Share this Post
Each July, Total Security Solutions vice president Jim Richards finds himself talking to municipalities. As they approach the end of their fiscal year, these government units discover that they have room left in their budgets that can be applied to long overdue capital improvements. Now is the time to act if you have a fiscal deadline to beat. In order to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible, you should be ready to answer the following questions in detail.
What Does Your Ballistic Barrier Need to Accomplish?
Think of this in terms of security level, size, type of office, and workflow.
- Security Level: Most municipalities end up with a Level 3 bullet proof system, which will stop at least three shots from any handgun up to a .44 Magnum. If exterior windows are also being reinforced, those will likely need to be Level 4 ballistic polycarbonate (capable of stopping a shot from a high-powered rifle)—but that’s relatively rare in municipal buildings.
- Size: The dimensions and layout of the office, number of entryways, number of rooms, etc.
- Type of Office: Clerks, cashiers, treasurers, utilities, and vital records offices are common candidates for enhanced security.
- Workflow: What tasks must workers accomplish? Do they receive or pay out even small sums of cash? Do they need to pass paperwork or packages, or accept deliveries? How many, how often, and how large?
Workflow is, by far, the most important question, and the one that new clients tend to give the least thought. “I hate to say this,” Jim confides, “but it’s rare that municipalities talk to a bullet proof designer early enough in the process. I deal with a lot of architects, and if they don’t work with bullet proof materials all the time, they tend to just treat it as a drop-in-place solution, without getting a clear sense of the office’s workflow.”
The result is a system that’s constantly in the worker’s way: Cash trays too shallow to pass file folders, or a voice-transmission system that won’t work in a noisy lobby. When security gets in the way, workers bypass it. Partnering with a bullet proof designer early means you’ll end up with a system that stays out of the way, so that workers don’t end up compromising the security in order to get the job done.
What Is Your Bullet Proof System Budget?
Jim is blunt: “Some people have grand ideas, but hardly any money to spend. Even with a tight budget, you can still get a lot of security—taking advantage of the building itself, reinforcing existing walls and counters with bullet proof fiberglass—but it will be different than what you could do with a larger budget. We can work within your budget, and find a good fit between what you need and what you’ve got.”
- Review our checklist about security for municipal buildings
- Sign up for our TSS News & Solutions for Architects newsletter to stay updated on bulletproof security
- Check out our Free Bulletproof Glass Resource Center to guide your project