Ballistic glazing isn’t only for stopping bullets. From weather-hardened research stations to zoo and aquarium enclosures, and even novelties like the Grand Canyon Skywalk and Skydeck Ledge viewing platform atop Chicago’s Willis Tower—bullet resistant glass is often relied upon for its strength, durability, transparency, and impact resistance. But it’s challenging material to mill, fabricate, and install with any real finesse. Architects feel very limited in what they can design, because the glazier tells them: “You can have this stuff in any size you want, as long as its a rectangle.”
Designing for Your Challenge
Bullet resistant glass is indeed a challenging material to work with, but the real limitation often is in the bullet proof companies themselves. Most of these companies work in very narrow, predefined niches. Even if they do have the CNC water-jet cutters and expertise needed to fabricate complex shapes or cut large lots of transparency, they may be unwilling to do so because their profit margins are built around cutting out squares, mounting them in steel frames, and shipping them out.
“That’s where we’re different,” explains Total Security Solutions CEO Jim Richards. “We look at everything on a job-by-job basis. We’re able to assess the complexity of a project—even something we’ve never seen before—and figure out where it falls into place. Can we do it? How big of a stretch for us is it? A lot of companies only have specific products that they’ll do. But we don’t specialize in residential or retail banks or schools; we specialize in designing for a situation. You bring us the situation, and we design for it.”
Working with Bullet Proof Materials in Novel Ways
Companies like Total Security Solutions are eager to craft complex solutions to unique design challenges. For example, consider the Texas Blood Box: TSS was in the midst of retrofitting a bullet proof barrier for the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, when the client suddenly realized that their reception area didn’t just handle payments and records, but also blood and organ deliveries. These are transported in coolers three times larger than any of the conventional bullet resistant package passers on the market. Adding to the challenge, organ and blood deliveries need to be handled quickly and carefully, in order to avoid violating medical protocols.
Given the constraints of the space, the items that needed to be passed, and the manner in which they needed to be handled, Total Security Solutions created an entirely custom solution that maintained security and stayed within the programmatic requirements of medical best-practice.
“Situations like this are where we shine: We can design custom installations. Give us what you’re trying to achieve, and what the limitation are, and we can work within those confines. If we can do it, we’ll do it.”
Do you have a design that you’ve been told is too challenging? Give Total Security Solutions a call, and see what can really be done.
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