Tower Bridge operators have been experiencing a huge amount of interest in their latest project; a bespoke glass walkway installed 42 metres above the River Thames in London.
Designed by Purcell this £1 million project features flush fit walk on specification glazed panels which allow the public to stand over the Thames and enjoy a very unique vantage point.
The walkway comprises of six glass panels, weighing 530 kgs each and measuring 11 metres long and 1.8 metres wide all supported by carbon steel framework.
The sheer scale of engineering involved in a project such as this cannot be underestimated as the glazing has to remain 100% safe to walk on whilst supporting crowd loads generated by dozens of people standing on the glass at the same time, the bridge is estimated to be used by up to 40,000 visitors per day.
Walk on glazing and Building Regulations
In this type of application the glass has to be designed to support the same loads as if it were a conventional floor. These loads are defined in BS EN 1991-1-1 (Eurocode 1) and the UK National Annex. If specifying a glass floor it is important to ensure that it has been designed to the appropriate loads for the building type and usage.
In 2013 the Building Regulations changed from referencing the old standard, BS6399 Part 1 to Eurocodes which increased the design loads to be used on floors so great care should be taken to find out if a supplier or manufacturer is building their product based on the updated regulation, those still working to BS6399 Part 1 will find that their product no longer complies with Building Regulations.
Walk on glass technology
This type of glazing technology will normally comprise of multi-layered structural glass panes that are bonded together with laminate interlayers. For a project as demanding as this it is likely that the glass will comprise of at least three panes with interlayers between each.
Many people make the mistake that it is the combined strength of all the panes together that provides the support, but in fact it is designed so that if one pane fails the remaining panes are still capable of supporting the full load of anyone standing on it.
Glazing Vision has completed many projects featuring this type of application and if you are not located in the capital you can experience it for yourself at the Balancing Barn in Suffolk which features a 3 meter x 3 meter bespoke walk on specification glazed floor designed and installed by Glazing Vision in collaboration with MVRDV Architects.
To view the project click here.