From violent storms and accidents to water damage and cracked glass, there are plenty of risks a shop front window may have to face over the course of its life. How do you know your new glass will be able to handle everything that nature and society may throw at it? Whether you are dealing with a new build or a renovation, the specification requirements are the same.
You’ll have to ensure these glass specs are met in order to deliver a high quality finished project for your client, or for yourself if you are a business owner. Take a look at the standard shop front glass specifications that your newly installed window is expected to live up to.
Shop front glass is subject to wind loading. This means the glass has to be strong enough, both in how it was engineered and how well it was installed.
You can analyse the force depending on the highest intensity of winds a shop front window may be subject to (for example, if it is in an area that is prone to hurricanes or tropical storms) and the potential type of wind load force – shear, lateral or an uplift load.
Thicker glass is on every business owner’s wish list. Thicker glass will enhance the energy efficiency of the property, improve the indoor acoustics and make it next to impossible for someone to break in. All of these features are enhanced even more when special types of glass are used in addition to thicker panes, such as laminated glass or a special security glass.
At the same time, thicker glass is more expensive. It’s important to find the right balance between function and price. The appropriate shop front glass thickness will depend on the location and characteristics of the property but in general, shop front windows will need to consist of thicker glass panes than residential buildings. Make sure you discuss options with the shop owner as well as the glass company to make sure the best glass is being installed.
Once your glass exceeds a certain size, it will need to be designed by an engineering team to ensure it complies with industry standards. For example, according to Australian building codes, glass that is over 3.6 metres needs to be specially engineered with fin brackets. Every two panels would require a bracket to ensure the glass would be securely installed.
Flashing and Waterproofing
A huge issue with window installation is that it creates a large hole in the exterior of a building. Your glass needs to be properly installed to ensure it is watertight. Not only can improperly installed windows lead to energy loss, they also allow for moisture to build-up.
This can eventually lead to mould growth, which has a negative impact on indoor air quality, let alone the material damage. Windows should be flashed and sealed properly when they are installed to prevent water damage and condensation. What flashing tape will be used? What are the window manufacturer’s recommendations for caulking? Check the details and discuss any concerns you may have with the glass company.
This is where, as a builder, you’ll need to work closely with your glass company. As you’ll be creating the opening for the glass installation, you need to know the weight of the glass and frame that the glazier will supply. Is the surrounding wall structure strong enough to comfortably accommodate the window? Are there any specific requirements you need to know about when you are preparing the open space?
Living Up to Glass Standards and Client Expectations
As a professional builder, it’s important that the contractors, suppliers and other industry professionals you work with operate to the same high standards you adhere to – and that your clients expect. Does your glazier follow industry best practices? Are you working with a company with the right amount of experience and skill?
One thing you can do is to ask if your glazier is a member of the Australian Glass & Glazing Association. AGGA members are committed to following high industry standards. When it comes to a major installation job such as a new storefront window, ask about the shop front glass specifications and experiences your glazier has had in the past with similar projects. They should be able to tell you not only the work they’ve done in the past but also the related challenges they’ve faced and what solutions they came up with to make even the toughest projects work.