Sticker shock is a fact of life for architects. Many clients have big ideas for their project, and no idea what it costs to get it done. That sticker shock can be especially severe when a bullet resistant barrier is involved: The materials are expensive and their weight means you’ll have to beef up structures throughout the design. But an experienced bullet resistant systems design firm can guide you toward maximizing security–and aesthetic appeal–while minimizing expenses.
High-Function Bullet Proof Glass Design
Total Security Solutions vice president Jim Richards has decades of experience designing, fabricating, and installing bullet proof systems. He lays out a familiar scenario:
“Let’s say you’re installing a bullet resistant window wall in an office or bank. This is a floor-to-ceiling window. Most architects new to bullet proof design will use bullet resistant acrylic for the full twelve feet. That’s expensive–not just for the bullet resistant acrylic itself, but also in terms of extra materials and time spent reinforcing the structure to bear the weight of that heavier transparency, which is easily twice as heavy as conventional half-inch tempered glass. But why are you putting bullet proof material up twelve feet? No one ever shows up to a bank robbery with a step ladder. It makes a lot more sense to run bullet proof acrylic up to eight feet, and then do the last four in tempered glass.”
Such a design is just as safe, but offers a significant cost savings.
Experienced bullet proof designers like Jim have an arsenal of such design “tricks” that lower cost while increasing functionality. For example, using a louvered partition above the bullet resistant window wall in the above example would both save on materials and also maintain the room’s natural air flow. This significantly reduces the challenges posed in adapting the HVAC system, and makes for a more pleasant space for both workers and visitors.
Top-Tier Bullet Proof Glass Design is Efficient
There are also savings to be had on the manufacturing end. Ballistic materials come in several standard sheet sizes. Minimizing the number of cuts that need to be made, and assuring that each sheet is used as efficiently as possible, will have a meaningful impact on even a small installation’s bottom line.
Realizing these savings can be surprisingly painless–if you are well versed with the materials. For example, Jim frequently finds that simply shortening a run of ballistic material by an inch or two–perhaps by moving in a wall, using a wider frame, or dropping down a soffit–can lower the overall cost of the installation noticeably.
Total Security Solutions has produced a variety of materials to introduce architects to using bullet resistant glass. Their trained staff is just a phone call away, and eager to help you find the best solutions for your clients.
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