Fire-Rated Glass Codes

Which International Building Code (IBC) updates do I need to be aware of?

Code requirements for fire-rated glazing can seem complex and challenging. Here are some key points to help you navigate your way to appropriate product selections under the International Building Code. As with other code matters, it is crucial to confirm fire safety requirements with the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ).

Building codes change often, so it can be tough to keep up with the requirements. The International Code Council (ICC) made substantial changes to fire-rated glazing requirements in the IBC in recent years. Among these are:

  • Limitations on the use of traditional wired glass – As of the 2006 IBC, traditional wired glass is prohibited in hazardous locations in all building types. Fire-rated glazing in hazardous locations, including doors, sidelites, windows near the floor and other areas at risk for impact, must also meet impact safety testing standards.
  • Simplified label scheme for fire-rated glazing – the 2012 IBC introduced a streamlined set of markings to indicate the allowed locations for a given product (doors, openings and walls), if it passes the hose stream test, if it meets temperature rise criteria, and the fire rating in minutes (2012 IBC Table 716.3). These were updated in the 2018 edition and can be found in 2021 IBC Table 716.1(1).
  • Use of automatic sprinklers disallowed during fire tests – Prior to the 2012 IBC, some fire-rated glass manufacturers used sprinklers to help their products pass the fire test. Now, to earn a fire rating, products must pass the test based on their own performance, and not as protected by supplemental systems (2021 IBC section 703.2).
  • Clarified requirements for fire-protective and fire-resistive glazing – the 2012 IBC updated product tables to clarify where fire-protective and fire-resistive products are allowed or prohibited, the required minimum ratings and how the glass should be marked (2021 IBC Tables 716.1(1), 716.1(2), 716.1(3)).
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