One inevitability of many new commercial construction projects is that you’ll need to make choices. A lot of choices. In most commercial builds, you are likely to be faced with decisions about flooring, cabinets and hardware, tile, countertops, paint, lighting, bathroom fixtures and more. Some people think that the easy part arrives once they reach the glass decisions, but architectural glass options are as varied and impactful as most of the other choices you’ll have to make for your construction project!
Decide with the Goal in Mind The best way to choose the right construction glass for your commercial project, whether it’s glass for a new construction hotel or glass for a multi-family complex such as apartments and condos, glass for office building windows and more, is to first determine what purpose the glass serves, and what properties the glass would need in order to fulfill that purpose. For example, if you’re procuring glass for office building windows, you’ll need to know whether your goal is security, safety, or affordability. This will help you decide between laminated, tempered, or annealed glass.
Security When trying to prevent breaking and entering, some people think they need the strongest, thickest glass available, but that’s not necessarily the case. Tempered glass is a very strong glass, but when it does break, it shatters into many tiny pieces that simplify entry. A better solution is laminated glass, which holds its structure when broken. A very common usage of laminated glass is in automobile windshields, which crack when impacted but don’t shatter because that would be very dangerous for people in the cabin of the vehicle. This property makes laminated glass ideal for security glass in storefronts and display cases. Laminated glass is often used for commercial properties such as office building windows or glass for retail shops since those types of buildings are typically unoccupied overnight. If more security is needed, laminated glass can be made with tempered glass, which makes it both difficult to break and difficult to enter when broken. For extreme security, multiple layers of laminated glass create a very hard-to-breach barrier, which is often seen in bulletproof glass.
Safety In commercial usages, the safety of your building’s occupants is oftentimes regulated by law and building codes, which may vary based on the location of your building. You must consult these laws and codes to ensure that you’re adhering to established safety requirements. Regardless of whether you’re required to use specific glass in a commercial construction project, the general rule of thumb is to use safety glass, such as tempered glass, whenever broken glass would pose a risk to humans. Any place where slipping, tripping and falling is possible, tempered glass should be used. This includes wet areas like bathrooms, pools and pool decks, saunas and locker rooms, as well as places with trip hazards like stairwells near uneven flooring. Many hotels and multi-family complexes choose tempered glass for this reason. Glass that could be easily bumped into or smashed into by an object should be tempered if the glass could hurt someone, including skylights, glass office partitions, glass doors, elevators, glass balconies and more. And, of course, glass panels in sports arenas or close to parks where sports are played should be tempered glass!
Building Codes Sometimes building codes will make the decisions for you. An important factor you must consider when deciding on the appropriate style of glass, type of windows or glass entry doors for any construction project is to first determine what is governed by your local, state and regional building codes. Most architects will have vast knowledge in this field and will be able to direct you as to what is best for your particular construction project with regard to wind load ratings, design pressures, aluminum frame, vinyl frame, curtain wall, and more. The use of impact storefront windows and glass is common on nearly all beachfront and surrounding areas of Florida. Wind zone maps can be found by checking updated maps online.
Affordability If there are no security or safety goals for your glass, and no code requirements specifying a certain type of glass must be used, then buying the most affordable glass can be a good choice. Common float glass, also known as flat glass, is cost-effective and perfect to use for construction glass in most common commercial construction projects. It is perfectly flat and can be clear or tinted. Tinted float glass can often be found on the exteriors of skyrises and office buildings with facades made up of architectural glass. Not only is this class more affordable than treated and processed glass, but it also effectively can insulate from the elements and reduce utility bills by letting in more natural light while blocking heat.
Even after you decide on the goals of the various glass used in your commercial building project, you may be faced with many more decisions for further glass customizations, including whether to frost the glass or add patterns or textures for privacy, or whether to opt for double-paned glass to improve energy efficiency. The construction glass options may feel endless but when you’re prepared with goals in mind and hiring glass experts like Discount Glass to supply and install glass for your commercial building project, you’ll end up with the safest, most secure, and most affordable glass available for the entire project. To begin selecting architectural glass, contact Discount Glass today.