Maintaining fire safety with automated glass doors

    Bespoke structural glass specialists, Ion Glass introduce fully automated frameless glass fire doors.

    Fire-rated doors are a legal requirement in almost all commercial buildings and most multi-accommodation premises, especially blocks of flats, sheltered accommodation and houses of multiple occupancy.

    The concept is obvious, a strategically placed fire-door is the key component in passive fire protection, compartmentalising different areas of the building and preventing a fire from spreading. Containing a fire with fire-resistant materials seals off different zones of the building giving the occupants of the building more time to escape to safety and providing an additional barrier to help prevent the entire building from burning down.

    Creating a fire door from structural glass retains the visual advantages of glass compared to a more traditional wooden door, whilst offering excellent levels of protection in the event of a fire. In contemporary buildings where structural glass is a key component, or renovations where maintaining the light flow and retaining the integrity of the original architecture is important, installing glass fire-doors is the ideal solution.

    Architectural glass specialists Ion Glass have created a bespoke solution to provide fully automated frameless fire-doors, meeting all fire-safety criteria without the need for bulky framework.

    Ion are renowned for the fully bespoke nature of their products, creating deceptively simple solutions in structural glass with minimal or no visible fixings. Along with balustrades, screens, linkways and other structural architectural glass, they also offer bespoke doors, individually designed to meet specific criteria and accommodate awkward shapes or sizes, including over-sized doors, arched doors and doors fitted into glass screens or walls.

    Recently they have taken this one step further and have pioneered a design that combines the sleek and minimal nature of frameless glass doors with the technology of full automation in the event of a fire.

    Glass fire-doors at Hastings Library

    Ion Glass were commissioned to install automatic glass fire-doors at Hastings Library as part of a multi-million pound refurbishment project of this Grade II listed building. The scheme was designed to bring new life into this landmark heritage property, retaining the original features whilst creating a modern and vibrant community library in the heart of the town. Areas of the building that had not been maintained in the 140 year history of the building were completely renovated and brought in line with current requirements.

    Ion’s brief was to design and install a series of bespoke frameless fire-rated glass doors with 30 minutes integrity and automatic operation in the event of a fire. Each set of individual double doors provides easy access to all floors for visitors to the library but will close automatically in an emergency.

    The doors are linked to the fire-detection system so they close automatically in the event of a fire, sealing the individual library rooms on each floor of the building and protecting the stairway as the escape route, providing at least half an hour for any occupants of the building to exit.

    Whilst it’s possible to manually open the doors once they’ve closed they are set to open only in the direction of the escape route and will immediately spring shut again afterwards, containing the spread of fire.

    Ion were also responsible for installing arched overhead transoms in fire-rated glass above the doors, retaining the aesthetics and original architecture of the building without compromising the full integrity and fire-safety of the building.

    As part of the overall project, Ion supplied and installed fire-rated glass panels set into hardwood surrounds around the lift shaft and glass infill panels on either side of the doors, also offering 30 minutes protection in the event of a fire. The glass retains the flow of light around the building whilst ensuring the new structural glass meets all fire safety requirements.

    MD Peter Hazeldean said, ‘We specialise in providing minimal results in structural glass but naturally it’s critical that we meet all building and fire regulations. Extending our design criteria to fire doors has resulted in us creating a unique product that means that we can now supply a bespoke frameless door with fully automatic functionality. Available as either single or double doors they offer full 30 minute integrity, remain cool to the touch under fire conditions and meet all current regulations…what’s more, they look fantastic!’

    Fire-doors for Gravetye Manor Hotel

    Gravetye Manor is a privately owned hotel dating back to 1598 set in the heart of Sussex. The building has been lovingly restored to maintain the peaceful atmosphere, beautiful wood panelling and carved stonework. Upgrading the hotel to meet current regulations required the installation of fire doors between the entrance lounge and the main reception and stairway and naturally the owners were anxious that the doors should be as unobtrusive as possible to preserve the historical nature of the building.

    Ion installed a full automatic fire-door system for the hotel, compromised of double-doors within a frameless glass screen set into a bespoke European oak surround.

    The pivot glass doors are both held open by recessed floor springs in normal day to day use, allowing easy passage of guests and staff. In the event of a fire alarm or any interruption to the power supply the doors close automatically, offering a full half hour of fire protection, preventing the spread of fire between the two main areas of the hotel.

    Peter Hazeldean said, ‘This installation was the first of its kind and we were proud to pioneer this innovative design. The hotel manager had been very concerned that a contemporary installation would look out of place within such an historic building but he was delighted with the appearance of the glass doors which meet all the fire regulations with detracting from the original features of the hotel.’

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