Glass floors will be easy to specify in almost any situation, following technical developments by manufacturer Pittsburgh Corning.
The company has produced a new product which has 60 minutes' insulation, integrity and loadbearing, and which can be installed using precast concrete panels. Called pc Fireblock, the 197 x 197 x 100mm modules are available in a sandblasted anti-slip finish. They meet bs476: part 21; 1987 Clause 7 for 2.4 x 2.4m panels.
Colin Hudson of Pittsburgh Corning said this week that he believed the product to be a world first, and that it would give architects scope to rethink the design of escape stairwells, car parks and walkways, where any floor lighting from below would be an advantage.
At the same time, a version of the product for vertical use has also been launched, with the same fire-insulation performance. The blocks can be used as large area panels, of up to 3 x 3m, and can be used in combination with standard glass blocks. It will be easier to specify curved walls, and to use frame-free applications.
The company says that although the product is not cheap, it can be used to big effect in small areas, for example the sides or tops of doors, or as panels in a wall where a window or screen would be inappropriate.