Wind loading for Architectural Glazing

The term 'wind loading' refers to the amount of pressure caused by wind that the glass must be able to resist. When calculating wind loads there are many factors that need to be considered, including the buildings height, shape, relationship to surrounding buildings and the terrain. The local wind speeds and gust durations also need to be taken into account as these forces all put pressure on the building.

Wind can generate enough pressure to damage architectural glazing, therefore, it is imperative that wind loading is allowed for in the design stages of a project. The in-house team of IQ designers are experts at designing architectural glazing for wind loading and know which variables need to be carefully considered.

What are the different types of Wind Load?

There are actually three types of wind forces that would be exerted on a building, these are the following:

Uplift Wind Load

Uplift Wind Load is an upwards force of the wind that would affect roof structures or similar horizontal structures in a building, such as canopies or awnings. The wind flow under a roof structure pushes the roof upwards, the wind flow over the horizontal structure pulls the roof upwards.

uplift wind load

Shear Wind Load

Shear Wind Load is a horizontal pressure or force that can cause walls or vertical structural elements to tilt or crack, causing a building to tilt.

shear wind load

Lateral Wind Load

Lateral Wind Load is another horizontal wind pressure that can make a structure move off its foundations or overturn.


Coastal properties or sites that are set out of a sheltered town environment may be subject to higher wind loads and therefore will have to be designed to withstand these additional forces.

lateral wind load

Do glazing systems have predetermined wind load strengths?

Framed glazing systems, such as our aluminium and steel windows and door glazing products, can be pre-tested to determine what their window load strength is. These tests are completed using EN standard testing method 12210, Windows and Doors - Resistance to Wind Load. The resulting classifications are broken down into two parts; a number signifying the maximum wind pressures exerted on the window or door and a letter signifying the resulting frontal deflection during the testing procedure.

Can Structural Glazing have pre-tested wind load strengths?

All structural glass assemblies are designed bespoke to suit each project's requirements, this includes the wind load requirements. Different areas or locations throughout the UK will have different design wind load requirements depending on the basic wind speed of the area and the size and shape of the building as well.

Building Regulations state that all structures have to be designed to withstand a wind load of 0.5 kN/m2 (500 Pa), however, IQ Glass design all of our glass structures and installations to withstand a 0.65kN/m2 (650 Pa) wind load to ensure additional support.

Why are Wind Loads important in Architectural Glazing?

Ensuring that architectural glazing installations are designed and installed with the required wind loading's is extremely important to ensure that windows and doors operate properly throughout their lifetime. You also need to ensure that those structural glass assemblies are designed with the correct glass thicknesses and relevant strengthening interlayers.

An architect or engineer should be able to work out the designs wind load that we will need in our calculations for glass specifications and fixing details. This wind load is generally calculated using BS EN 1991-1-4:2005+A1:2010 regarding wind actions on buildings.

Speak to the technical team at IQ Glass for more information to make sure that we are designing your structure to the required strength and resistance.

Rebecca Clayton
Technical Sales
Rebecca is Head of Marketing at the IQ Group and has worked in glazing specification for many years. She has a broad range of technical knowledge about all our glazing products and offers technical advice and guidance to architects for specification. Her easy to digest technical advice is often quoted in magazines and publications. You might also recognise her as one of the IQ Glass CPD presenters.
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