Bullet Proof Glass and Bullet Resistant Barriers | TSS Bulletproof http://www.tssbulletproof.com Wed, 18 May 2016 15:44:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Total Security Solutions CEO Jim Richards Chosen As EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2016 Finalist http://www.tssbulletproof.com/total-security-solutions-ceo-jim-richards-chosen-ey-entrepreneur-year-2016-finalist/ Wed, 18 May 2016 15:38:35 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15241 [...]

EY Entrepreneur of the yearWe are excited to announce that our CEO, Jim Richards, was named as a EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2016 Finalist.

Now celebrating its 30th year, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards program recognizes entrepreneurs in over 145 cities in 60 countries who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

Winners for the Michigan Northwest Ohio Region will be announced at a black tie awards Gala on Thursday, June 23, 2016 at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

We congratulate Jim and wish him the very best of luck!

Click here to see the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 finalists

Next Steps:

Make or Break Project

Bullet Resistant Systems that Satisfy Government Clients http://www.tssbulletproof.com/bullet-resistant-systems-satisfy-government-clients/ Wed, 11 May 2016 13:49:51 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15153 [...]

Tuscaloos County Sheriff's OfficeTotal Security Solutions has worked at every level of government, from the Pentagon down to local utility offices. These jobs have ranged from large passport offices to tiny Social Security Administration payment windows, border checkpoints to courthouses and police stations, with systems custom designed to protect facilities against everything from a random enraged person waiving a pistol to premeditated terror attacks with high-powered assault rifles.

Meeting Government Security Needs

Although most of TSS’s government work has been through contractors, they’ve tended to work closely—if not directly—with the government agencies themselves (especially the General Services Administration, Social Services Administration, and Veterans’ Administration). It’s not unusual for TSS’s early specs and layout to become the basis of design for a whole series of projects within a given agency.

As Bob George, Total Security Solutions sales manager, notes, “Our best opportunities are the ones where we’re able to deal directly with the end-user. It goes much smoother and they end up with a better system, one that keeps everyone safe, doesn’t get in the way of getting their work done, and looks good. From the contractor’s end, it’s just a lot easier: The agency wants to go off the basis of design. If we’re specified, even when we’re not deemed the sole source for a given project, the contractor still needs to get an approved equal. At the end of the day, our work is the basis of design because the quality speaks for itself, and because these agencies know they can rely on TSS to get it done on time at a level that exceeds their expectations.”

Navigating the Complexities of Working with Government Clients

Working so closely with government agencies has given the TSS design team a rare opportunity to hone their skills guiding government clients to the right system for their facility. As Bob George explains, “Many government clients come in saying hey, we want Level 8, we want the highest. We get that all the time, and then you have to talk them down. The fact is, we very rarely do anything above Level 5. Level 3 is realistic for most government barrier systems. Yes, Level 8 is going to protect your from some pretty heavy-duty stuff, but the windows will be 2.5” thick—double the thickness of Level 3, and almost triple the weight, at nearly 30 pounds per square foot. It’s a very difficult material to work with. Not to get too technical, but anything higher than Level 3, you get into all glass-clad polycarbonate—that’s a layered material. It has great features—for example, it’s blast- and forced-entry rated—but the material itself is more expensive, and much more difficult to fabricate. The added weight means you need to beef up walls and counters, and make special arrangements to bring the material in and position it. Two guys aren’t going to put a thousand pound window in place on their own. Going up to Level 8 drives up labor costs significantly.”

Ballistic Barriers for Recruiting Offices

Recruiting offices pose a special challenge, and are an excellent example of how TSS excels at both ballistic design and the art of the deal. According to Bob George, “The problem is that a lot of recruiting offices aren’t owned by the armed services.” In some cases TSS has been able to work with the landlords, and switched out the storefronts, replacing the existing display windows with bullet resistant glass-clad polycarbonate and appropriate bullet resistant frames. In other cases, either the landlord has proven uncooperative, or an impending move has ruled out retrofitting the building itself. “For those cases, we’ve developed a mobile barrier solution. We’ve done a number of these for the Navy, who’ve really liked the design.”


TSS’s custom mobile barriers offer a great deal of flexibility: They significantly heighten security, can be fabricated from a mix of transparent and opaque materials, can be quickly broken down and moved to a new location, and then secured in place with minimal impact to the structure itself.

This is a great solution because it solves all of the problems: Security is increased, staff can do their job without added hassles, and all of the stakeholders are satisfied with the outcome.


Police Checklist


Intro to Bullet Resistant Barriers for Government Projects http://www.tssbulletproof.com/intro-bullet-resistant-barriers-government-projects/ Wed, 04 May 2016 19:59:45 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15150 [...]

exterior police stationGovernment facilities at every level—from State Department outposts to local municipal utility offices—need to increase security. This is especially the case for agencies whose mission includes public outreach or demands frequent interactions with the public at large. As one Total Security Solutions municipal client noted, “You just don’t know what’s going to happen… Once you get them [the staff] behind a bullet resistant barrier, you feel a lot better about their safety.”

UL Levels for Government Offices and Facilities

Bullet proof materials are rated according to a set of standards set by Underwriters Laboratory (i.e., UL-752). These generally designate the minimum number of bullets of a given caliber the material will stop when fired on from a given distance and angle, with a specific grouping and placement of shots (for example, assuring that the edges of a material perform as well as the center, and so on). Both individual materials and complete components and sub-systems are tested by OSHA-designated nationally recognized testing laboratories (NRTLs) to make sure they perform according to the appropriate UL standard.

Learning that a Level 3 door is rated to stop three shots from a .44 Magnum, the next logical question is usually along the lines of: “So the forth bullet just pops right through?”

Fortunately, the answer is “Not a chance.” Competent bullet proof companies drastically over-engineer their systems and components. For example, you’ll note in the following video that this Level 2 door (rated to stop three rounds from a .357 Magnum pistol) actually catches more than 100 shots from a variety of handguns and assault rifles, without a single bulge on the protected side.

Bullet Resistant “Glass” Isn’t Glass

At one time “bullet proof glass” was indeed made from thick panes of layered, laminated glass. Many government agencies still request glass windows, because of the perception that glass shows less wear and tear.

Today, almost all “bullet proof glass” is made from solid or layered plastics (usually acrylic for lower-level installation, and layers of laminated polycarbonate and glass for situations requiring protection from blasts or higher calibers). Although some care has to be shown in cleaning these plastics, the advantages offered by modern thermoplastics—which transmit light better than comparable bullet-resistant glass products, are highly durable, and cost much less to fabricate and install—make it a clear winner for almost all government installation.

Government Bullet Resistant Barriers and Clear Communication

Government agencies dealing with the public have both a greater need for ballistic security, and a profound sensitivity to the impact their offices have on citizen perception of government. TSS keeps the balance of security and accessibility top-of-mind with every ballistic barrier they design for a government facility.

Although small local government offices can occasionally get by with a single-piece transaction window or transaction door (like the one shown below), most will need a custom fabricated barrier.

Transaction Door 1

A fabricated barrier can take any number of forms, from a guard booth or security checkpoint to a building-wide security and access control system. TSS finds that most publicly facing government offices need a transaction line (like what you find in a bank), and tend to favor baffle or arched windows, which assure very clear communication.

This renovation of the San Francisco Passport Office is a perfect example of semi-private stations with arch windows.image11 image7 (1)

Despite the size of the facility—almost two dozen stations, and waiting-room seating to accommodate dozens of families—such a design creates a sense of privacy for clients handling sensitive documents or situations. It also permits exceptionally clear voice transmission and an unobstructed view of the face, all of which contribute to clearer communication and a better customer experience.

The Paramount Sheriff’s Station (shown below) is a good example of a smaller fabricated barrier system relying on baffle windows:


Note that the baffle design allows for excellent communication while maintaining long, totally undistorted sightliness.

Guideline for Government Ballistic Barriers

In general, most government facilities—regardless of their locale or business—need Level 3 ballistic barriers. These are a good investment, and offer the right balance of security and convenience. Some highly sensitive military or Defense Department sites might call for systems as high as Level 5, but even that is extremely rare. Going higher is virtually unheard of with domestic bullet resistant barriers.


Make or Break Project

Architecture Facilitates Learning http://www.tssbulletproof.com/architecture-facilitates-learning/ Wed, 27 Apr 2016 17:14:49 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15156 [...]

Changes are happening in schools across America, with the biggest focus on security. Schools are working to be more proactive in preventing violence. Many schools have installed entryway vestibules outfitted with bulletproof glass to control access to the building. They are also implementing new training programs, such as ALICE, to better prepare teachers and staff in the event of an active shooter. And while security will remain—and should remain—a priority in the design and construction of K-12 schools, there is a lot of innovation to highlight in other areas of the design of primary and secondary education buildings.

Design to Promote Collaboration

There has been a trend in office environments toward open work spaces and impromptu meeting zones, providing a more relaxed environment for small groups to collaborate. A variety of furniture styles, from standing height tables to couches, offers flexibility for a quick pow-wow or a “get comfortable, this could take a while” brainstorm session. More recently, this shift in thinking has been applied to the design of primary and secondary education school buildings as well.

millbrookj2ndflprojectareaIn 2012, HMFH Architects unveiled three new elementary schools in Concord, New Hampshire, focused on providing adaptive, accessible, collaborative spaces. Featuring bold colors and ample natural light, the design includes a two-story learning corridor that houses an amphitheater, as well as spaces for art projects, group discussions, story-telling and individual reading. Where physical boundaries were necessary, glazing was utilized as much as possible to maintain a sense of openness and community.

Situated among a grove of big-leaf maples, Carl Sandburg Elementary in Kirkland, Washington took advantage of its surrounding environment and created collaboration spaces and areas of learning, including raised plant beds, outside. Expansive windows flank all sides of the school connecting the interior building space with the outside landscape, creating a park-like environment. Small groups of three or four classrooms are clustered around a central open space which provides flexibility for students and teachers to work individually or in small groups.

The notion of collaborative learning is becoming increasingly popular in primary and secondary education. Schools are moving away from teacher-centric learning highlighted by long lectures and moving toward more active learning, where students work in small groups to learn hands-on and serve both as the student and teacher. This trend is further facilitated by the architecture of the school buildings. A move toward more open spaces encourages this type of learning.

Photo courtesy of www.archdaily.com


Make or Break Project

School Security and Access Control for Architects http://www.tssbulletproof.com/school-security-access-control-architects/ Wed, 20 Apr 2016 20:20:06 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15101 [...]

two story school building with many windowsWhile most school architects are fairly well versed in CPTED (crime prevention through environmental design), many are fairly new to bullet resistant materials and design.  With active shooter scenarios increasingly top-of-mind for education clients considering new construction and renovations, now is a good time to spend a few minutes coming up to speed.

A School Architect’s Introduction to Bullet Resistant Materials and Barrier Systems

At one time “bullet proof glass” was indeed made from thick panes of layered, laminated glass.  Today, almost all “bullet proof glass” is made from solid or layered plastics (usually acrylic for solid windows, and layers of polycarbonate and glass for laminated glazing).

More importantly, the “bullet proof windows” that most clients fixate on are a relatively small part of the barrier, which is an integrated system consisting of:

  1. bullet resistant windows and framing
  2. bullet resistant doors
  3. bullet resistant fiberglass to reinforce surrounding counters and walls
  4. some form of communications system

The communications system can be as simple as the voice portal and backer in a bus-station ticket window, or may include multiple sub-systems: an intercom, a deal tray for passing papers, a bullet resistant drawer or passers for larger items, etc.

For best results–in terms of aesthetics, usability, and security–every bullet resistant barrier should be treated as a custom job.  Every piece of the system needs to seamlessly integrate with both the other elements of the barrier system and with the existing structure, mechanicals, building use patterns, and so on.

Bullet proof materials are rated according to a set of standards set by Underwriters Laboratory (i.e., UL-752).  Both individual materials and complete components and sub-systems are tested by OSHA-designated nationally recognized testing laboratories (NRTL) in order to confirm they perform according to the appropriate UL standard.

Best Practices in School Bulletproof Barrier Systems

For most schools, the best security solution is a bullet resistant vestibule entryway system with integrated access control.  These systems are a fairly straightforward example of CPTED, and can almost always be easily retrofit into existing buildings, or worked into new construction with few alterations.

As Bob George, Total Security Solutions sales manager, explains: “We do our best work when we connect with architects early on in the design process.  The best case scenario is when we can get in there early to help with design recommendations, and guide the school officials toward a good solution.”

Schools often come in initially asking about very extensive Level 5 to 8 systems (which explicitly address the threat of high-powered ammunition and assault weapons).  A level 5 to 8 system would likely include blast-rated and bullet resistant exterior windows capable of stopping very powerful ammunition and blasts, bullet proof doors throughout the facility, and so on.

Such high-level systems are prohibitively expensive, and also entirely unnecessary: Most schools are very well served with a Level 1 hardened entryway with access control.  There are two reasons for this.  First and foremost, the primary goals of a barrier system in a school are deterrence and delay. Anything that gives an active shooter pause or makes him think twice about his actions is often sufficient to prevent an attack.  If that deterrence fails, then simply slowing an attack can buy enough time for first responders to successfully intercede before anyone is injured.

Second, top-tier bullet proof companies like TSS over-engineer their systems and materials as a mater of course.  For example, you’ll note in the following video that the Level 2 door at 1:35 is rated to stop three shots from a .357 Magnum, yet stops five with no problem.  Likewise, the Level 3 window at 2:59 is rated for three shots from .44 Mag, but stops 13, while the Level 3 door shown at 4:17–likewise rated to stop three shots from a .44 Magnum–actually catches 115 shots from a variety of handguns and assault rifles without a single bulge on the protected side.

Access Control and School Security

Access control is an especially important–and often tricky–aspect of a school’s bullet resistant barrier.  Over the last several years a large portion of schools have adopted security procedures that include locking doors during schools hours.  Unfortunately, locked doors slow first responders during an emergency.  While active shooter events are top-of-mind, it’s much more likely that an in-school emergency will be related to a fire, extreme weather, or something as mundane as a child having a bad allergic reaction or being injured in gym class.  All of these require quick access to the building.  Modern access control systems–including centrally controlled electric strikes–are a great improvement over older key-and-lock systems.  They offer many administrative advantages, in addition to speeding entry for emergency responders.

TSS is sensitive to how a design must balance access control and accessibility, especially in schools, where National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) egress codes, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and International Fire Code can all come into play.

“We can work with any mix of access control and accessibility requirements,” Bob George notes.  “We always build to suit, and have lots of experience prepping doors for specialized hardware, as well as installing basic electric strikes, magnetic locks, panic bars–all the standard pieces for access control.  More importantly, as Eric [Malzahn] said, TSS works with other security vendors as equals to get the job done right.  That includes working with access control specialists to get all the details right for a complex access control system.”


Bulletproof Glass History

Schools Used as Polling Locations Face Safety Concerns http://www.tssbulletproof.com/schools-polling-locations-face-safety-concerns/ Thu, 14 Apr 2016 15:47:07 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15074 [...]

vote sign on fence outside of buildingIf you voted during your state’s 2016 presidential primaries, chances are you did so at a public school building. Schools are low cost, spacious and accessible, making them desirable polling locations for about a quarter of the United States.

However, for the past several years there has been growing concern expressed by parents as well as school officials about safety. By opening up the building to the public, schools are compromising their usual safety protocol and thus creating an opportunity for danger. Allowing voters to flow freely through the building during elections has enraged many parents, who, must produce identification at the front office, sign in, and wear a visitor badge just to volunteer in their own children’s classrooms on a normal school day.

And with record turnout expected for this year’s presidential election, the conversation is heating up again.

Potential dangers of opening a school to voters could include everything from thousands of strangers in the building to increased car traffic in the parking lots and neighborhoods surrounding schools. Rarer, but still a threat, is the potential for non-custodial parents to use the chaos of election day as an opportunity to access their children.

Some districts, like East Peoria Illinois are combining precincts and moving polling locations out of schools and churches to reduce risk.

How To Keep School Buildings Secure During Elections

In the wake of recent active shooter incidents, many schools have already increased their day-to-day security measures. Here are some specific tactics used by schools  that double as polling locations during elections:

  • Police or security presence
  • Access control
  • Isolating voter traffic away from students
  • Combining several precincts into one location (eliminating the need for so many school buildings)

Those who feel that voting at public school locations is a non-issue cite the fact that there has never been an incident that threatened students or staff safety during an election. Additionally, many fear that the cost of elections will increase, and voter turnout may decrease if polling locations are moved out of schools and into to alternative spaces such as fire halls, churches and civic centers.

The easiest solution to this issue, (and the one favored by students everywhere) is what many school districts around the country have already begun doing: canceling classes on election days and instead making them an in-service day for staff. This has inspired parents in some districts to start petitions to move locations out of their schools.

However, by holding more elections outside of school buildings and/or canceling classes, some argue that we will lose an opportunity to for kids to witness one of the greatest privileges of living in this country: the right to vote. Whatever the solution, most people agree that student safety should be prioritized over voter convenience. 

Next Steps:

Ballistic Door Checklist

Active Shooter Management in Schools: Deter and Delay http://www.tssbulletproof.com/active-shooter-management-schools-deter-delay/ Thu, 07 Apr 2016 20:16:14 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15104 [...]

empty high school hallway with doors shutIn his years collaborating with school administrators, superintendents, facility managers, security personal, districts, and their security consultants, Total Security Solutions Sales Manager Bob George has found that school security is a matter of balancing security, accessibility, and budget—especially in light of the growing importance of active shooter management.

“Barrier-free” Bullet Resistant Barriers

Schools need to be able to serve every member of their community.  The bullet resistant barrier simply cannot create a barrier to any legitimate visitor, regardless of that person’s mobility.  A bullet resistant vestibule entryway system with an integrated advanced access control system is a flexible solution ideal for schools.  Such systems increase security, deter a wide variety of disruptions (from rowdy students and vandals to armed attackers), and still meet the expectations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and school-specific sections of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) egress codes.

Bob George notes, “Our doors are built with continuous hinges and heavy-duty closers, so their added weight isn’t an issue for younger or less mobile individuals.  But we’ve built systems with automatic closers, and even sliding doors to meet accessibility needs.  We’re also tuned in to access issues at schools—what with student arrival and dismissal, special events, maintenance crews, teachers and other workers traveling between buildings, and the like.  We’ve partnered with access control specialists to seamlessly integrate existing intercoms and Aiphone systems, keycards, and PIN pads.  If a school has an access control system that works for them, we can integrate it.  If they need to upgrade their access control, we can help them do that, too.”

Designing for Active Shooter Management: Deter and Delay

One of the Department of Homeland Security’s top recommendations for preventative active shooter management is access control. As we’ve mentioned on this blog in the past, the threat landscape for schools—especially rural and suburban schools—continues to evolve, as have have procedures among law enforcement and first responders.  In most areas, if an active shooter can be slowed by just 20 seconds, law enforcement will have the time they need to lock down the scene and neutralize the threat.

“We’ve heard it time and again at the Homeland Security conferences,” Bob George explains, “If you can slow down that shooter just 20 to 30 seconds, or make sure the first shot is fired outside the school or in the entryway, that makes a big difference for first responders.”

Managing Costs while Increasing Security

TSS is especially sensitive to budgetary concerns.  “I really try to go above and beyond, and really walk people through the numbers,” Bob George explains.  “A lot of times a school comes to us requesting a really high level of ballistic security—they come in at Level 8 or Level 5, when Level 1 is sufficient.  Level 8, Level 5, These are very, very expensive systems.  But [TSS CEO] Jim [Richards] is big on selling people what they can afford.  He’s not the type of owner that ever wants to gouge anybody.  So I walk through the products with the client, listen to their requirements, and customize our recommendation to that.”

TSS is always able to furnish a bid well in advance, in order to assist groups working to secure funds, like those available through FEMA’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) and Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP).

“We’re all families here with kids.  We totally see that schools are incredibly challenging places to work.  We really want to reduce that challenge level.  If we can make this one part work perfectly—keeping everyone safe without getting in anyone’s way—that really means a lot to us.”



Make or Break Project

Premium Ballistic Frames Offer Huge Boosts in Sustainability and Multi-Threat Risk Mitigation http://www.tssbulletproof.com/premium-ballistic-frames-offer-huge-boosts-sustainability-multi-threat-risk-mitigation/ Thu, 31 Mar 2016 12:35:32 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15020 [...]

Client performance goals continue to evolve, growing more complex every year.  At one time, a client was either very concerned with security, or very concerned with sustainability. It was rare for a client to be equally concerned with both.

But the increasing need for ballistic materials in all sorts of construction has collided with the increased stringency of building codes, specifications, and energy performance standards.  Old-line ballistic framing systems—which are still the industry standard—are simplistic.  They are fabricated from a grab-bag of materials to a variety of standards.  Many aren’t even UL-rated to stop bullets. Instead, they are cobbled together from standard aluminum frames packed with chunks of bullet resistant fiberglass glued in place.  Enhanced R-values, thermal breaks, gas fills, and  insulation are just not an option with traditional bullet resistant window and door frames.

Today, advancements in designs and fabrication techniques have resulted in not only standard, true UL-rated door and window frame systems, but also premium systems offering new levels of thermal and ballistic performance.

Thermally Enhanced High-Security Ballistic Door and Window Frame Systems

A security-conscious end-user might be interested in earning a LEED Platinum certificate, or might be passionate about daylighting, or might just want to keep the energy bills down—in any case, having a solid aluminum frame conducting heat directly through the building envelope doesn’t serve any of those goals.  The TSS Thermal Frame System does.

“We developed this ballistic frame system specifically because architects were asking for it,” Jim Richards, CEO of Total Security Solutions (TSS), explains. “I don’t know if you know, but buildings use more than half the energy on earth.”

As one architect recently put it “for all practical purposes, all other issues are subservient to sustainability now.”   That’s been beyond challenging with old-style exterior bullet resistant windows, since the windows themselves are solid—no gas fills—and the frames are rarely built with any sort of thermal break.  For example, here’s a cross-section of a traditional window frame:

Cross section close up of a bullet resistant window frame

The old-style frames are solid steel or aluminum members all the way around the window or door, penetrating the exterior wall. As Jim Richards is quick t point out, Think about what that means in certain regions of the United States:  In the summer it could be in the 90s, and in the winter it could be 30 below, but the inside of that building is always 72 degrees with 40 percent humidity.  Your HVAC is fighting heat leaking in all summer, heat leaking out all winter.  You’re not just going to have cold spots and drafts.  You’re going to get condensation, even frost.”

TSS’s thermally improved, Kevlar-reinforced bullet resistant exterior aluminum door and window frame system is calculated to optimize R value, given the needs of a bullet resistant materials.  It offers bullet resistance up through UL Level 8, and can accommodate a wide variety of acrylic, polycarbonate, and laminated bullet resistant glazings.  “It’s an enormous performance boost, in terms of energy, and ballistic—a true ‘best of both worlds’ scenario.”

All-in-One Multi-Threat Ballistic Window Frames

“This isn’t your everyday, run-of-the-mill frame,” Jim says of the TSS AIO (All-In-One) Frame.  The AIO is a modular, multi-threat glazing frame optimized for higher-threat situations, especially government applications.  It can accept any glazing between .75 and 2.5 inches thick—that’s everything from UL Level 1 acrylic (i.e., which stops three shots from a .9mm pistol) to Level 8 glass-clad polycarbonate (for blocking full-auto bursts from assault rifles).  The frame itself is rated through Level 8, and also has forced entry and blast-resistance characteristics.  The AIO Frame has a broad security and safety profile that encompasses all sorts of threats to life and property, from break-ins and riots to lone gunmen, terror attacks, and even extreme weather.

Rather than using a lighter aluminum backed with strips of Kevlar-based fiberglass paneling, Jim and his team opted for all-aluminum construction and a design that takes full advantage of the edge-on resilience of the glazing itself.  The front-wall of this frame is hearty enough to deflect most calibers, and designed to capture and hold any high-power rounds that do penetrate the frame itself.

Of course, not every job calls for premium ballistic door and window frames.   TSS continues to offer their full line of standard UL-rated and non-rated frames to meet your client’s performance goals.

Next Steps:

Make or Break Project

Chinese Ban “Weird Architecture” http://www.tssbulletproof.com/chinese-ban-weird-architecture/ Wed, 23 Mar 2016 15:10:11 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15032 [...]

Recently, we posted a blog on novelty architecture, which is classified as buildings that are unusually shaped to deliberately draw attention, typically for the purpose of advertising. The topic caught our attention after the completion of Taiwan’s giant glass high heel worship center, which could definitely be clumped into the “weird architecture” category. It was intentionally designed with a feminine appeal in the hopes that it would become a conversation piece and draw women to host their wedding ceremonies onsite.

Growing Trend Toward “Weird Architecture”

Blue Horseshoe Shaped Building in ChinaWeird, over-sized, dramatic architecture isn’t isolated to Taiwan, however. While examples can be found right here in the United States, China has been at the forefront of building it bigger and better with its glass walkways, doughnut-shaped Sheraton hotel and internationally recognized Bird’s Nest, aka Beijing National Stadium, from the 2008 Olympics. While the Bird’s Nest is still a popular tourist attraction, it has been met with criticism because of its high cost to maintain ($11 million a year) and lack of profit-generating events. In addition, China is home to the CCTV Headquarters building, nicknamed locally as “big pants” and several copycat buildings, including more than ten White Houses and even an Eiffel Tower.

It is these very examples of “weird architecture,” among others, that has pushed the State Council in China to put a halt to such creativity, banning outlandish architecture “that lacks cultural tradition.” They have even put a restriction on gated communities stating that they will be opened up to better streamline traffic flow.

Evolution of Chinese Architecture

Chinese architecture has definitely evolved over the years. Classical Chinese architecture is characterized by balance with the entryway centered and symmetrical wings. There is less emphasis on height, focusing instead on the visual width of a structure with over-sized roofs and platforms, downplaying the vertical walls. Modern examples of Chinese architecture, however, are more abstract and built on a much larger scale with a trend toward form over function.

While the idea of architecture that is “suitable, economic, green and pleasing to the eye,” sounds reasonable, many of these terms are subjective leaving the future of Chinese architecture somewhat questionable.


Photo courtesy of city.0932.ru

Make or Break Project

The 10 Most Secure Locations in the United States http://www.tssbulletproof.com/10-secure-locations-united-states/ Fri, 18 Mar 2016 14:36:43 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=14928 [...]


Special security features, like precision temperature control, armed guards and 25-ton nuclear blast doors are part of everyday operations for the world’s most secure locations. Trying to get into (or out of) these modern day fortresses without permission would require the prowess and high tech tools of James Bond, Jason Bourne and Ethan Hunt combined (cue Mission Impossible theme).

U.S. Bullion Depository viewed from road at Fort Knox Kentucky

1. U.S. Bullion Depository (Kentucky)

Located at the U.S. Army Base at Fort Knox Kentucky, the United States Bullion Depository vault contains a large supply of gold. Not even Congress is allowed to access or open the vaults at Fort Knox. This lack of transparency has lead some to speculate that there might not be any gold in Ft Knox. Several important historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence,and the Magna Carta were temporarily stored at Fort Knox, as well as stranger things like massive amounts of opium and morphine during the Cold War. The roof is bomb proof, the doors are drill, torch and explosive proof.


Federal Reserve Bank of New York top of building

2. Federal Reserve Bank (New York)  

You’ll have to go underground—80 feet below street level to be exact—to access the main vault of the Federal Reserve Bank. This is assuming that you can get past the expertly trained marksman guarding the perimeter. The Federal Reserve is reported to store twenty-five percent of the world’s gold.



Tunnel leading into Cheyenne Mountain

3. Cheyenne Mountain (Colorado)

Cheyenne Mountain references appear in films such as Terminator, Dr. Strangelove, War Games, and the TV series Star Gate. This nuclear bunker is on the Colorado Springs Air Force Base and houses partial operations for the North American Aerospace Defense Command  (NORAD). Other tenants include U.S. Strategic Command, Air Force Space Command, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the Missile Defense Agency. Originally intended to protect us from the Russians during the Cold War era, it is fortified with 25-ton blast doors.

Supermax prison, Florence Colorado

4. ADX Florence Prison (Colorado)

Home to the baddest of the bad, including Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and “shoe bomber” Richard Reid, this super-max prison is nicknamed the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.” Inmates are kept in solitary confinement twenty-three hours a day. Security features include motion detecting laser beams, pressure pads, loads of cameras and attack dogs lining the prison walls.

warning signs outside of Area 51 in Nevada

5. Area 51 (Nevada)

As they say on the X-Files, the “truth is out there.” The truth about Area 51: it’s a detachment of Edwards Air Force base, is protected by a no-fly zone, and is patrolled regularly by low-flying black helicopters. Otherwise, what goes on there is open to speculation. Conspiracy theories persist that the government hides aliens there. More likely—it’s a testing ground for weapons and experimental aircraft. But don’t fly your drone near Area 51 to sneak a peek, the government just issued a ban on that last month.

Iron Mountain tunnel entrance

6. Iron Mountain (Pennsylvania)

What was once a limestone mine is now  a 1.7 million square feet storage locker that contains anything from master recordings and original film reels of famous songs and movies to Thomas Edison’s patent for the light bulb. Bill Gates, for instance, stores his photography collection in one of Iron Mountain’s climate controlled, underground caves.

Church of Latter Day Saints Conference Center theater

7. Granite Mountain Records Vault (Utah)

The vault at Granite Mountain was built by the LDS Church to protect billions of genealogical records, documents and photos of family history on microfilms. The church recently allowed items to be shared publicly. In 2014, it opened the vault and began the process of digitizing fifty years’ worth of records. Inside the mountain you’ll find guarded steel and concrete lined tunnels, banks of metal storage cabinets and nuclear blast-resistant doors.

Aerial view of the Pentagon, Arlington, VA

8. The Pentagon (Washington, D.C.)

Home to the US Department of Defense, this five-story building is huge (6,500,000 sq ft), extremely secure and provides office space for more than 23,000 employees, both civilian and military. A month after the September 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon, a renovation, known as The Phoenix Project, was commissioned and was completed in February of 2003. The renovation included safety upgrades as well as moving the Defense Department’s command centers to the basement.

Aerial view of CIA Headquarters in Virginia

9. CIA Headquarters (Virginia)

In addition to being out-of-the-way, CIA headquarters is only accessible with proper credentials, by appointment, and can only be approached by an authorized vehicle via private road. Good to know if you do visit: They have a Starbucks. This is a nice perk for employees who can’t unwind by looking out a window (most offices don’t have them) or playing Candy Crush on their cell phones (not allowed in the building).

Air Force One flying over Mt. Rushmore

10. Air Force One (Wherever it wants)

Air Force One is not technically a building, but it is the world’s most secure movable location. It made our list because it can refuel in flight, fly through irradiated zones, jam radar, and fire flares to throw heat seeking missiles off course. The rest of the safety features onboard this aircraft are classified.

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