The glass plays the biggest part in keeping your new windows and doors energy efficient. It forms the largest part of most windows and doors. Glass is also required to provide very important safety features for all doors and particular locations of windows. The provision of safety glass ensures safety comes first.
It is a legal requirement that toughened safety glass must be fitted to all replacement doors. This legal requirement for toughened safety glass also extends to windows near floor level and other “critical locations”.
The Building Regulations for England & Wales have approved this rule and give clear information where toughened safety glass is required. The same rules apply when existing windows are being replaced or for new windows fitted into new buildings.
What are “critical locations” requiring safety glass?
The critical area in a window or a door is the glazing that you are likely to come into contact with as you move around a house or commercial building day to day. This possible contact with glass means that glass must be shielded or protected from impact if glass is to break it must break in such a way that is not going to cause injury, glass must resist impact without breaking. This where you often see a pane of glass ‘shattered’ upon impact but not broken.
For any single, double or triple glazed replacement windows or doors, the following types as well as locations will need safety glass.
All glazing from the internal finished floor up to a height of 1500mm must be safety glass.
All doors whether partly glazed or fully glazed must have toughened safety glass
Windows must be fitted with toughened safety glass where the window is within 800mm of the finished floor level internally.
Top-lights above doors are not required legally to have toughened safety glass. However even with clear glass, the toughening process produces a different tint to the glass so we would always advise toughened glass in top-light areas as well to match the rest of the window glazing.
There are other areas where you may wish to consider the use of safety glass. If you are fitting a window near your bath or shower the finished floor level will actually be higher if taken from the shower tray or the bath itself.
With laminated glass it is effectively two pieces of glass with a film in between. In the event of a glass breakage, whilst the glass will break it will hold together. Toughened glass uses a toughening process different from laminated glass. Whilst it is hard to break toughened glass, should it break it will shatter into thousands of small harmless pieces.
The choice of toughened or laminated glass is of-course up to you. Laminated glass tends to be more expensive and heavier than toughened glass but if does often offer a reduction in sound pollution especially if you go for an acoustic laminate. If you want maximum security laminated glass is the best option, it will hold together when broken unlike toughened. Both types are suitable and acceptable under legal requirements and building regulations.