Every construction project needs to contain costs, but municipal and local government projects are by far the most sensitive. Local media and citizen watchdogs are all too eager to pounce on any irregularity (real or perceived). A company like Total Security Solutions can do a lot to work within your budget–but only if they can guide the design process from the start. This allows them to optimize the design to work within the overall build. As Total Security Solutions vice president Jim Richards points out, “Difficulty of installation really contributes to cost. If you get locked into a design that’s almost impossible to install–well, it can be done, but it’s going to get expensive.”
The Ideal Bullet Proof Design Process for Utility Payment Centers
Over the last few years Total Security Solutions has worked with a variety of utility companies, including large regional power and water utilities. Some of these operate payment centers serving nearly half a million customers–that’s a lot of bills that need to be paid each month, a lot of money changing hands, and a lot of opportunities for something to go wrong.
On the one hand, as a utility’s most public face, the payment center needs to be bright and inviting. On the other hand, that payment center ballistic barrier still must balance security with ease of use. Workers and customers alike want to clearly communicate and quickly conduct their business. Long waits in a dreary utility office are a recipe for lost tempers.
According to Total Security Solutions sales manager Bob George, “Power and water utilities have been ideal partners to work with, because we’ve been able to get in at the ground level and work with them through the entire design phase. These are cases where we literally do everything from the floor to the ceiling.”
For example, many ballistic design firms–even those with advanced fabrication capabilities–are basically just armorers. They can fabricate and install robust bullet resistant barriers, but they are neither equipped nor able to do top-notch finish work. Total Security Solutions is different. They are eager to go beyond just designing, engineering, fabricating, and installing your ballistic components. As shown in these photos, Total Security Solutions can also craft countertops, cabinetry, die walls, workstations, drawers, doors, and so on–all backed with ballistic fiberglass.
“These jobs are very custom.” Bob George explains. “We love them, because we get to show our expertise and full capabilities. When a utility company partners with us early on, we can really positively contribute to the design phase. By working back and forth with the designer hired by the utility company, we’re able to steer them in the right direction to create something secure and attractive that really enhances day-to-day operations.”
The Woes of Guess-and-Check Bullet Proof Design
Unfortunately, the opposite is all too often the case: Utility companies hire architects with limited experience in bullet proof materials and security, and those architects throw some ideas together on their own without consulting experts. The project ends up locked in to a design that is unnecessarily challenging to fabricate and install. As Total Security Solutions vice president Jim Richards points out: “Sometimes the designs are simply impossible because of the constraints set by how bullet proof materials are produced. For example, if the design calls for a 10-foot by 10-foot piece of glass, you might be able to do that in an interior application with quarter-inch or half-inch tempered glass. But with Level 3 glass-clad polycarbonate, that’s 1,600 pounds of glass–three or four times heavier than they expect. It’s a whole different beast.”
Connecting with your bullet proof company early on is the best way to assure you’ll get the highest caliber of design, fit, and finish–without risk of missing deadlines or busting budgets.
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