Frequently asked questions about glass: Choose Your Glass Wisely

My architect is advising me to use double glazing for the window in my office. I am not convinced because of the increased cost.

What do you suggest?

Insulating glass, which is technically called double glazing, is extremely effective in providing insulation for your office. This means substantial savings in cost over a period of time. Of course, you have to look at a number of factors, like the surface area of the glazing, how much direct sunlight does the glazing get and how well insulated the walls and roof are. Also, the insulation will work only if the framing system for your windows is good and you have sealed the joints well.

As far as the effectiveness of the glass per se is concerned, insulating glass is the perfect solution for the Indian climate. Ask your architect to show you the life-time cost calculations for your office and you will find that you will recover the extra that you spend on double glazing in perhaps six months in energy savings.

Is there a law for using safety glass in India? I represent a German firm here and we are building our office in Delhi. My architect did not specify safety glass, so I was wondering whether it is required.

While there is no nationwide law that mandates the use of safety glass, manufacturers and certain professionals are pressurizing the government to implement such a law. Housing and real estate are State subjects and laws regarding the use of building materials have to be passed at the State level and subsequently adopted by local governments. Maharashtra has already taken the first step and mandated toughened glass for certain types of buildings, but there is no real enforcement of this law.

I will go on to say that it is absolutely essential to use safety glass for your office building. The marginal increase in cost is nothing compared to the damage you will pay for if some glass does get shattered and someone gets hurt. You must insist that your architect change the specification to safety glass.

I am doing a project in which the client is particular about fire safety, as they have a collection of antique wood items. What options do I have as far as glass is concerned?

Fire-rated glass for exterior and interior applications is available, but the essential thing is to find out which are the critical areas that need fire-proofing and to what extent. Glass firewalls are available for applications where higher fire rating is required. These are panels that are tested to meet the same fire standards as a solid fire-rated wall. Regular glazing with fire resistance and thermal insulation is also available to meet a range of fire safety needs. However, it is more important to take care of the fixing and detailing, so that there is no way for the fire to spread.

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600450 Frequently asked questions about glass: Choose Your Glass Wisely
Date: 31 March 2006

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