Safety body points out that Building Regulations permit non-laminated glass on floor-to-ceiling windows
A design safety group has warned that the Building Regulations offer the public insufficient protection against falling through floor-to-ceiling windows Designers Initiative on Health and Safety (DIHS) has found that architects are free to specify non-laminated glass for this kind of window. It warns that this may shatter if a person collides with it.

With full glazing on high-rise residential and office buildings becoming increasingly popular, the group says the public is being put in danger.

Building Regulation Part K says that glass balustrades acting as protective barriers must use strengthened glass, but there is no mention of floor-to-ceiling glazing.

Peter Caplehorn, a member of DIHS, said that full glazing should be specified as if it were a balustrade.

He said: "We need more guidance. There are three British standards offering guidance on using glass but none of them mention floor-to-ceiling glazing."

Caplehorn said he spotted the discrepancy when he was faced with different glazing prices for two almost identical buildings.

Caplehorn said that it turned out that one had been priced using laminated glass and one without.

Laminated windows' strength is derived from a film of plastic, which is sandwiched between two panes of glass. If the glazing shatters, the interlayer will prevent a person from falling through the window.

Standard annealed glass of at least 10 mm thickness will also provide the same level of strength and is often used in glass balustrades.

Caplehorn says that in the UK floor-to-ceiling glazing is often toughened rather than laminated. This will shatter if hit by a large enough force and has no plastic interlayer to prevent a person from falling through it.

Caplehorn added that because the market is so competitive, toughened glass is often specified because it is cheaper than laminated glazing.

At the time Building went to press, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was unavailable for comment.