Designing Interior Glass? Here are some engineering code items to consider

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There’s more to consider when designing interior glass than just how it looks.

Turns out there are quite a few design and safety factors to adhere to.  In accordance with both the International and Florida Building Codes (IBC 2018 & FBC 2017/2020):

Regarding differential horizontal movement:


(Section 2403.4) Interior Glazed Areas:  Where interior glazing is installed adjacent to a walking surface, the differential deflection of two adjacent unsupported edges shall not be greater than the thickness of the panels when a force of 50 pounds per linear foot is applied horizontally to one panel at any point up to 42 inches above the walking surface.

Commentary:  Think of this as ‘don’t get your fingers caught in the glass’… Someone leans against the glass, someone else puts their finger in the hole created, a person leans off the glass…

Regarding what evenly distributed load to put on the glass:

(Section 1607.14) Interior Walls & Partitions: Interior walls and partitions that exceed 6 feet in height, including their finish materials, shall have adequate strength to resist the loads to which they are subjected but not less than a horizontal load of 5psf.

Commentary: Engineering Express prefers to design to 10psf due to other codes and standards outside the scope of this summary, something to consider (also called the ‘shake test’).  Anchorage, framing, glass strength per ASTM E1300 all need to be considered and designed to with this force applied to all portions of the glazed surface simultaneously.


If the glass is to be used as a guardrail, all requirements of guardrails apply.

Tempered glass needs to be used where required by code.


These are just some of the many code issues.  We encourage you to seek all necessary regulations and restrictions when designing with all types of glass & contact us to help.

Last Update: March 31, 2022  

September 1, 2017  Codes & Standards  
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