When it comes to specifying glass and vision panels in fire doorset solutions, it can be difficult to understand the different options and classifications of glass out there.

Fire rated glass is a range of specialist glass products that have been manufactured specifically to provide protection against fire.  Fire rated glass is integral to ensuring a building’s compliance with Building Regulations, especially Approved Document B, but which do you choose and why?

There are three common types of fire rated glass classifications, E, EW and EI.  

But what is the difference?


E – Integrity

E offers the basic level of fire performance and is also the minimum requirement stated by the UK Building Regulations. It will act and provide an effective barrier against smoke and flame in a building however it does not prevent the transmission of heat and there is a serious risk of being burnt if touched. 
Integrity glass is often standard on doorsets and is common where the glass panels are above a certain height, and it is unlikely for someone to come into contact with it. 

 

EW – Integrity and Radiation 

The EW level of fire glass maintains its structural strength and prevents the physical flames but unlike E rated glass, it also reduces heat transmittance and radiation into the unexposed (away from fire) compartment preventing materials combusting but the surface temperate of the glass remains capable of burning anything that comes into contact with it.

 

EI – Integrity & Insulation

The EI classification offers the highest level of protection. As well as providing a robust barrier against smoke and flame, EI also delivers a significant reduction in the amount of heat transferred through the glass.  This means that there could be a raging fire on one side of the glass and yet you could make an escape on the unexposed side, remaining protected from the heat.

 

Watch the video below to show to performance difference between E and EI rated glass:

Video courtesry of Pryogaurd 

As the time elapses you can see how the interlayer reacts to the heat and this forms a barrier reducing the amount of radiant heat penetrating through the glass. On the right side you can see how quickly the radiant heat can cause items to start smoking and then igniting. The EI glass has provided further time for people to escape safely and if necessary, for the fire brigade to get in to the area. 


With no two construction projects the same, it is important that architects, specifiers and contractors continually consult the Building Regulations throughout the design and specification process.  Only then can they correctly determine what level of performance and classification of fire safety glass is required for each individual application and area within a project.


JELD-WEN work closely with Pyroguard and our SecureSET glazed unit products are supplied with side glass panels with EI rated glass as standard and top lights can be supplied with EI glass as optional. It has undergone rigorous testing to ensure it adheres to a high performance.

 

SecureSET is a dual certified flat entrance doorset solution which is perfect for new build and retrofit projects which require multiple glazing configuration options ranging from top and side vision panels.