Interest in protective glazing ebbs, as feds' focus shifts to energy efficiency

Sahely Mukerji, Glass Magazine
November 3, 2010
COMMERCIAL, RETAIL, FABRICATION

There’s  complacency right now in regards to protective glazing, said Urmilla Sowell, president, PGC International, Topeka, Kan., in an interview at the group's Annual Symposium. “Everyone’s more focused on energy efficiency, and unfortunately, it may take a hurricane coming through south Florida, or a blast on U.S. soil, for everyone to get back to thinking about protective glazing, and continue thinking ahead. Also, in this economy, people are looking at the cost and cost-benefit analysis, and protective glazing is where they’re making the cut because of the complacency I mentioned before.”

About 65 attendees pre-registered for the PGC symposium, Nov. 2-4, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md. The event kicked off with a board of directors’ meeting, Nov. 2; the presentations started Nov. 3. Applied Research Associates, Albuquerque, N.M.; B-Pro Safeguard, Bensalem, Pa.; the Glass Association of North America, Topeka; and GlassLock Inc., Easton, Md., had tabletop exhibits.

“Last year, the symposium co-located with GANA’s fall conference in Kansas City, and it was primarily a working meeting for the association and committees,” said Sara Neiswanger, account executive, PGC International, Topeka, Kan. “GANA’s Protective Glazing Committee hosted a speaker that both association members attended.” This year, the crowd is quite diverse, she said, with about 65 attendees pre-registered for the symposium; in 2008, about 70 attended the event. “We have a good representation in manufacturers, contract glaziers, suppliers and consultants. We are also pleased to see more government representatives in the audience than in past years.” Among others, Kawneer, Norcross, Ga.; Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope, Santa Monica, Calif.; Viracon, Owatonna, Minn.; 3M, St. Paul, Minn.; Bekaert, Marietta, Ga.; and Tremco, Beachwood,, Ohio; represented the glass and glazing community at the symposium.

The Nov. 3 presentations included: Protective Glazing for Security by Officer Michael Betten, Overland Park, Kansas Police Department; Standards for Blast Resistance in Mass Transit Centers by Chris White, research chemist, Materials & Construction Research of the Engineering Lab, NIST; UFC Update by William Veys, civil structural engineer, Protective Design Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha, Neb.; and Seismic Research Protocols by Darrell Smith, executive director, International Window Film Association.

“Most burglars come in through the garage door or an unlocked door,” Betten said. However, "forced entries are mostly made through windows or glass. In a Kansas Police Department survey, 18 out of 30 forced entries were made through windows. That’s why it’s important to secure the windows with laminated glass.” Protective glazing can complement the security system of a home or office, he said. “Physical security is the foundation of integration of security. Pay for laminated glass and then an alarm system can complement it.”

White discussed trash receptacles in mass transit areas as the most vulnerable for blast attacks.

Veys talked about proposed revisions to the UFC 4-010-01. “The Unified Facilities Criteria is essentially the DoD [Department of Defense] building code,” he said. “The intent of the UFC-4-101-01 is to minimize possibility of mass casualties [and] provide appropriate, implementable and enforceable measures to establish a level of protection against terrorist attack for all DoD inhabited buildings where no known threat of terrorist activity exists," he explained. "Where identified standoff distances can be met, most conventional construction can be used with only marginal impact on total cost.”

Veys discussed the Standard 10 Windows and Skylights clarifications and the three methods to provide compliance: dynamic analysis, testing, and the ASTM F 2248 Design Approach for Laminated Glass Glazing Systems. He also discussed using strength design for all methods of analysis. The DoD will publish a technical report to accompany Standard 10, he said. “The report will include an introduction, information on glazing and windows, discussion of both design approaches, multiple worked examples of design approaches, and a glossary of terms.”

Smith discussed a report that shows the use of safety window film, under all seismic conditions, can help to mitigate the hazards from glass breakage. The report is based on the research findings of the Window Film Committee of AIMCAL [Fort Mill, S.C.] that contracted with the University of California at San Diego, a leading seismic simulation research center.

“When window without applied film reached UDS using the simple monotonic protocol, 75 percent of the glass area fell out of the window,” Smith said. “When film is applied, more than 99 percent of the area of the cracked glass panel is contained. When film is applied and attached to the frame, more than 99.6 percent of the area of the cracked glass panel is contained," he said.