Last update: 23.08.2019
Safety & security
4.

Interior/exterior safety

Clear regulation parameters govern the installation of glass elements in areas where there is a risk of falling.

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Safety with and through glass

Barrier glazing (glazing for protecting people from falling out)

Clear regulation parameters govern the installation of glass elements in areas where there is a risk of falling. These areas range from simple railings and barriers to room-high glazing installed more than approx. one metre above solid ground. In Germany, the DIN 18008, part 4 applies. This DIN is based on unified European standards which all EU countries will have to implement in the short- to medium-term. This legal specification regulates in detail the kind of glass and assembly, depending on its area of application. Glazing that deviates from this legal specification is of course allowed, but should be inspected and tested in each single case and approved by the authorities.

Barrier glazing according to DIN 18008-4 is classified in several categories (A, B and C), depending on the kind of construction.


The main requirements on the design are:

  • The construction depends on the category of the barrier glazing.
  • Glazing with different build-ups and dimensions requires tests in order to verify the shock resistance (glass build-ups with proven shock resistance are listed in table B.1 in the DIN 18008) 
  • General rule for laminated glass: the thickness of the individual panes must not differ from each other by a factor greater than 1,7 (e.g.: 4 mm + 6 mm, 5 mm + 8 mm, 6 mm + 10 mm, etc. ...)
     
Floor-to-floor barrier glazing without supporting beam (category A)
  • Single glass must consist of laminated safety glass.
  • Impact side of IG must consist of laminated safety glass, tempered glass or laminated glass consisting of tempered glass.
  • Minimum one pane of an IGU must be laminated safety glass.
  • Triple glazed units: float can be used behind tempered glass on the impact side if the tempered glass does not break in a pendulum impact test.

 

Floor-to-floor barrier glazing without supporting beam (category A)

 

At base line clamped glass parapets / balustrades (category B)
  • Individual glass panes are connected by a handrail.
  • Handrail can be placed on the upper edge or fixed by plate holder (point support) according to EN 18008-3.
  • In the event of failure, the beam load gets transferred to neighbouring glasses.
  • Only laminated safety glass must be used.
At base line clamped glass parapets - ballustrades (category B)

 

Barrier glazing in combination with load transferring beam (category C)
  • Filling below or behind the beam.
  • All sides of linearly supported glazings of the categories C1 and C2 may consist of     monolithic tempered glass – in all other cases laminated safety glass is mandatory.
  • IGU of the categories C1 and C2: same rules for impact side as for category A, other panes according to DIN 18008 part 2 (rules for linear supported) and 3 (point supported glazing).
  • Category C3 needs to be treated like Category A with regard to the permitted glass types.
Barrier glazing in combination with load transferring beam (category C)

 

Linear supported glazing with proven impact resistance

The glass build-ups listed below may be used without additional tests. For triple glazing considerations, additional tempered or tempered heat-soaked glass lites may be used for the combinations shown in the rows 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 20 and 28.

 

Impact resistance table

DIN 18008-4. Table B1

Overhead glazing

Any glazing installed at an inclination of ± 10° relative to the vertical is referred to as overhead glazing. In addition to having to withstand the usual types of forces such as wind, varying weather conditions and snow, the glass must be able to hold up under its own construction load. Therefore, these types of glass should be treated differently from those installed vertically. It is critical that in case of failure, this type of overhead glazing is guaranteed not to shower down glass splinters, shards or jagged pieces. DIN 18008, part 2 currently covers these types of installations in Germany. This DIN is a national norm but is based on designated European standards which should be implemented in the medium term by all EU countries.

It is a general rule that today’s overhead glazing should consist exclusively of laminated safety glass, with a minimum of 0.76 mm PVB for the lower pane. Static requirements may even demand higher standards.

Walk-on glazing

These are glazings suitable for permanent access of people for walking on. The typical admissible loads are personal loads. Requirements are defined in DIN 18008 part 5.

Typical applications are: stairs, platforms, glass bridges or light well covers.

Permitted glass types with proven shock resistance are shown in table B.1 (DIN 18008 part 5).

Walk on glazing

 

Main requirements on the design are:

  • Glass surface must have anti-slip characteristics.
  • Position must be fixed (against shifting or lifting).
  • Glass build up: minimum triple laminated glass.
  • Load limitation for passenger traffic at typical use and vertical load: max. 5 kN/m².
  • Bending rigid substructure.
  • Elastomer bearing material with 60 - 70 shore A-hardness.
  • Minimum bearing with a width of 30 mm.
     
Walk-on glazing

 

Step-on glazing for cleaning and maintenance purposes

These are glazings suitable for short term access of specially trained personnel for cleaning and maintenance purposes. Requirements are defined in DIN 18008 part 6 and typically apply for linear and point supported constructions.

The construction needs: 

  • to prevent people from falling through intact glazing.
  • to prevent people from falling through damaged glazing.
  • to prevent danger to persons below damaged glazing.

The requirements differentiate between walk-on for stay and not for walk-on, but because of slope fall-through protection is necessary.
Vertical or sloped glazing on the same level as work platform or traffic way must have fall-though protection. The following scenarios must be considered:

  • distance to glass < 2 m
Step-on glazing for cleaning and maintenance purposes
  • elevated glazing:    < 0,9 m above and up to 0,3 m below
Step-on glazing for cleaning and maintenance purposes
  • sloped glazing:
Step-on glazing for cleaning and maintenance purposes

The approved glass types (conform to horizontal glazing according to DIN 18008 part 2) are:

  • Laminated safety glass only consisting of glass types breaking into large pieces (float glass or heat strengthened glass)
  • Wired glass is not considered as fall-through safe!
  • Upper glass of insulating glass (impact side) must be safe in case of breakage (laminated safety glass or fully tempered glass only)

For structural design calculations a point load of 150 kg impacting on an area of 10 cm x 10 cm (= 1,5 kN/m²) in the middle of the pane must be considered.

Post-glass breakage performance/residual strength

Residual stability refers to the characteristic of an installed glass element to remain standing for a defined, limited period of time without exerting any load. This applies only to vertical glazing. Overhead glazing’s residual capacity refers to the fact that in case of failure, the glass should bear its own weight over a defined period of time. The requirements and installation situations always determine the respective type of glazing that should be used. The following charts give a broad overview of this type of implementation.