Volume 36, Issue 1, January 2001

Breaking Into Security Glazing

Can Security Glazing Be Beneficial to Your Glass Shop?
by Craig Washing


The rise in violent crime—and our society’s growing need to combat it—has translated into bigger opportunities for the glass industry.
Traditionally, the need for bullet- and attack-resistant systems has been confined to jails, prisons, government buildings and military facilities. Today, however, you’ll find highly secured gas stations, hospitals and even strip malls. The need for more security is growing, just as quickly as crime itself.

Now is the time for glass people to get involved in security. I am still amazed when glass shop owners stop by our booth at glass shows and tell us they don’t do security. Even if your business doesn’t handle high-level security products, your business is very likely the first place a local convenience store owner calls once he or she decides to beef up on security. Since you were the one who installed his storefront windows, he’s assuming your shop is the logical first step.

So you receive the call. Now what? There is no simple answer or one-size-fits-all approach to securing a structure. Whether it’s a big commercial office building, hotel, motel or a mom-and-pop pawnshop, each individual customer has a set of problems and solutions uniquely his or her own. Considerations such as weight, cost, usage, threat level and aesthetics come into play.

One way many local glass operations are handling this potentially lucrative upswing in business is by forming partnerships with security product manufacturers. Security experts can help with specs and costs, and also layout the many security options your customer has. There is no one way to secure a business—there are dozens. Framing choices, glass density, threat levels and more all come into play.

Working with someone—from security glass fabricators to total security systems providers—who knows the field will help you present your recommendations to the customer, show him what he is getting for his money and what he is protecting.
Let’s talk for a minute about security products and what’s available. First, there is no such thing as bulletproof glass. Yet this probably is what your customer is going to ask for right off the bat. Bulletproof products do not exist. Every product is capable of being penetrated at some threat level. What your customer wants is a bullet-resistant product. These are certified to resist a specific caliber round with defined placement and a specified number of impacts.

Another category of security products is a product’s attack-resistance. This is defined by and certified to duration of attack, type of weapons used and sequencing of the attack tools. Attack-resistance is also known as forced-entry in government circles.

In many cases a customer only knows he needs more security. He may be totally oblivious to the actual product or products he needs. The obvious first question to ask then is “What is your real threat?” Every job starts with this simple query.
As security needs continue to grow, you will no doubt be answering the telephone calls of businesses in your area more frequently. They will be asking you if you can help them with security. Will you be ready with the answers? You will, if you prepare in advance. You can make even more hay out of the rise in security needs by letting your community know in advance that your shop can provide security products and consulting. You can do this with a simple marketing plan aimed at your area businesses—send out a mailer or take out an ad in the local paper. You may start getting the calls your competition usually passes on.

Now is the time to increase your knowledge in order to take advantage of the security products field. As a glass shop you are on the front line to provide that security solution.