All glass used in Australian buildings always need to comply with relevant safety standards (AS/NZS 1288 & AS/NZS 2208), there are some situations where safety glass is not required, but at Nuline, we always use safety glass - no matter what!
But what is 'safety glass' and why is it important? The term refers to glass types which have undergone treatment to make them safer for human impact - they are commonly known as laminated glass or toughened glass and are available in all glass make-ups such as single/double/triple glazing. The term 'float glass' refers to glass that is not a treated type and when broken (which is easy!), separates into large dangerous shards that can cause significant injuries.
Laminated glass refers to a unit of glass that is made up of multiple layers with special interlayers to bond them together. Laminated glass must always have surrounding framing to protect the edges, it cannot be used for butt-join windows or frameless designs - if laminated glass meets water, it can delaminate. A bonus of the laminated glass types is that the interlayer/s help with a reduction in UV transmission and some noise. When laminated glass breaks, it will cause the characteristic spider-web appearance, but the glass will remain stuck together because of the interlayer/s.
Toughened glass (sometimes referred to a tempered glass) refers to a unit of glass which has undergone a controlled thermal process which makes it 4-5x stronger and more rigid than laminated glass. Toughened glass is used for frameless and butt-join designs as there is no risk of delamination. It requires great force, or blows with a very sharp point to cause this glass to break; and if it does break, it will shatter into small, blunt chunks which are less likely to cause injury. Toughened glass is much more heat resistant to laminated glass, and so is a requirement for BAL rated projects, or cook-top splashbacks.
Both of these glass types are available in various finishes/combinations - obscure, tinted, LowE, etc.
If you have any other questions about the glass types we use at Nuline, you're welcome to contact our friendly team for a chat.