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Spontaneous Glass Breakage Why it happens (and what to do about it) by Michael L. Rupert Photo © Wes Thompson. Photo courtesy PPG THE PAST FEW YEARS HAVE SEEN SEVERAL HIGHLY PUBLICIZED INCIDENTS INVOLVING WINDOW AND BALCONY GLASS BREAKING SPONTANEOUSLY AND FALLING FROM HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS IN TORONTO, CHICAGO, LAS VEGAS, AND AUSTIN, TEXAS. WHILE SUCH EPISODES ARE RARE, THE DANGER THEY POSE HAS FORCED BUILDING CODE WRITERS, ARCHITECTS, GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, AND RELATED INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS TO RECONSIDER WHICH TYPES OF GLASS SHOULD BE SPECIFIED FOR GLASS APPLICATIONS WHERE STRENGTH AND PROTECTION OF PASSERS-BY ARE PARAMOUNT. For architects and specifiers, it is important to have an overview on the potential causes of spontaneous glass breakage, including some common misconceptions about its actual spontaneity. The term ‘safety glazing’ generally refers to any type of glass engineered to reduce the potential for serious injury when it comes into human contact. In addition to balcony glass, safety glazings are commonly required for: • sliding glass doors; • shower doors; • patio furniture; • skylights; • oven glass; and • automobile windshields. 10 the construction specifier | december 2013 CS_DECEMBER_2013.indd 10 2013-11-14 2:39 PM