Tips on Bullet Proofing a Commercial Building

By November 27, 2020Blog

Many types of commercial buildings can benefit from implementing bullet resistant security measures to protect against gun crime and active shootings. Corporate offices, government facilities, schools, and retail stores are just a few examples.

Before reading any further, it’s important that we make it clear that there is no way to make a building truly 100% bulletproof, and there is no such thing as 100% bulletproof glass.

That being said, there are materials that are bullet-resistant that can be used to greatly improve the security of any commercial facility — not only against ballistic attacks, but also from other common threats like burglary, smash-and-grab theft, and civil unrest (i.e. rioting and looting).

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How to Improve a Commercial Building’s Bullet Resistance and Security

Using Bullet Resistant Glass Products to Improve Overall Safety

Conduct a Threat Assessment

An on-site threat assessment is always the first step to take towards improving your commercial facility’s security to protect against ballistic attacks and other threats. During such an assessment, a professional security consultant will conduct a walk-through of your property as well as discuss your specific concerns with you.

This on-site assessment allows an expert to inspect any existing security measures you have in place, identify gaps and vulnerabilities in your building’s current system, and make recommendations for implementing an overall plan to strengthen your facility’s defenses.

The security expert’s threat assessment will typically include recommendations on bullet resistant glass placement and some suggestions, with your feedback, on what ballistic ratings you should consider for the location of each ballistic barrier.

Key goals of a threat assessment:

  • Evaluate threats and vulnerabilities
  • Determine the best solutions for your business
  • Make recommendations on glass types and placement

Understand Ballistic Glass Ratings

Bullet resistant glass comes in a range of ballistic ratings, meaning that different types of security glass (and glass-like products like polycarbonate and acrylic panels) are designed to withstand different numbers of impacts from different calibers of bullets.

For example, our ArmorPlast 75 ballistic grade polycarbonate sheet meets the UL 752 Level 1 rating for 9mm ballistic attacks. Our highest level of bullet resistant polycarbonate, the ArmorPlast 125MS, has a UL 752 Level 6 rating, which means it can hold up to a high-velocity, multi-round 9mm attack (e.g. from an Uzi submachine gun).

Different types of commercial buildings face other threats, so it’s essential to consider the ballistic ratings to choose the best security glass products for your needs. For instance, an office building might be a good candidate for materials with a UL 752 ballistic rating of Levels 1-3, whereas a high-security government facility might require something of Level 4,5, or higher.

Discuss Your Options with Stakeholders

If you’re the sole business owner or property owner, then it’s just up to you to select the reinforcement options that make the most sense to you. However, in many cases, there are other stakeholders, such as a whole C-suite team, building owners, security personnel, and more.

Before you go ahead and implement new safety measures to make your commercial facility more bullet-resistant, ensure that every stakeholder has had a chance to review the threat assessment and discuss the recommendations.

Getting everyone on board with your decisions will not only help ensure that you have the funding you need to implement effective security upgrades, but also that you’re opting for solutions that will work for everyone in the building.

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Install Bullet Resistant Glass and Other Components

After you’ve settled on the upgrades that you’re going to make to your building, it’s time to actually install the components of your new system. In order for your new system to be safe and effective, it’s very important to work with a contractor who specializes in security.

Things to look for in a contractor:

  • Proven track record in glass security
  • Conducts threat assessments (or works with outside consultants)
  • Variety of solutions available
  • Ability to retrofit

Many types of security glass products can be retrofitted onto your existing glass, so your building doesn’t have to undergo an expensive and disruptive glass replacement project. This is the most cost-effective way to reinforce your glass doors and windows.

For example, Riot Glass products can be over-glazed (mounted outside) or back-glazed (mounted inside). Our products are designed to be highly adaptable to the wide variety of framing materials and glass configurations in commercial architecture.

Besides reinforcing your glass, other components you might install include security framing around windows and doors, access control systems, and pass-through windows, trays, or drawers at customer transaction points, and reinforced counters and walls.

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Communicate to Employees and Building Occupants About Changes

Installing new bullet-resistant glass and implementing other security upgrades can raise questions among employees and building occupants about why it’s being done. Make sure to clearly communicate the reasons behind the changes to everyone affected by them.

Tips for communication:

  • Have someone from human resources handle employee communications
  • Work with your corporate team and security personnel to craft communications
  • Make it clear that the changes are proactive and not due to a specific threat
  • Explain that your goal is to improve the overall safety and security of the building
  • Position the project as an investment in your business and its people

Besides physical protection, making a facility more secure should also bring peace of mind. That applies not just to you and stakeholders, but to everyone who comes to work in the building as well, so don’t overlook communication before, during, and after your project.

Ready to Make Your Commercial Facility Bullet Resistant?

Choose Riot Glass for All Your Ballistic Glass Needs

We are a leading manufacturer of security glass products and experts in the installation of ballistic rated glass door and window systems. Our founder has been in the security business for more than 30 years and cares deeply about each and every one of our clients’ safety and well-being.

Contact Riot Glass today to schedule a threat assessment or to learn more about our line of fenestration security products.

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