Standards & Regulations

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The Standards and regulations governing the use of glass in buildings are numerous and often complicated. It may be necessary to consult more than one document in order to fully understand the requirements. This section highlights some of the regulations and standards which are commonly encountered when working with glass in buildings.

Most of the standards have now been standardised with European Norms and reference is given to these as appropriate.


Building Regulations

Building Regulations are the result, historically, of the need for some form of building control legislation to ensure the health and safety of the inhabitants of buildings. They define how a new building or alteration is to be built so that it is structurally safe, protected from risk of fire, energy efficient and has adequate ventilation for its purpose.

Since their introduction in the1960s, the need to incorporate advances in materials and technology have meant
that the regulations have been revised and amended several times. We now have a set of regulations support by
Approved Documents. These are publications that give practical
guidance on meeting the requirements of the Building Regulations.

Building Regulations now have three purposes:

1. To ensure the health and safety of people in and around buildings.
2. The conservation of energy.
3. Access and facilities for disabled people.


Approval Process

An application for Building Regulations approval is not advertised in the way that Planning Applications are. Only the person applicant and the Local Authority are involved.

Building Regulations approval may be required even if Planning Permission is not.
Building Regulations approval is granted by the building control officers of local authorities, they are generally separate from the planning officials.

Once approval has been given and work started, the local building inspector will attend the site at specific stages to inspect the work, and they may change the requirements as the work progresses.


General Information

The different types of glass that are used in building are classified by BS 952: 1995 Glass for glazing Part 1 - Classification into three glass compositions - soda lime silicate glass, borosilicate glass and glass ceramics.

It provides terms, definitions and descriptions of the various glass types available and gives details of nominal thicknesses and tolerances.

BS 952: 1980 Part 2 - Terminology for work on glass provides illustrated definitions of terms used in cutting, obscuring, silvering, gilding, staining and bending glass.
The most common glass type used in building is soda lime silicate glass and further detail and classification is provided by BS EN 572: 2004 Glass in building – Basic soda lime silicate glass products Parts 1 to 9.

This European Standard classifies the basic glass products and provides their main physical and mechanical characteristics and general quality criteria. The standard is divided into nine parts. Part 1 gives definitions and general physical and mechanical properties of soda lime silicate glass products and Parts 2 to 9 are each specific to the different product types.