Security without sacrifice

Protective storefronts provide safety and aesthetics
By Bill Sudlow
December 1, 2008

A business owner or contractor faces two basic certainties when securing a property against intrusion with traditional window bars or roll-down grates: first, that the structure is safer, and second, that it has the oppressive ambiance of a state prison. This is probably not the tone of welcoming stability you might prefer to project to clients, customers and employees. Nothing screams "unsafe neighborhood" like a row of storefronts cowering behind bars. Who wants to shop or work there? Who wants to even park there?

Advancements in the security glazing industry have made it possible for businesses to have the best of both worlds—24/7 anti-intrusion protection and beautiful, unblemished storefronts. No bars, no roll-down grates. Business owners love it. Communities can transform an entire neighborhood’s image by replacing a few streets of unsightly, barred stores with secure, clear storefronts.

Survivalite Impact Window Systems, Tarpon Springs, Fla., offers the Citadel Storefront system that provides a storefront of custom-fitted windows and doors—any color frame, any shade of glass. Its round-the-clock protection against threats ranges from sledge hammers and hurled cinder blocks, to bullets, grenades, and ramming trucks, to hurricanes. Survivalite, a frame manufacturer and system integrator, worked to develop Citadel Storefront system with Saf-Glas LLC, Riviera Beach, Fla., a protective glass manufacturer, and Commercial Doors International, Tampa, a manufacturer of impact-resistant storefront doors.

The Citadel system features a frame from Survivalite designed to stand up to extremely high loads. The frame has been tested with three impacts by a 9-pound 2-by-4 missile traveling 50 feet per second with an impact pressure of up to 270 pounds per square foot. The frame can be anodized or ordered in a wide range of colors, using either powder coat or Kynar 500. The frame has many features, including 3 pounds per running foot of 6063-T6 alloy and temper aluminum with a large 1-inch bite on the glass, a dry-seal attachment of the glass to the frame, built-in compensation for out-of-square openings, and inside glazing after frame installation.

Saf-Glas provided its 9/16-inch laminated glass for the Citadel system. This five-layered glazing is composed of ¼-inch annealed glass, 0.025-inch patented adhesive, 0.070-inch polycarbonate, 0.025-inch patented adhesive, followed by ¼-inch annealed glass. It has passed ASTM F588 Test Procedures for forced entry protection and H. P. White-TP-500.02 test procedures; bullet resistance, bomb/blast and shock tube testing were performed at the Quantico Marine Base at Quantico, Virginia. This glazing stood up to .22 and 9 millimeter bullets, and, with added thickness, .357, 762 NATO, and 30 and 50 cal sniper fire. Even at only 9/16-inch it survived a hand grenade at six feet and a claymore mine at 75 feet. This 9/16-inch fire impact glass is UL9 approved with hose-stream test. The glass offers more than 99 percent UV protection and up to 41 dB sound isolation, and it can be ordered with low-emissivity glass and in a wide range of colors.

CDI contributes its heavy-duty aluminum commercial doors certified for forced entry and hurricanes to the Citadel system. The doors offer a full 2-inch frame jamb reinforced with hinge bracket tubes, features a 3-point locking system, and four stainless steel hinges with a choice of surface or concealed overhead closers. Its 10-foot-tall door has been certified for hurricanes by Dade County to large missile testing up to 120 pounds per square foot, with a 21-pound water capacity and a 1-inch water threshold. CDI also introduced a door that passes the 15-pound water capacity test—required for hurricane ratings—with an ADA handicap accessible threshold of ½ inch. These doors are individually hand-crafted, and can be ordered in single or double configurations, in the same color and finish options as the storefront frames.

Survivalite works to use the Citadel system to revive blighted urban areas. Some striking buildings are hidden under bars and cages. 

Survivalite is engaged in is the H Street Main Street Façade Restoration Pilot Project in Washington, D.C., managed by the Louis Dreyfus Property Group, in conjunction with Delicia Karim, vice president of business development of Indigo Engineering Group. The chairman of the H Street Main Street Board, Anwar Saleem, said he remembers window shopping up and down H Street as a boy—not something you can do much of these days through the bars, barriers, metal screens and grates. He said he wants to restore his neighborhood to the way it was in his youth—open, visible and accessible. 

The author is president of Survivalite Impact Window Systems, Tarpon Springs, Fla. He can be reached at 727/453-8019 or