Published on 12 August 2019 13:43

Structural Roof Glazing – Design Considerations

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Key Learning outcomes
  • Know how to define structural and size parameters
  • Understand the various glass types for different building uses
  • Recognise the required performance standards
  • Learn how to incorporate smoke ventilation into structural roof glazing
  • Appreciate the advantages of modern bespoke designs
Glazed rooves are an aesthetically-pleasing and durable way of bringing considerable natural light to a structure. However, as with all elements of the end-to-end design and construction phase of a building, glazing requires compliance with certain critical performance standards, to ensure that the completed design is robust, durable, and safe for purpose.

With multiple options for glass types, it’s important to be aware of the recommended materials for construction of glazed roofing. It’s also key to ensure that standards are considered early in the design process, to ensure that the completed building can be approved.

1.0 Defining ‘structural’ and size parameters

The term structural glazing can take many forms but is generally defined as glazing that supports its own weight and span with the glazing bar box section systems and continuous pressure plate profiles. Structural glazing often is a key element in the building envelope and large areas of structural glazing may constitute the whole ‘roof’ of the building.

In the design phase of construction for glazed roofing, it’s important to consider the parameters of the roof area to be glazed, and the implications of future maintenance. While assessing the plans for the construction, potential costs such as transportation of the panes, maintenance and the expenditure required in the event of breakage should be factored into the budget.

As a general rule, glass roofing of up to 6m can be self-supporting, whereas anything larger than this surface area will require additional support to maintain the weight of the glass compliantly and safely. When it comes to selecting the ideal size of glass pane, the designer needs to weigh up the practicalities of construction and maintenance, against the benefits of implementing a stunning design.
Rooflight over main pool at Coral Reef Waterworld in Bracknell was designed with fewer glazing bars to give a low frame factor and enhance the feeling of open sky.
Rooflight over main pool at Coral Reef Waterworld in Bracknell was designed with fewer glazing bars to give a low frame factor and enhance the feeling of open sky.
 
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