price. Principle Engineer (Building Regulations and Standards… Read more »

Nick
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Nick

CONCERNING GEORGIAN WIRED GLASS SERIOUS INJURY TO CHILD IN SCHOOL Child returning to lesson used foot to open door: Sever injury to lower leg when foot passed through wired glass panel. Child taken to hospital by ambulance. Deep laceration heavy blood loss. After treatment was told leg would not be the same again due to the fact the muscle was cut through and to rest the leg for a period of six weeks. Family told the incident was not reportable under RIDDOR “the condition of the premises was not a contributory factor” Glass size 225 (W) 582 (H) (A) LIABILITY… Read more »

Garry Monk
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Garry Monk

Via my position in the National Federation of Glaziers, I have seen a few emails regarding the person injured and photo, i am disappointed that certain people in our industry would hide behind regulations. There are many versions of Wired Glass some classed as safety some not. It would be nice for the main Glass importers to publish on this site which they import / sell. It would be better for a ban. How can we be so far behind the USA. in safety standards.

LEw
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LEw

This glass is actually fire rated for up to 30 mins – It is not designed to be robust in the event of an impact – Hence its use in fire doors and fire escapes…

Garry Monk
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Garry Monk

Glass in Doors and Low Level Glazing have to meet Document K in England and Scotland (Document N in Wales) as the safety version of Textured product is not made it can not be used in these locations. The clear version does meet safety requirements but there have been people injured so the standard needs to be reviewed

Guy
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Guy

Can see why some would like to remove this from public buildings (from a personal safety perspective), but there’s a missing aspect for its use not discussed here. i.e. protection from break-ins. I was drawn to this article because of a job that came up. Local delinquents trying to gain access to a communal stairwell behind a main access door had successfully smashed the glass side panes, but were unable to open the door from the rear because the wire held together the broken glass. We will be replacing the broken panes with the same stuff. A cheap and effective… Read more »

Alec
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Alec

Im a little late to this discussion, having only just come across this site, but I feel the need to play Devil’s Advocate, if only a little. Firstly, I haven’t seen much mention of the different grades of wired glass available, or the fact that Pyroshield Safety Wired glass (i.e.: thicker, safer wires) is what should be correctly used in critical locations these days: I think it would be safe to assume that many of the horror stories mentioned here involve accidents with non-safety wired glass (Pyroshield safety being a relatively new product, the article from Canada stating an incident… Read more »

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