Structural glass systems are becoming more popular and apparent in buildings and offices throughout the UK; however, we still find a few misconceptions about their use and the numerous benefits these structural glass systems can provide. 

Designers and architects use these systems and incorporate these systems into building plans and designs not just as statement pieces but also to allow more natural light into places, provide soundproofing areas, thermal insulation, and so much more. 

So why do we still find some resistance in their use? 

In this post, we look at some of the most common misconceptions and the truth behind such statements, allowing you to make the most informed decision, put your mind at ease, and provide you with 100% confidence that these glass structures are safe and secure (you can also check out our latest post which covers the safety and security aspects of structural glass glazing). 

Common misconceptions 

“Glass structures are costly” 

We know that cost plays a big part in the decision-making process for structural glazing; however, numerous elements determine pricing. Things such as size, glass thickness and performance levels, how many points of support you will require, backup structures, etc all come into play.  

You will also have to consider wind load, live load deflections, acoustics, and other criteria that could cause resistance. 

The good news is a professional engineer from Clear Living will be able to discuss all of this with you in detail, guiding you through rough costs and budgets, working with you to offer a range of solutions and designs to meet your requirements and specifications. 

You also need to take into account the cost savings you will achieve by choosing the right glass wall system. For example, you could look to downsize your HVAC systems due to the increase in visible light transmittance matched with the increase in thermal performance, helping to reduce overall costs.  

“We’ll just use the same glass we’ve used in other structures” 

It can be extremely tempting to use the same glazing systems you’ve used elsewhere in a building; however, we can’t stress enough, each glazing system should be designed and spec’d on its own merits. This is because each system will have different points; they will be different in shape and size, have different fittings or edge loads, etc.   

It’s also important to note that structural glass glazing requires much more in its makeup than your standard insulating glass units. Glass must match its frame structure, especially as not all glass types are suitable for aluminium frames. 

To find out the type of glass you require, you must speak to a professional structural glass provider like the team at Clear Living. Helping to put your mind at ease and avoid any problems in the long run. 

“All structural glass designs look the same” 

Not when you work with a professional team. 

All systems should be designed on an individual project basis, tailored to each individuals’ requirements and specifications. Therefore making systems customised so you can envisage your design in its entirety. 

At this stage, it’s also important that you check test reports on structural glass systems. Verifying the systems indeed meet your design criteria, are fit for purpose, and meet all design standards (all glass structures must abide by the rules of the glass and glazing federation). You can request these test reports at any time to ensure you receive the highest quality product. 

“To stay competitive, I need to include multiple suppliers” 

Not everyone is a structural glazier; hence not everyone has the same experience. Yes, to ensure you receive the most competitive products often, you will source multiple suppliers. However, for the design, manufacture, and installation of structural glass solutions, having one supplier who is experienced, fully trained, and expert in the field is key. 

Qualified to meet all system requirements, you can be safe in the knowledge that only one company is responsible at all times. Therefore, you need to ensure you work with approved manufacturers and glazing experts—those who can provide you with a fully fabricated and engineering service. 

“Isn’t glass, just glass?” 

Yes and no. 

Yes, all glazed products provide a translucent enclosure to certain areas. However, glass does come in various quality standards, performance ratings, and even perceived value. The systems might look the same, but up close, there are measurable differences. Structural glass, in this sense, is influenced by design, backup structure, and budget.  

Structural glass is often used as a way to differentiate yourself from others. Where feature areas are created, and transparency plays a big part in the overall design. In these instances, aluminium mullions or those structures with steel support just won’t cut it. 

Glass structures 

Primarily found in atrium or lobby areas, the right glass system can really have an impact.  

Visually appealing, distortion-free, and offering you a crisp reflection with a clear and open view, it’s no wonder structural glazing is growing in popularity. 

Providing strength and security through the use of tempered glass, the fittings used on these structures are also kept small and discreet to help minimise detection.   

To answer your questions or if you would like additional information regarding structural glazing, make sure to call a member of our team today on 01606 45109 or email; we’d be happy to help. 

By Cathy