Ram Quarter, Greater London
A Race To The Top
Today, tourists all over the world are able to ‘enjoy’ the adrenaline thrill of walking on glass at really high levels.
Canada was the first out of the blocks to provide this new ‘entertainment’, when back in 1994 the first glass floor (at a height of 342 metres from ground level
and covering an area of just under 25m²) was opened to the public at the C.N. Tower building in Toronto. Since those early days, venue after venue has opened, each one trying to offer something different or to be the longest or highest glass skywalk in the world.
Much closer to home, four years later a much more modest 3m² plus glass floor was installed in the viewing platform of the Blackpool Tower. This original
‘Walk of Faith’ comprised of two sheets of 50mm laminated glass, which were then installed approximately 116 metres above the Tower’s historic circus ring
and much loved and world famous ballroom.
Then, in 2007 and built at a cost of some $8m (although some claim much more), the second man to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, opened the Skywalk at
the Grand Canyon in Arizona. This controversial feat of engineering is actually owned by the native American Hualapai tribe and it projects out from the
canyon wall for 21 metres where it ‘hangs’ in midair some 220 metres up from the cliff directly below, although some prefer to claim the height to be much
greater by taking their measurement from the Colorado River which runs through the bottom of the canyon.
To experience the ‘thrills’ or should that be the ’terrors’ of crossing what are currently claimed to be the longest and highest glass-floored walkways in the
world, a trip to China is necessary, as it is in this country where they have a real penchant for building this type of structure. For instance, in the
Tianmenshan National Forest Park and costing a reported £48m, they have constructed a glass floored walkway; the incredible (and some would say
terrifying) Coiling Dragon Cliff Skywalk, which has within its overall run, a length of glass floor c.100 metres long. This walkway coils round the cliff face and
while different reports claim different heights for this amazing ‘tourist attraction’ one thing is for certain… it’s a very, very long way down!
However, if walking across the longest and highest glass bridges on the planet is on your bucket list, then at a reported 488 metres long, crossing the glass bridge in the Hongyagu Scenic Area is a must. Not only is it claimed to have taken the record for the longest glass suspension bridge in the world, some also say it has the clearest downward views as well. However, the accolade for the highest glass bridge is still claimed to be held by the one at the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. Designed by Israeli Architect Haim Dotan whose design concept was to create a bridge that was “as invisible as possible” whilst safely holding 800 visitors at a time, this six metre wide bridge spans 430metres and features numerous 50mm thick laminated glass panels through which can be viewed the bottom of a gorge... an amazing 300 metres below.
Of course, glass that can be safely walked on doesn’t just have a role to play in creating
vastly expensive tourist attractions. Far from it...
In fact, more and more walk on glass rooflights are being specified for projects of all
shapes and sizes, particularly when there is a real need to ensure that every bit of
available flat roof or terrace space can be safely used to the absolute maximum, or
alternatively, where it is highly desirable to get some much needed daylight into clearly
defined areas of the lower floors of a building.
Whilst the design of the support structure for walk on glass rooflights is not that dissimilar
to traditional glass rooflights that are designed to be fixed onto a traditional 150mm high
builder’s kerb, the fact that this timber structure must be precisely installed and concealed
within the roof construction itself (in order to make certain that the top surface of the
surrounding roof or floor is completely level with the top of the rooflight, thereby
removing any potential trip hazards), it does make a difference as to when within the build
programme a glass walk on rooflight should be ordered and installed.
Klarity glass rooflights and fire-resistant walk on floors, which are the latest addition to our
product range, are all manufactured to the highest standard and because we never cut
safety just to cut prices, they are always glazed with exactly the correct combination and
thickness of toughed and laminated glass for every situation.
However, because there is a direct correlation between the spanning capability of glass
and its thickness, we reserve the right to determine the overall depth of the glass required.
For additional safety, fritting (a non-slip treatment) can also be applied to the top surface
of the glass.
Please note that all thermally efficient Klarity walk on glass rooflights are custom made to order up to a maximum size of 2500mm x 1000mm. It is also important to remember that because Klarity rooflights can weigh, as a minimum, c. 75 kg / m², proper provision must
be made not only to safely hoist the rooflights into position on the roof but also to safely support them once installed.
Never attempt to stand on a glass
rooflight unless you are totally
certain that it has been specifically
designed and constructed
to allow you to do so.
It is not sufficient for
the glass just to be
laminated or for the
rooflight to be classed
Walk on glass rooflights require a
specific glass build up, which is
normally very substantial.
You can however be completely confident that all
our Klarity glass rooflights which are manufactured in the U.K. are fully glazed with the correct specification of toughened and laminated glass and of course, have the correct overall depth
of glass required for the size of
the roof opening.
They are therefore safe to walk on.
Some time ago, we were made all too well aware by a potential customer that no matter how comprehensive our range of
walk on glass rooflights may be, there were always going to be some projects where, for whatever reason, individual
walk on glass rooflights would simply not work. This could just be because the architect’s drawings included a glazed
area that was not a perfect quadrilateral, or alternatively it could just be that the size required was too large for a
walk on glass rooflight to safely cope with it.
Consequently, in due course and only after long and rigorous deliberations had taken place, Mercuri decided that in line
with our policy of always trying to offer architects and contractors the best possible choice we could, we would
considerably enhance the scope of the Klarity range, by introducing glass floors (including fire resistant ones) into our already extensive portfolio of specialist glazed building products.
However, even though they share the same ultimate objectives, it very quickly became clear to us that, technically
speaking, glazed floors are somewhat different to walk on glass rooflights, not least because of the level of advanced
structural design and engineering that is required if ultimately, the installed glazed floor is to be a success.
Furthermore, we also quickly realised that, if we were to 'make a go’ of this new addition to our range of roof glazing
building products, we clearly needed to bring into the Mercuri ‘team’ of trusted suppliers, a new partner; one with
whom we could work closely, who had all the right experience and knowledge and most importantly, shared our working
principles and business ethics.
Our involvement in our first major and very successful project, resulted in orders for both 2 no. fire rated, multi panel
multi panel glass rooflights and also a well capping to be installed in a major redevelopment scheme in Wandsworth,
(please see above). As a result, we are now both proud and delighted to include this very exciting new glazing
solution into this, our brand new webpage.
Just as we already do with all of our other top quality but sensibly priced glazed building products, Mercuri offer a full
service including provision of budget prices and detailed quotations and specifications, technical drawings, site surveys
(at our discretion) and of course a full installation service including the steel support framework, in fact everything you would expect from a thoroughly professional company... from initial discussion right through to after sales service.
The World Record Breaking Glass Bridge in
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China
Klarity Walk On Glass Rooflights
Klarity Glass Floors...
Just Make More Of A Building
Domestic Applications To A Maximum
Uniformly distributed load (UDL) of 1.5kN/m2
Concentrated load of 2.0kN
Commercial applications To A Maximum *
Uniformly distributed load (UDL) of 4.0kN/m2
Concentrated load of 3.6kN
Klarity Walk On Rooflights
Are BS EN 1991-1-1:2002 Compliant
Or to put it another way
Once correctly installed, this
Klarity Walk On Glass Rooflight could
safely support the entire weight of this
$100,000 Dream Racing Machine
...As Well As The Rider!
* We can also design a safe solution when even larger loads have to be imposed