Because most banks have similar needs—a secured teller line with bullet resistant windows, secured ballistic doors, and bulletproof fiberglass to reinforce counters—many security companies try and push a one-size-fits-all solution.
With decades of experience designing, engineering, fabricating, and installing custom bandit barriers in banks and credit unions, Total Security Solutions knows how rarely this turns out well.
Bullet Proof Barriers Attuned to the Banker’s Needs
“Banks can be pretty ornate, so were used to having to adjust what we do to match a given location.” Total Security Solutions CEO Jim Richards explains, “That’s our speciality, that sort of customization. Even when we’re doing many locations for the same chain, in different parts of the country each office looks a little bit different. It’s like housing, in that it has this regional component. So we don’t try to come up with a single one-size solution we can just keep punching out.”
Total Security Solutions isn’t limited to just shuffling around pre-fabricated pieces. They can customize down to the individual component level: curved ballistic transparency, special communication and ventilation solutions, all-glass and completely custom high-security doors, and so on.
In contrast to many security companies—especially local glazers—Total Security Solutions is sensitive to how important relationships are in banking. Jim puts special emphasis on clear sight lines and communication in such settings. Gina Mims, a facilities manager, recently coordinated with Total Security Solutions to secure several offices for the Health Plan of San Joaquin: “I love the fact that … it doesn’t look like the old school [barrier] with that metal plate [and talk hole]. It all looks very nice. Our buildings, both of them, are very modern, so I wanted to make sure that they stayed along those lines.”
ATMs: An Evolving Security Challenge
ATMs pose obvious risks to customers, both in terms of their physical safety and fraud exposure. They are also proving to be a significant and unpredictable liability to financial institutions. For example, within the last several years European banks have been increasingly plagued by teams of thieves who attack ATMs in the night, flood the machines with a mixture of oxygen and acetylene (gases usually used to fuel welding torches), and then ignite the volatile mixture, blowing the machines open. These attacks don’t just result in significant monetary losses (both in damage to the unit and building, as well as money stolen)—they’re also incredibly dangerous, as you can see here (the ATM is at the far right edge of the frame, in a mostly blue enclosure with a red top half):
This could easily result in injuries not just to the thieves, but also to passersby, staff, and even people in adjacent buildings. Although there have been no reported ATM “gas bombings” in the United States as of yet, the US currently leads the world in losses resulting from insecure ATM locations.
According to Jim Richards, “There are a lot of different ways that ATMs are deployed, but we have yet to see one we couldn’t secure.” In many cases Total Security Solutions favors a design similar to their bulletproof vestibule system used in schools, replacing the outer glass and doors of the ATM vestibule with bullet-resistant transparency and framing, and securing access to the ATM with a ballistic door outfitted with a card swipe-actuated computer-controlled electric strike. “Customers swipe their ATM card to gain access, and then the door latches behind them–just like any other security door. These are really easy retrofits for situations where the ATM is installed in the bank vestibule or outer lobby, but the same idea works with exterior-wall ATMs: You build a bulletproof glass curtain wall around an exterior wall-mounted ATM, with the same sort of card-swipe entry system. What’s key is that this solves both the skimmer/fraud/vandalism problem, as well as protecting customers.”
Painless Bandit Barrier Installation
Most importantly, owing to their decades of experience, Total Security Solutions has optimized their prep, design, fabrication, and installation processes. “It can be two teller stations or 15; we’re able to move on the project as quickly as the operations or facilities manager are ready.”
Bullet resistant barrier system installations are designed to absolutely minimize any business interruptions. Most installations can be completed overnight, with even the most challenging retrofits installed in under a weekend.
“I just returned from see[ing] the install and boy what nice work!” Holly Eades, vice-president of finance for Clark Energy wrote after having several payment offices secured by TSS. “They were here when they said they were going to be, … showed up when they were supposed to, and everything was just as neat as a pin. We were really, really tickled with their work.”
Company: Total Security Solutions Inc
Product: Bullet Resistant Barriers
Ruskin Sunshades offer energy savings by reducing solar heat gained through glazing. With a wide variety of available blade styles and configurations, they also provide aesthetic appeal to the building exterior.
Ruskin Sunshade models include airfoil, louver, tube and eggcrate blade styles. Custom Sunshade designs are also available. Ruskin Sunshades are constructed of extruded and/or formed aluminum components for reduced weight and excellent corrosion resistance. All models are available with a variety of Kynar or Anodize finishes.
Case study: Otterbein University’s STEAM Innovation Center featuring Extech’s Lightwall 3000 series curtain wall system
A State-of-the-Art Renovation in Central Ohio
Project: Otterbein University’s STEAM Innovation Center
Location: Westerville, OH
Architect: Moody Nolan
General Contractor: Corna Kokosing
System: LIGHTWALL 3000
In a world where factory jobs are being replaced with smart technology and globalization has made the manufacturing industry increasingly competitive, Otterbein University saw an opportunity. The plan was to partner with leading organizations from the private and public sectors in central Ohio to build a hands-on curriculum focused on teaching – and innovating – cutting-edge skills in engineering, technology, science, and math. To achieve this, a laboratory that fostered experimentation and possessed state-of-the-art tools was necessary. To further complement the innovative facility, a state-of-the-art architectural design was developed.
The decision was made to renovate an older campus building in time for the 2016 fall semester, and with groundbreaking delayed into early 2016, the project timeline would be tight. Moody Nolan architects had a unique design in mind – a multi-paneled, geometric façade that would deliver daylighting with minimized solar heat gain and glare. Their plan was to use a curtain wall that could incorporate metal, polycarbonate, and glass that delivered diffused daylight with visual clarity in key locations.
EXTECH’s LIGHTWALL 3000 series curtain wall system was selected for the project because it is one of the few that properly accommodates both polycarbonate and glass glazing within the same system. This is accomplished by using deep glazing pockets and low friction gaskets that allow for the thermal movement of polycarbonate, while still providing superior water and air infiltration performance.
To create Moody Nolan’s distinctive geometric design, EXTECH fabricated a new horizontal mullion that allowed for the inclusion of non-continuous vertical framing members. The new mullion “flushed out” the interior surface of the system and allowed it to span up to 8 feet between vertical mullions – typical span lengths are only 4-5 feet. It also allowed for the application of point loads from vertical framing members without additional structural reinforcing - horizontals typically deliver their loads to verticals.
The STEAM Innovation Center’s “wire-cutting” (a technology pun on “ribbon-cutting”) was just in time for Otterbein’s fall semester. All told, the center is a 61,000 square foot building that provides classes and training in areas such as 3D printing, advanced electronics, metal and machinery, and also provides office space for lease. If you would like to learn more about this project or EXTECH's LIGHTWALL 3000, please contact us.
Company: EXTECH/Exterior Technologies, Inc.
Product: Translucent Walls
Say hello to urban solutions
Wherever you look, you will find us. Out of an office window. Walking into a shop. Looking up at an apartment building. Our range of solutions – from curtain walls and windows, to entrances, framing systems and architectural panels – are everywhere you need them to be, offering infinite possibilities in design, development and performance. We are here.
Explore our dynamic array of innovative solutions for new construction and renovation, like the all new MetroView™ window wall. Learn more about Kawneer and Traco windows featuring the high-performing OptiQ™ windows, GLASSvent™ UT windows and the Traco NX-4000 series. Wrap your imagination around the stylish and functional exterior/interior cladding design solutions of Reynobond/Reynolux panels.
ARCHITECTURAL ALUMINUM SYSTEMS | ENTRANCES + FRAMING | CURTAIN WALLS | WINDOWS | ARCHITECTURAL PANELS | INNOVATIVE FINISHES
Company: Kawneer Co., Inc.
Lauded for its use of space and light that includes an eye-catching string of skylights featuring Kalwall translucent sandwich panels, the $44 million student life center at SUNY Cortland is one of the two main winners of the American School and University Magazine’s Educational Interiors Showcase awards.
The SUNY Cortland project, led by Hastings + Chivetta Architects of St. Louis, Mo., was awarded AS&U’s prestigious College Citation by a panel of three judges.
“Great use of space, light, and color,” the judges said. “Aesthetically pleasing and notable. Architecturally outstanding.”
The student life center includes a common area, café, and sports and workout areas. The skylights that feature the Kalwall panels flood the athletics portion of the building in diffuse natural light that spills into the common area. The Kalwall panels also fit into the facility’s design to consume less energy and earn a LEED Gold certification.
“Sustainability and energy efficiency have been at the core of Kalwall for 60 years,” says Amy Keller, one of the principals of Kalwall. “We’re honored educational institutions and other environmentally-conscious organizations continue to utilize Kalwall for their daylighting projects.”
Company: Kalwall Corporation
Major Industries, in conjunction with Greenbuild 2016, announced the release of a new line of Auburn® single slope skylights. These new high-performance glass skylights feature thermal strut technology for enhanced thermal performance, including better condensation resistance. These new Auburn® skylights are available in a variety of custom sizes and configurations, with custom finish options and more, and will also soon be available to purchase online at shopmajorskylights.com in select standard sizes.
Easy to install high performance glass skylights
Auburn® glass single slope skylights have always been a dependable, low-maintenance daylighting solution, but Major Industries has enhanced these versatile skylights with thermal strut technology for enhanced thermal performance and improved condensation resistance. Now you can get the best of both worlds - energy-saving daylighting and a glass skylight with performance designed to handle any environment.
Auburn® self-flashing single slope skylights are available with a variety of glass configurations and numerous finish color options from anodized to Kynar®.
Features & benefits
- THERMAL STRUT TECHNOLOGY provides improved thermal performance and condensation resistance
- DESIGNED for smaller openings up to 25 square feet
- TESTED to ASTM E283/330/331 standards
- .27 - .29 center of glass u-factor with SHGC of .22-.39 (varies with glazing selection - check with Major for additional options)
- PRE-ASSEMBLED options available for quicker lead times and simple installation
Company: Major Industries Inc.
Total Security Solutions is dedicated to producing high-quality bullet-resistant products that effectively secure your company’s most valuables assets, from the employees behind the counter to the cash in the drawer. We manufacture our bulletproof barriers in-house to stringent specifications, the most demanding in the industry, guaranteeing superior quality. In addition, all of our system components pass rigorous testing, often conducted by multiple standards agencies, including UL (Underwriter’s Laboratory).
Security Ratings for Bulletproof Systems
Security levels for bullet-resistant systems have been established by UL, the primary testing organization for materials used in these systems. There are eight levels of bullet resistance for bulletproof glass. These ratings are designated by the UL to determine the type of protection each level offers. They conduct extensive tests on bullet-resistant glass, which determines what kinds of firearms each can withstand. The most basic protection comes with levels one and two where you’re protecting yourself from small caliber handguns all the way up to level eight glass that protects against assault weapons.
We’re confident that our bulletproof barriers will not be compromised by the type of projectiles they are rated to withstand, ensuring the safety of your employees. But when you’re the employee standing behind the bullet resistant glass during an armed robbery, it can often be difficult to trust your life to the protection of something you can see through. Watch as we test components of our bullet-resistant barrier systems, including bulletproof glass with UL rating from 1 through 4, as well as UL Level 8.
Custom Bulletproof Systems
We can work with you to design a custom bulletproof security system that meets your unique facility needs, from a high profile ballistic barrier for additional deterrent factor to a more low profile solution that seamlessly integrates with the aesthetics of your facility without compromising protection. If you’re a business owner who’s already chosen to install a bulletproof barrier in your facility, then you’re probably aware of how security products can contribute to maintaining consistent operations and a profitable revenue stream, as well as a greatly reduced risk of armed robbery.
While bullet-resistant barriers are often enough of a deterrent to prevent a robbery, for the sake of your employees, you should feel confident in the performance of your system during a actual event. We can work with you to determine what level of bullet resistance your facility requires as well as provide tips on developing a comprehensive security plan, of which bulletproof barriers are just one component.
Company: Total Security Solutions Inc
Ace Hotel New Orleans restores historic Art Deco exterior and updates performance with Winco Windows finished by Linetec
Opened in March 2016, Ace Hotel New Orleans has transformed the 1928 Art Deco, nine-story Barnett’s Furniture building into a 234-room boutique hotel with dining, retail, event and meeting spaces plus a rooftop pool. The 184,000-square-foot, mixed-use hotel and retail center is situated in the middle of New Orleans’ Warehouse District at the corner of Carondelet and Lafayette Streets.
Part of the city’s South Market District development, the property combines two historic buildings with a new, four-story structure. Eskew+Dumez+Ripple led the project’s unified design. Roman and Williams carried through the Art Deco and Dadaist-inspired aesthetic to the interiors. Guided by the construction manager joint venture of Broadmoor LLC and Palmisano Contractors, DeGeorge Glass Company installed Winco Windows throughout the property.
Developed by The Domain Companies, the project’s financing included federal and state historic tax credits. To restore the historic portion’s exterior, a total window replacement was required.
Originally designed by Weiss, Dreyfous and Seiferth Architects, the property was first known as the Maison Blanche Building. Unfortunately, its 1920s wood-framed hung windows were replaced in the 1980s with fixed windows that did not reflect the building’s historic character. Eskew+Dumez+Ripple located several sources to help determine the former windows’ proportions and styling.
Replicating the original windows’ appearance with modern, hurricane code performance, Winco Windows manufactured the replacement units using aluminum framing with a thermal break and historically appropriate grid profiles. Linetec finished the windows’ aluminum framing and grid in a traditional black color.
To ensure the Ace Hotel New Orleans maintains its intended historic look for many years to come, Linetec applied a 70 percent polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) resin-based coating to Winco Series 4410S and 3250 windows. “These architectural coatings exhibit outstanding resistance to humidity, color change, chalk, gloss loss and chemicals. They will ensure a long-lasting, durable finish. No other coating system can withstand the rigors of nature and time like these,” said Linetec’s senior marketing specialist, Tammy Schroeder, LEED® Green Associate.
The 70 percent PVDF coatings meet the industry’s stringent requirements set by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association – AAMA 2605. Further demonstrating its industry leadership, Linetec is a recognized, environmentally responsible finisher. It captures the liquid paints’ volatile organic compounds (VOCs) content using a 100 percent air capture system and safely destroys the VOCs with a regenerative thermal oxidizer, so there is no adverse environmental impact. Linetec then re-uses its heat energy byproduct to improve process energy efficiency. This process of re-use is completed before the material exits the paint line.
Beyond the behind-the-scenes environmental advantages that Linetec provides customers and their projects, Winco’s windows protect against extreme temperatures to help keep guests comfortable in the hot Louisiana climate. Thermal performance also contributes to energy efficiency and helps reduce associated heating and cooling costs.
In addition to thermal performance, the windows needed to meet the area’s hurricane codes. To help the existing structure handle the fastener loads of these heavy-duty units, additional metal framing was required to reinforce the jambs without affecting the overall window sightline.
“The advanced research, partnership, design and testing allowed for a final installation that was able to restore the building to its original glory and design, while meeting the current stringent, high-performance window and hurricane codes,” said Winco’s technical sales and business development manager, Kurtis Suellentrop, EIT.
Ace Hotel’s welcome message expresses a similar sentiment, “Work can be a beautiful thing when done beautifully, and it’s a lot more fun done together than apart.”
Arriving in person at the New Orleans location, guests and their pets are greeted in a lobby that feels more like a living room filled with curios, mementos and a well-stocked bar. They are offered a choice of restaurants with menus by James Beard Award-winning chefs, near-nightly entertainment, and a gallery of original artwork by local artists and friends of the hotel.
Ace Hotel New Orleans joins the growing Ace Hotel network of modern eye-catching designs with a vintage feel. Its locations in New York, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Seattle, as well as in Portland, Oregon, and Palm Springs, California, are all conversions of existing historic buildings. The company also has locations in London and Panama City.
Ace Hotel describes itself as:“…a collection of individuals — multiple and inclusive, held together by an affinity for the soulful. We are not here to reinvent the hotel, but to readdress its conventions to keep them fresh, energized, human. We accept the hotel as a potential for real, fluid community. We believe that hospitality is compassion, that it is not servility but genuine concern for others’ well-being and the ability to live with empathy.” These inspiring words strike a chord resonating with the people and places they represent. They convey an organization with deep consideration for each element – and every window – that creates its guests’ experiences.
Ace Hotel New Orleans; 600 Carondelet, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130; https://www.acehotel.com/neworleans
- Developer: The Domain Companies; New Orleans; http://thedomaincos.com/portfolio/ace-hotel
- Architect: Eskew+Dumez+Ripple; New Orleans; http://www.eskewdumezripple.com/projects/ace-hotel
- Construction manager at risk – joint venture: Broadmoor LLC; Metairie, Louisiana; http://broadmoorllc.com/project-details/HotelHospitality/Ace-Hotel-New-Orleans-1 and Palmisano Contractors; New Orleans; http://palmisanogroup.com/project/600-carondelet-hotel
- Window system – manufacturer: Winco Windows; St. Louis; http://www.wincowindow.com
- Window system – installer: DeGeorge Glass Company, Inc.; Metairie, Louisiana; http://www.degeorgeglassco.com
- Window system – glass fabricator: Insulite Glass Co., Inc.; Olathe, Kansas; http://www.insuliteglass.com; using PPG SOLARBAN® 70XL insulated, laminated hurricane glass
- Window system – finisher: Linetec; Wausau, Wisconsin; http://www.linetec.com
- Photo by: Timothy Hursley Photography, courtesy of Winco
Recently, AMBICO has designed and supplied nearly 100 acoustic (both wood and steel) doors and frames for the new Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON, Canada. AMBICO has been involved from the very beginning (the early design stages of the project) right through to the installation.
Due to the nature of the building (a performance hall), the architects had to rely on AMBICO’s acoustic material to block the sound from room to room. AMBICO produced STC 40 (steel and wood) doors and STC 51 (steel) doors for the project, plus some unequal pairs of STC 59 (steel). There won’t be any sound travel in this building!
Although still undergoing construction, the Centre promises to be impressive. A $63 million project; $22 million was generously donated by Drs. Alfred and Isabel Bader. The Centre is named in honor of Isabel Bader, for her love of music and theater.
Concealed behind this incredible building and its benefactors is a truly romantic love story: Isabel met Alfred aboard a ship, the two courted and more than 400 love letters were exchanged. After their relationship ended prematurely, Alfred went on to marry someone else and have a family. Years later, when Alfred was divorced, he and Isabel rekindled their romance and the two got married and remain happily married today.
Of: Alison Capuano
For Clark Energy—a regional utility cooperative serving 19,000 customers and maintaining 3,000 miles of line in 11 counties—it began when a customer attacked a worker at the nearby water utility office. As Holly S. Eades, vice president of finance for Clark Energy, explains, “There was a utility here in Winchester [Kentucky], and I had gone down there because we’d heard that one of their office people, a customer had slapped her in the head. And we were like, ‘Oh, boy.’ Because we have some customers that come in, and they get kind of irate.”
Worker Safety in Utility Offices
Workplace violence is a serious problem, with roughly 2 million American workers assaulted each year. Clerks and customer service reps at utility offices are especially at risk, as their work includes several of the high-risk factors identified by OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration): handling money, fielding disputes about billing, and denying delinquent customers service. As a rule, when you are forced to cut off someone’s electricity, water, cable TV, or other service, they are not happy, and they are not calm.
To Holly and her customer service reps at Clark Energy, it very much felt like just a matter of time: “Sometimes, [in] both [our] offices, there’ll be just one office lady there. The men are out in the field, and she’s just completely by herself. It wasn’t probably two, three weeks later . . . some man comes in and he’s cussing and screaming, and another customer actually stayed, saying ‘There wasn’t a way I’m leaving with this person acting like that.’ When a big man is standing at the counter, screaming and cussing at a female customer service rep who’s five-foot-four, there’s something wrong with him . . . You just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Inviting, Professional Bullet Proof Barriers
Many utility companies and service providers worry that added security will both bog down business and give the customers the impression that workers are trying to separate themselves from their clientele.
Even Clark Energy had hesitated, despite harrowing first-hand experiences. “A lot of it was the way it needed to look... We’d actually tried to get somebody local [to install a bullet resistant barrier], but we couldn’t find anybody in this area that would even come close to the product that Total Security Solutions has. Not as pleasing... I think a lot of times, when you put that up [a security barrier], customers get the feeling that you’re trying to shield yourself, and I don’t mean from robbers.”
Jim Richards, Total Security Solutions CEO, has heard this often. “What we actually do and what everyone’s perception is are two totally different things. The people at Clark Energy were more than ecstatic when they saw the other utility offices we’ve done, because it’s not what people typically visualize when they think of bullet proof glass. They think of steel frames, big, thick glass, you can’t talk through it. It’s not aesthetically pleasing. It gets in the way of getting work done. But when they saw what we did at the other utility, it’s like ‘Oh, well we want one of those, too, if that’s what it’s gonna look like.'”
Positive Results with a Well-Designed Bullet Proof System
“We are tickled to death,” Holly says, “It looks very nice, and when the customers came in... We had some customers saying, ‘You know, y’all should have done that a long time ago.'”
While Holly is gratified to hear these positive responses from customers, she’s even more pleased by the improvement to her employees’ work day:
“It’s really amazing, just the sense of security the girls feel. You know, now you get there and you’ve got somebody screaming at you, and there’s some distance between you and their emotions. When you’re turning people’s electric off, you just don’t know. You have ’em come in pretty upset. This felt 10 times better, at least knowing the girls are behind locked doors and behind bullet resistant glass. Because, I tell you, every day all you hear about is another incident somewhere.”
Company: Total Security Solutions Inc
AMBICO Limited was delighted to play a key role in the renovation of this beautiful and highly regarded heritage property right in our home town, Canada’s capital city. If you’ve ever been to Ottawa then you might recognize this building just from its picture—it’s the Sir John A MacDonald Building, the former flagship branch of the Bank of Montreal originally built over 80 years ago.
Situated at the heart of Ottawa’s Parliamentary Precinct, it hosts Parliamentary and Senate meetings and functions, international gatherings, special ceremonies and state events. AMBICO had the opportunity in 2012 to meet with the architectural team charged with the development of the $1 billion retrofit of the entire Parliamentary Precinct. Working closely with our long-time & valued distributor, Upper Canada Hardware, we developed STC door and frame products able to meet the unique demands of the project. This project was featured in DHI Magazine as a Case Study.
While most school architects are fairly well versed in CPTED (crime prevention through environmental design), many are fairly new to bullet resistant materials and design. With active shooter scenarios increasingly top-of-mind for education clients considering new construction and renovations, now is a good time to spend a few minutes coming up to speed.
A School Architect’s Introduction to Bullet Resistant Materials and Barrier Systems
At one time “bullet proof glass” was indeed made from thick panes of layered, laminated glass. Today, almost all “bullet proof glass” is made from solid or layered plastics (usually acrylic for solid windows, and layers of polycarbonate and glass for laminated glazing).
More importantly, the “bullet proof windows” that most clients fixate on are a relatively small part of the barrier, which is an integrated system consisting of:
- bullet resistant windows and framing
- bullet resistant doors
- bullet resistant fiberglass to reinforce surrounding counters and walls
- some form of communications system
The communications system can be as simple as the voice portal and backer in a bus-station ticket window, or may include multiple sub-systems: an intercom, a deal tray for passing papers, a bullet resistant drawer or passers for larger items, etc.
For best results–in terms of aesthetics, usability, and security–every bullet resistant barrier should be treated as a custom job. Every piece of the system needs to seamlessly integrate with both the other elements of the barrier system and with the existing structure, mechanicals, building use patterns, and so on.
Bullet proof materials are rated according to a set of standards set by Underwriters Laboratory (i.e., UL-752). Both individual materials and complete components and sub-systems are tested by OSHA-designated nationally recognized testing laboratories (NRTL) in order to confirm they perform according to the appropriate UL standard.
Best Practices in School Bulletproof Barrier Systems
For most schools, the best security solution is a bullet resistant vestibule entryway system with integrated access control. These systems are a fairly straightforward example of CPTED, and can almost always be easily retrofit into existing buildings, or worked into new construction with few alterations.
As Bob George, Total Security Solutions sales manager, explains: “We do our best work when we connect with architects early on in the design process. The best case scenario is when we can get in there early to help with design recommendations, and guide the school officials toward a good solution.”
Schools often come in initially asking about very extensive Level 5 to 8 systems (which explicitly address the threat of high-powered ammunition and assault weapons). A level 5 to 8 system would likely include blast-rated and bullet resistant exterior windows capable of stopping very powerful ammunition and blasts, bullet proof doors throughout the facility, and so on.
Such high-level systems are prohibitively expensive, and also entirely unnecessary: Most schools are very well served with a Level 1 hardened entryway with access control. There are two reasons for this. First and foremost, the primary goals of a barrier system in a school are deterrence and delay. Anything that gives an active shooter pause or makes him think twice about his actions is often sufficient to prevent an attack. If that deterrence fails, then simply slowing an attack can buy enough time for first responders to successfully intercede before anyone is injured.
Second, top-tier bullet proof companies like TSS over-engineer their systems and materials as a mater of course. For example, you’ll note in the following video that the Level 2 door at 1:35 is rated to stop three shots from a .357 Magnum, yet stops five with no problem. Likewise, the Level 3 window at 2:59 is rated for three shots from .44 Mag, but stops 13, while the Level 3 door shown at 4:17–likewise rated to stop three shots from a .44 Magnum–actually catches 115 shots from a variety of handguns and assault rifles without a single bulge on the protected side.
Access Control and School Security
Access control is an especially important–and often tricky–aspect of a school’s bullet resistant barrier. Over the last several years a large portion of schools have adopted security procedures that include locking doors during schools hours. Unfortunately, locked doors slow first responders during an emergency. While active shooter events are top-of-mind, it’s much more likely that an in-school emergency will be related to a fire, extreme weather, or something as mundane as a child having a bad allergic reaction or being injured in gym class. All of these require quick access to the building. Modern access control systems–including centrally controlled electric strikes–are a great improvement over older key-and-lock systems. They offer many administrative advantages, in addition to speeding entry for emergency responders.
TSS is sensitive to how a design must balance access control and accessibility, especially in schools, where National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) egress codes, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and International Fire Code can all come into play.
“We can work with any mix of access control and accessibility requirements,” Bob George notes. “We always build to suit, and have lots of experience prepping doors for specialized hardware, as well as installing basic electric strikes, magnetic locks, panic bars–all the standard pieces for access control. More importantly, as Eric [Malzahn] said, TSS works with other security vendors as equals to get the job done right. That includes working with access control specialists to get all the details right for a complex access control system.”
Company: Total Security Solutions Inc
Client performance goals continue to evolve, growing more complex every year. At one time, a client was either very concerned with security, or very concerned with sustainability. It was rare for a client to be equally concerned with both.
But the increasing need for ballistic materials in all sorts of construction has collided with the increased stringency of building codes, specifications, and energy performance standards. Old-line ballistic framing systems—which are still the industry standard—are simplistic. They are fabricated from a grab-bag of materials to a variety of standards. Many aren’t even UL-rated to stop bullets. Instead, they are cobbled together from standard aluminum frames packed with chunks of bullet resistant fiberglass glued in place. Enhanced R-values, thermal breaks, gas fills, and insulation are just not an option with traditional bullet resistant window and door frames.
Today, advancements in designs and fabrication techniques have resulted in not only standard, true UL-rated door and window frame systems, but also premium systems offering new levels of thermal and ballistic performance.
Thermally Enhanced High-Security Ballistic Door and Window Frame Systems
A security-conscious end-user might be interested in earning a LEED Platinum certificate, or might be passionate about daylighting, or might just want to keep the energy bills down—in any case, having a solid aluminum frame conducting heat directly through the building envelope doesn’t serve any of those goals. The TSS Thermal Frame System does.
“We developed this ballistic frame system specifically because architects were asking for it,” Jim Richards, CEO of Total Security Solutions (TSS), explains. “I don’t know if you know, but buildings use more than half the energy on earth.”
As one architect recently put it “for all practical purposes, all other issues are subservient to sustainability now.” That’s been beyond challenging with old-style exterior bullet resistant windows, since the windows themselves are solid—no gas fills—and the frames are rarely built with any sort of thermal break. For example, here’s a cross-section of a traditional window frame:
The old-style frames are solid steel or aluminum members all the way around the window or door, penetrating the exterior wall. As Jim Richards is quick t point out, “Think about what that means in certain regions of the United States: In the summer it could be in the 90s, and in the winter it could be 30 below, but the inside of that building is always 72 degrees with 40 percent humidity. Your HVAC is fighting heat leaking in all summer, heat leaking out all winter. You’re not just going to have cold spots and drafts. You’re going to get condensation, even frost.”
TSS’s thermally improved, Kevlar-reinforced bullet resistant exterior aluminum door and window frame system is calculated to optimize R value, given the needs of a bullet resistant materials. It offers bullet resistance up through UL Level 8, and can accommodate a wide variety of acrylic, polycarbonate, and laminated bullet resistant glazings. “It’s an enormous performance boost, in terms of energy, and ballistic—a true ‘best of both worlds’ scenario.”
All-in-One Multi-Threat Ballistic Window Frames
“This isn’t your everyday, run-of-the-mill frame,” Jim says of the TSS AIO (All-In-One) Frame. The AIO is a modular, multi-threat glazing frame optimized for higher-threat situations, especially government applications. It can accept any glazing between .75 and 2.5 inches thick—that’s everything from UL Level 1 acrylic (i.e., which stops three shots from a .9mm pistol) to Level 8 glass-clad polycarbonate (for blocking full-auto bursts from assault rifles). The frame itself is rated through Level 8, and also has forced entry and blast-resistance characteristics. The AIO Frame has a broad security and safety profile that encompasses all sorts of threats to life and property, from break-ins and riots to lone gunmen, terror attacks, and even extreme weather.
Rather than using a lighter aluminum backed with strips of Kevlar-based fiberglass paneling, Jim and his team opted for all-aluminum construction and a design that takes full advantage of the edge-on resilience of the glazing itself. The front-wall of this frame is hearty enough to deflect most calibers, and designed to capture and hold any high-power rounds that do penetrate the frame itself.
Of course, not every job calls for premium ballistic door and window frames. TSS continues to offer their full line of standard UL-rated and non-rated frames to meet your client’s performance goals.
Company: Total Security Solutions Inc
Guardian 275® translucent skylights provide a wide range of color, thermal performance and specialty application options
Imagine letting soft, diffuse light fill interior spaces. Think of how happy your building’s occupants will be when they’re protected from hot-spots that make them feel uncomfortable or glare that limits their use of computers, cell phones and other personal devices. Guardian 275® skylights and canopies provide built-in sun control, eliminating many of the issues common with traditional glass systems. Their aluminum framing and sandwich panel construction also make them strong but lightweight, often reducing the need for additional support structure.
Guardian 275® systems feature advanced Ultimate Series™ face sheet technology for long-term dependability, and can be configured with thermal breaks as well as numerous insulation options for enhanced performance in more demanding climates. Guardian 275® panels are also available with a variety of sheet color options, and panel insulation can also be tinted to create a stained-glass look or to incorporate school or logo colors. As with our Guardian 275® wall systems, skylights and canopies are also available in our TransCURVE™ curved system configuration, providing an eye-catching design element.
Company: Major Industries Inc.
The basics: Rogers Memorial Hospital–Brown Deer, Wisconsin, celebrated its completed renovation in April 2015. Brown Deer is the first Rogers facility to incorporate biophilia into its design. Biophilia design recognizes the way humans have an emotional connection to nature and to natural forms, aiding a patient’s healing process. The new design uses seventy high-impact windows that provide a safe interior as well as natural light and views. The 50,000-square-foot, 56-bed facility now offers inpatient care for children and adults diagnosed with anxiety, depression, addiction and other behavioral care needs.
The players: Architect, TWP Architecture; general contractor, VJS Construction Services; contract glazier, Simmons Building Products; glass manufacturer, PPG Industries, Trulite; glazing systems, window manufacturer: Wausau Window and Wall Systems; glazing systems, finishing, Linetec; metal systems supplier, Manko Window Systems.
The glass and systems: As part of the total renovation, Wausau Window and Wall Systems updated the facility’s old windows with its SEAL behavioral care windows, which provide a safe interior as well as the natural light and views that connect patients with their surroundings. Working on a limited budget, the architect also opened the entry with natural light, using storefront Series 2450 from Manko and Trulite's 1-inch laminated insulating glass unit, made up of ¼-inch clear tempered PPG Solarban 60, a 7/16-inch clear anodized silicone spacer, and a 5/16-inch unit comprised of 1/8-inch clear annealed glass, 0.60 mm clear PVB and 1/8-inch clear tempered glass.
Glazing contractor Simmons Building Products installed 70 of Wausau’s SEAL 2187-DT interior accessory windows with Solarban glass by PPG. SEAL is an acronym for sound, energy, air and light. According to Wausau, the windows are drop-tested for high impact, supporting safety without requiring screens or bars. They also use an overlap sash design, rather than a flush sash, to make them more resistant to patient tampering and prying. Integral between-glass blinds minimize maintenance, reduce solar heat gain, and offer privacy, without the potential dangers of exposed cords and slats, according to Wausau. Linetec finished the windows’ frames with a Dark Bronze anodize finish.
What a joy for architects to land a project they can sink their teeth into, finding that sweet spot between functionality and beauty. Unconventional materials, like bulletproof glass, can also be an exciting challenge to work with. But it’s frustrating to watch a project slip, your design distorted under the weight of missed schedules, unfulfilled commitments, and change orders.
TSS Offers More than Bulletproof Glass
There is nothing that will drive a project off its tracks like uncoordinated trades. One team is late in finishing, the next decides to try and cram in a rush job while they wait and then they’re inevitably not ready when it is their turn—it’s a vicious and costly cycle. Specialty trades are often among the worst offenders.
“I’ve seen at first hand how frustrating that is,” Total Security Solutions CEO Jim Richards explains, “Which is why we make a point to keep every part of our process strictly on schedule, and to work closely with architects to come up with designs that can be installed quickly and smoothly—even overnight.”
TSS knows where the trouble spots are likely to hit with coordinating trades. We can help establish a realistic schedule for coordinating trades on your building project, and give valuable advice about the order of trades (which can be a bit more complicated when you start working in barrier systems).
“We’re working on getting architects to contact us sooner, rather than later, in the project,” Jim adds. “It just saves them so much trouble if they talk through both the design and the build process in advance.”
Among other assistance, TSS is happy to help with drawings, submittals, and any specifications you need to share with a client or prepare plans.
TSS Does Beautiful, Functional Work
TSS engineers are happy to walk you through every design consideration, and give you a realistic assessment of how expensive and difficult a concept will be to execute, given manufacturing realities, material weight, and our advanced fabrication capabilities. We have more than a few tricks for managing HVAC design around a bullet resistant system, containing costs, building flexibility into a system, or finding design alternatives that lower costs, save time, or better integrate every system in the building. TSS is also sensitive to sustainability and LEED issues, and happy to make recommendations on how bullet resistant materials can support sustainable design. Ultimately, architects like working with TSS because we design, fabricate, and install beautiful custom systems with a tight fit and finish that wow clients. We do that by making the architect’s life easier:
The Specialty Price Tag of Bulletproof Glass
Jim knows that there is some sticker shock for clients new to bulletproof materials and systems. “Clients often can’t fathom that this material is at least double what normal glass costs. Depending on the scope of work, it can climb from there to three times, even five times more.” Financial constraints will always exist, but they don’t have to hurt as much if you go into a project knowing what to expect, and how to prepare clients for that.
TSS believes in treating every project as custom, because each client and each site has different needs. From a gas station buying off-the-shelf transaction windows to a high-end bank with a slick, unique interior build out, TSS takes the time to make sure every system we sell will work and is installed correctly (especially if it’s installed by third-party contractors, instead of our team). Working in this fashion, we are assured of a no-surprises, low-drama project.
Company: Total Security Solutions Inc
Studio Bondy Architecture incorporated Kalwall translucent composite sandwich panels to thoughtfully craft a new facility that caters to the needs of the blind and their service animals.
Studio Bondy Architecture incorporated Kalwall translucent composite sandwich panels to thoughtfully craft a new facility that caters to the needs of the blind and their service animals.
Guide Dogs for the Blind raises service dogs and provides training to approximately 350 visually impaired people each year across two campuses in California and in Oregon at no charge. On the San Rafael campus, Studio Bondy Architecture designed a new student residence that houses guest rooms, community spaces, classrooms, and administrative offices. Folding forms and simple materials characterize the architecture, and deep roof overhangs,
layers of glass, and day-lit corridors of Kalwall provide transparency and natural ventilation. “It is a serene, beautiful place for learning,” says Laura Rambin, principal at SBA.
Although LEED certification was an initial goal, the non-profit chose not to pursue it in the end due to cost. “Every dollar spent is a dollar that must be donated to the organization,” Rambin says. The new building incorporates all of the sustainable features required by the California Green Building Standards Code, which is essentially equivalent to LEED Silver.
Company: Kalwall Corporation
Developed by Raytheon, ALON or aluminum oxynitride, begins as a powder, which is then molded and baked in very high heat. The heating process causes the powder to liquefy and cool quickly, leaving the molecules loosely arranged, as if still in liquid form. It is this crystalline structure that provides ALON its level of strength and scratch resistance comparable to rugged sapphire. Polishing the aluminum oxynitride strengthens the material and also makes it extremely clear.
Comparing Aluminum Armor to Traditional Bulletproof Glass
Traditional bulletproof glass is comprised of multiple layers: polycarbonate sandwiched between two layers of glass. Similarly, transparent aluminum armor is also composed of three layers: an outer layer of aluminum oxynitride, a middle layer of glass and a rear layer of polymer backing. However, the similarities stop there.
Aluminum armor can deflect the same rounds from small-caliber weapons as traditional bulletproof glass, but it will still be more clearly transparent even after being shot. Also, a .50-caliber armor-piercing bullet could sink nearly three inches into bulletproof glass before stopping. Aluminum armor can stop it in half the distance and yet is half the weight and thickness of traditional transparent armor.
In addition, transparent aluminum armor can be produced in virtually any shape and can also hold up to the elements much better than traditional bulletproof glass, which can be worn away by blowing desert sand or shrapnel.
Despite aluminum oxynitride’s ability to produce a superior transparent aluminum armor, this material has not been put into widespread use. The largest factor in this is cost. Transparent aluminum armor can be anywhere from three to five times as much to produce as traditional bulletproof glass. In theory, however, it would not need to be replaced as often, saving money in the long run. Further, there is no existing infrastructure to produce the material in large panes like the size of a front windshield of a vehicle. ALON is currently used for smaller applications, such as the lenses in battlefield cameras or the windows over the s
Company: Total Security Solutions Inc
The concept of smart glass is not new and in fact has been around for decades. This so-called “smart” glass has the ability to adjust its properties in response to the surrounding environment to block out heat or light. Some of the most basic smart glass applications are a self-tinting rearview car mirror or eyeglasses that adjust to sunlight. It is proving beneficial in construction applications because it can save costs for heating or air conditioning, as well as block ultraviolet rays that may fade fabrics.
Powering Smart Glass Windows
There are currently two main technology methods to power smart windows. Electrochromic glazing, which is powered by an electric current, offers the flexibility to be manually turned on and off, as well as programmed to respond to weather conditions. Thermochromic glazing, however, automatically darkens as the glass heats up and becomes clear again as the glass cools. Going “green” and finding more eco-friendly approaches to existing solutions is a hot topic in all industries and the evolution of smart windows has also moved in that direction. Batteries and outlet plugs are obviously not the most environmentally sensitive methods of creating power and while solar panels are definitely a step in the right direction, they can negatively impact the clarity of the glass.
The Future of Smart Glass Windows Is Found in Static
The newest form of smart glass is actually powered by static electricity, produced by friction when two materials touch. Using two layers of extremely small generators attached to the outside of a pane of glass, an electric current is emitted between the units enabling the clear window to be tinted a dark blue.
The static electricity to operate the outside layer of generators is harvested from the friction between raindrops and air. When these two materials connect, a positive charge is created within the raindrop. The positively charged droplet then interacts with the negatively charged silicone-coated glass, creating an electric current.
The inner layer of generators harvests energy from the wind. Formed by two sheets of clear plastic separated by plastic coils that compress as the wind pushes against the window, an electric current is created as the plastic sheets get closer together.
In addition to turning a dark blue color, the glass also has the ability to produce up to 130 milliwatts of electricity, enough to charge a sleeping smartphone. There are still hurdles to overcome, however, before this next generation smart glass can be commercialized, particularly the ability to store the energy created. Cost could potentially be prohibitive as well.
Company: Total Security Solutions Inc
What was once three disparate rooftop sheds are now one breathtaking space that Calder Foundation president Alexander S.C. Rower compares to a Parisian artist’s garret.
The Calder Foundation’s new office suite/gallery in New York City has garnered the attention of the design world and architect Stephanie Goto’s project was honored with a 2015 Architizer A+ Award. Kalwall translucent panels are a key feature in the design, bathing the works of Alexander Calder and the other artists on display in museum-quality daylight™.
The project was the Popular Choice winner in the Gallery division and will be celebrated with the other winners during NYCxDesign, May 14 at Highline Stages in New York City and the A+ Awards Gala on May 15.
“Our mission was to light the spaces that we created effortlessly and naturally,” Goto said. “We achieve this in how we integrated Kalwall with our architecture. The Kalwall was an integral part in the architecture for the skylights and clerestories.”
Rower said the space would have reminded Calder, his grandfather, of an artist’s loft in France, where Calder had a studio. The space was featured in Architectural Digest and Architectural Record.
Goto said Kalwall daylighting offered a perfect solution to the skylights and clerestories that line the 4,000-square foot space.
“The quality of the natural light illumination and the energy efficiency of the product was what we were attracted to,” Goto said.
Company: Kalwall Corporation
A World Without Windows (April 24, 2015), How to Choose the Right Type of Vinyl Replacement Windows (March 25, 2015)