Hope an ‘elegant and affordable solution’ can be found to glass safety concerns

seafront flat roof
The flat roof area above Marine Parade businesses has been resurfaced and had new glass fencing installed for a cost of £650,000 in 2020

WITH regards to the seafront glass balustrade – the glass balustrade looks so attractive, it’s a great shame that the incident happened but obviously very good that nobody got seriously injured.

As a regular visitor to Lyme (once or twice a year since a child), and one who now follows Lyme news through LymeOnline, I was particularly interested in this story as I have had my own experience of a section of toughened glass that failed.

In my case it was a very large panel separating parts of a newly re-ordered church building in Berkshire, where I am churchwarden.

In our instance nobody got hurt as it stayed in place and the reason for the failure is still unclear as we wait to get it fixed, but it appears to be something to do with the installation work since no impacts were involved.

Our panel had two layers of toughened glass bonded together so the failure only affected one half with the intact panel importantly holding the fragments of the damaged panel together.

The article says that the glass did not behave as expected but it is not clear to me as a reader, but perhaps implied by events, that the seafront balustrade was made of a single thickness, and perhaps history has shown this to have been an inappropriate choice?

Maybe the solution involves retaining all of the balustrade frames without disturbing the groundwork whilst progressively replacing all of the panels as a double thickness, starting with the panels adjacent to the biggest drop, followed up by the panels adjacent to lawns where there is the possibility of a repeat incident from grass cutting or skateboards or other vehicles getting out of control.

Apart from these type of impact incidents, I suppose the thought arises too as to whether with climate change and increasing storms there is a plausible risk of beach pebbles or gravel being thrown to this elevation by a raging sea at high tide?

Clearly an expensive problem to resolve but I hope that an elegant, affordable solution can be found that will preserve the appearance of this attractive balustrade feature and allow a full range of amenity usage to still be contemplated.

Kevin Isles,
Berkshire

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