New Glazing Meets Fire and Hurricane Impact Requirements

In coastal areas, architects are challenged to incorporate ample glass to meet a building’s aesthetic and daylight needs while still accommodating stringent codes that protect occupants from fire and structures from hurricane-force winds.

Existing window and curtain wall solutions are either fire-rated or certified for use in hurricane-prone coastal areas, forcing designers to utilize add-ons such as shutters or expensive double-wall systems or reduce the amount of glazing on buildings.Vetrotech has developed a new, single-product solution: Vetrotech HI, the only Florida-approved glass curtain wall system that is both fire-rated and hurricane impact-resistant.The Vetrotech HI system is listed by the Florida Building Commission and certified to meet the stringent requirements of the Florida Building Code, including those for the High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) that includes Miami-Dade and Broward counties. It also includes Vetrotech’s fire-resistance technology, uniquely qualifying it for both designations by combining fire-, impact- and pressure-tested glass with a high-strength steel curtain wall frame.

The dual-rated Vetrotech HI system combines the manufacturer’s proven fire-resistant Contraflam glazing on the interior with a layer of laminated glass; an airspace separates the impact-resistant layer from an outboard lite on the building’s exterior, which makes the assembly energy-efficient, and is available tinted, lightly etched, frosted, reflective, or otherwise customized.

During a storm, if an object breaches the sacrificial outer layer and reaches the laminated, impact-resistant pane with great force, the glass could break, but it won’t shatter and fall; instead, the lamination will hold the pieces in place so wind and rain can’t seep through them. That protection could stop the building’s interior from becoming pressurized to the point that its roof blows off, which could cause the structure to implode.

The HI system will fill the demand for a fire-rated product for buildings within 1.5 miles of a high water mark, where 100-mph-plus wind speeds can turn wind-borne debris into window-penetrating missiles during a hurricane that can last for hours. Available for doors and windows in sizes from 7-by-12 feet to 30 square feet, Vetrotech HI is UL listed for fire resistance for up to two hours and was tested to meet TAS protocols required by the Florida Building Code. Vetrotech HI also passed the requirements of ASTM’s small and large missile test, including dynamic cycling, and air and water infiltration tests.

Holding the fire-rated layers, the impact-resistant glass and the sacrificial lite in place is Vetrotech’s fire-resistant steel VDS Curtain Wall, designed for applications that require high-span, self-supporting construction. An interior member that is nearly 6 inches deep and a structural member, along with a proven gasketing system and screw pressure system, hold and retain the glass. Finish options include powder coat; enamel and stainless steel; or aluminum cover. For more information.

600450 New Glazing Meets Fire and Hurricane Impact Requirements
Date: 30 May 2014

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