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RE: High-Impact Glazing

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(I appologize for the delayed response…)


I have heard about the problem of firemen not being able to enter a house, or residents not being able to leave a house through the impact resistant glass openings during an emergency.  I was talking to a couple of builders who said the window manufaturers demonstrated the impact glass by hitting the window with a hammer, and it would not completely break (although it does crack).  One solution that has been suggested is that the firemen carry a portable circular saw to cut the glass during emergency situations.  This would work fine, as long as the firemen had their saws with them.  This doesn’t always help the residents that much though.  Another issue that I have heard about this topic is regarding the impact glazing’s inabillity to meet energy requiremetns.  From what I understand, the impact glass industry is making progress in this area.  Also, impact glass (based upon from the discussions I have had with manufacturers) increases the cost of a window package significantly.  One advantage to impact glass windows is there ability to meet the pressure rating for openings. 


The way the IRC is written, it says that”Windows in buildings located in wind borne debris regions shall have windows protected from windborne debris or the building shall be designed as a partially enclosed building in accordance with the International Building Code”.  IRC R301.2.1.2


This clause provides an alternative procedure for those not interested in the impact glazing due to the issues described above. 






From: IRV FRUCHTMAN <ifaeng(--nospam--at)>

Subject: High-Impact Glazing

To: seaint(--nospam--at)


Fellow Engineers:

I’d appreciate learning your experience re residential

windows with high-impact resistant glazing. 

New Jersey recently adopted IRC 2000. One new item is

the requirement to protect windows and doors from

damage due to wind borne debris. A listed method for

doing this is to use high-impact glazing. However,

some area fire dept. officials have said that such

glazing could prevent firemen from entering a house in

an emergency. Has this actually happened? Are they

overstating the risk?