Architects don’t typically work with bulletproof glass in their construction projects, which means that when Total Security Solutions works with an architect, it is often the architect’s first exposure to the materials.
With that experiential deficit in mind, we’ve developed an extensive resource gallery to educate and assist architects with their projects. When working on a design that requires a single protected area, we recommend the inclusion of a fixed bulletproof barrier system.
Understanding the Fixed Barrier System
While specific fixed barrier configurations can vary depending on the space they’ll be incorporated in, standard elements of the system remain. If the design you’re working on requires security for a single transaction or ticket window as seen in convenience stores, bus stations, movie theaters, pawn shops, and stadiums, for example, then a fixed barrier system is an ideal option for you.
Components of a Fixed Barrier System
Before you begin, you need to ask and answer the following questions:
- Will this glass be used on an interior or exterior application?
- What is the perceived threat level?
If you are using the glass for an exterior application, you’ll want to stay away from acrylic bulletproof glass, and instead choose polycarbonate or glass-clad polycarbonate (GCP).
Both polycarbonate and GCP can resist attempted forced entry and the elements, but acrylic put in the same situation wouldn’t fare the same. One negative you’ll find with polycarbonate and GCP is that it’s harder to manufacture more specifically designed and seamless barriers than you can with a sheet of acrylic. This, as well as a difference in price, is why acrylic is ideal for most interior installations. The level of protection required also influences which glass is best for your job.
Bullet Resistant Framing and Doors
Many people assume that once they have installed bulletproof glass, they’re all set. What they don’t take into account is a situation where a gunman aims below the glass, or misses the glass and hits the frame. Because of situations like this, Total Security Solutions recommends reinforcing the barrier panels and counters with ballistic fiberglass as well as the glass with rated frames in order to ensure the barrier is optimally secure.
The same line of thinking should go into the selection of the door and hardware. What’s the point of spending the money on a barrier system and then leaving the person behind the glass susceptible to injury by not including a ballistic door in the design? Neglecting to do this makes it possible for the gunman to compromise the security of the barrier by blasting through the door.
Other Barrier Considerations
When designing a barrier, security should be the ultimate concern, but you also can’t ignore the functionality of the space. The barrier should not keep the person behind it from doing their job. If that occurs, both the employee and the customer will be upset. That means you need to consider the type of transaction that takes place at each barrier.
For example, if it’s a ticket window, all you’ll need is a currency tray to pass money and tickets back and forth. If the space is used for merchandise, as in the case of a convenience store or pharmacy where the employee needs to pass merchandise, you might need a deeper currency tray, a package passer, or pass-thru drawer. Another element to consider is a communication device. There are multiple options to choose from – both natural and electronic.
If you have additional questions about designing a freestanding barrier system, feel free to contact one of our design consultants.
- Understand more about bulletproof glass by downloading our infographic
- Check out our Architect Resource Center and download our Architect Information Kit
- Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest architect news