In our last post, we looked at the British Standard BS 5234 and explained how it is no longer fit for purpose when looking at modern glass office partitioning. We also looked at how Optima ensures that the performance of the glass partitions that we supply meet appropriate standards for safety and materials.
In this post, we turn our attention to testing of glass partitions and highlight some of the things you should consider when specifying.
Line Load Testing
With regards to testing, BS 5234 makes a fairly generalised reference to crowd/line loads, but only in the context of partitions being used as barriers. Glass office partitions don’t normally perform a structural purpose, since they are non-structural elements. However, they are required to perform safely in situations where a load may be applied, for example, if someone walking by should accidentally fall into the glass.
At Optima, we determine glass type and thickness for our partitions using a software calculation, and then follow up with testing in certain circumstances.
Non-loadbearing partitions in commercial office environments will routinely be suitable for our Optima Standard Partition Specification, provided the partition in not acting as a barrier, guide or retainer.
In other circumstances different standards apply, as they do in public or heavy circulation areas, and in some public-sector buildings. Greater loads may be applied to the glass in public areas by a boisterous crowd walking down a corridor, or in hospitals by trolleys, for example. In these cases, an alternative specification should be prepared to meet the specific requirements and ensure that the specified system has been tested for crowd load resistance.
Glass Partition Design Testing
At Optima, product design and product testing go hand in hand.
As an example, we recently developed a new system of glazing called Revolution 100. This is a high acoustic, mullion-free glazed partition system which is designed to allow a partition height greater than the typical 3000mm.
Since Revolution 100 was designed to span more than the standard 3000mm vertically, we used a test rig to evaluate the design and confirm where transoms would need to be situated and what the structural effect of the transoms would be. The testing was carried out in Laboratory Conditions at the University of Salford and you can see the different positions of the transoms.
Doors in glazed partitions are an example of an element that undergoes considerable stress. To ensure that our doors perform perfectly throughout their lifespan we have our own in- house structural testing facility at our factory in Radstock.
Office based doors are usually characterised as medium duty so need to go through 100,000 open and close cycles (including opening and closing the latch). Corridor doors with frequent duty use need to be even more robust and have to go through 200,000 or even up to half a million cycles for heavy duty use.
Our in-house testing facility allows us to test to the relevant standards so we can be confident that the product we put into the market has been dynamically tested to last the course when it is installed in an office environment.
In order for the acoustic value of a glass partition or door to be credible, it must have been proven in an accredited laboratory. For direct comparisons to be made between one system and another, they must both have been laboratory tested in accordance with the correct sample definition annex in EN ISO 10140-1, and by an accredited laboratory. UKAS are the accreditation service in the UK and all Optima acoustic testing is carried out in UKAS accredited laboratories and tested in accordance with annex A of the standard.
It is also important to make sure that the test certificate states the test sample size. Glass partitions are full height structures, so it is not acceptable to test partitions as ‘windows’ according to annex C, or ‘glazing’ in accordance with annex D, both in smaller sized openings. Testing samples using these methods, as acknowledged by EN ISO 10140-1, will generally give an artificially higher result than testing a representative partition sample with multiple modules of glass, glazing joints and exposed perimeter track-work. Such a result cannot therefore be directly compared to a full partition sample test result.
Peter Long, Technical Manager
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