Fire Rated Windows
Fire rated windows have been installed in buildings across Australia for many years before the Building Code of Australia (BCA) was adopted under various building regulations. The BCA has formalised the use and construction of fire rated windows which becomes an essential safety measure when a building is occupied under an occupation certificate, occupancy permit, certificate of classification, and cerfiticate construction compliance. Fire rated windows are provided under the BCA to protect life and property from the risk of flame and heat transmission.
Building Code of Australia
Acceptable methods of construction for fire rated windows is nominated in Clause 3.4 of the BCA, part extract of this clause for fire rated windows follows:
C3.4 Acceptable methods of protection (fire rated windows)
(a) Where protection is required, doorways, windows and other openings must be protected as follows:
(i) Doorways –
(A) internal or external wall-wetting sprinklers as appropriate used with doors that are self-closing or automatic closing; or
(B) -/60/30 fire doors that are self-closing or automatic closing.
(ii) Windows –
(A) internal or external wall-wetting sprinklers as appropriate used with windows that are automatic closing or permanently fixed in the closed position; or
(B) -/60/- fire windows that are automatic closing or permanently fixed in the closed position; or
(C) -/60/- automatic closing fire shutters.
A number of leading manufacturers of fire rated windows have had their fire rated windows tested under AS1530.4-2005 Methods for the tests on building materials, components and structures – Fire – resistance tests of elements of construction and AS/NZS1530.3-1999 Methods for fire tests on building materials, components and structures – Simultaneous determination of ignitability, flame propagation, heat release and smoke release. Fire rated windows manufacturers through modern technology have been able to demonstrate via testing that they can provide fire rated windows with higher fire resistance levels (FRL’s) than those shown in Clause C3.4 above for fire rated windows.
The following photograph depicts fire rated windows installed in an external wall.
The following photograph depicts fire rated windows installed in an internal wall which requires a fire resistance rating.