Most local contractors and glaziers will do an excellent job installing a modern bullet resistant transaction window. But very few have the experience to design one, or the equipment to fabricate its components. In his years of security consulting, Jim Richards has seen countless transaction windows designed and built by local glaziers. While these windows are generally fairly secure, the use of outdated techniques and old-line materials makes for unattractive systems that trip up customers and workers far more often than bandits.
ALL-LAMINATED GLASS BULLETPROOF TRANSACTION WINDOWS
The principal mistake Jim sees glazier make is using laminated glass–instead of modern acrylic or polycarbonate–for the transaction window transparency. Glaziers gravitate towards laminated glass because it is familiar. Many high-rise office buildings require some form of shatter-resistant laminated glass for their upper stories. It’s not uncommon for entertainment-venue ticket windows or large street-level display windows to be made with forced-entry rated laminated glass. And hefty panes of laminated glass–those that are 1.75-inches or thicker–do have respectable bullet resistance. It can be a perfectly serviceable, and often cost-effective, choice for fixed windows.
But the hardness and thickness of bullet resistant laminated glass makes it functionally impossible to cut or drill with any precision. This isn’t an issue when you’re installing office windows, but it becomes a major limitation when you’re building a transaction window, since these require several pieces of transparency to come together and mate with reinforced walls, DuPont™ Kevlar® fiber, steel counters, and secure package passers.
BAD TRANSACTION WINDOW DESIGN
Since drilling and cutting ballistic laminated glass is off the table, it’s simply not possible to build a modern, unobtrusive, high-function bullet resistant transaction window like the one shown above.
“I’ve seen it plenty of times,” Jim Richards explains. “Laminated glass just doesn’t lend itself to these nice round cuts and all the drilling for spacers and baffles. So the glazier–who’s sort of in over his head–comes up with a way to do it that avoids cutting the laminated glass at all costs. You end up with solid panes of glass, and transaction windows with essentially no communication. Yeah, it’ll stop 9mm bullets and .45s, but it also stops communication. Customers end up shouting through the cash tray.” This is more than just a piece of glass: Customers and staff need to be able to easily communicate and exchange items through the barrier. Your transaction window needs to be an integrated system, not just a window.
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