Ask the Expert: Is Security Glass Worth It?

Interview with Brad Campbell

Campbell is the CEO at Riot Glass, where he leads a team of accomplished fenestration designers in their ongoing efforts to perfect elegant yet highly effective security glazing systems. Campbell has been working in the security glazing space for over thirty years and is dedicated to the protection of his clients. 

Brad Campbell

Why aren’t all retailers opting for security glazing? 
Asset protection and loss prevention teams can sometimes have an uphill battle when   advocating for security glass upgrades on storefronts. It seems that with all the recent looting, rioting, and general pandemic-related and legislative chaos, this would be an obvious security measure every retailer would initiate, but there are some sticky points to unravel. 

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First, lets review the most recognized reasons it makes sense to upgrade to security glass. It can: 

  • Act as a deterrent 
  • Thwart forced-entry attempts 
  • Appease the insurance company 
  • Mitigate disastrous outcomes from unauthorized entry 
  • Prevent traumatizing key store employees 
  • Protect against the loss of irreplaceable items 
  • Guard against costly downtime, store damage, lost merchandise, and unsightly board ups 

These significant benefits should make security glass upgrades a very easy sell, right? Why would there be any pushback? The answers to these questions are not that simple, so it is important to address the most common concerns surrounding forced-entry glazing upgrades. 

Retail stores need to remain “on brand,” so anything that would alter the much-thought-out look of the façade is generally going to be met with stiff internal opposition.  

What features can allow LP to gain the consensus needed to protect vulnerable storefronts? 
A typical wish list from retailers entails some key features. Security glass upgrades must be: 

  • Virtually invisible with no visual “chatter”
  • Extremely clear, usually requiring low-iron glass 
  • Cost effective  
  • Easily serviceable — low or no maintenance  
  • Really effective when under intense and prolonged attacks with multiple attackers using heavy tools 

Sounds impossible, right? Until recently, there were no solutions that met all these criteria, but with the advent of new security glass and framing systems from Riot Glass, the landscape has changed. You can have your cake and eat it, too — in other words, high-level security with no appreciable change to the aesthetic. 

One of the newest
innovations in
the space is a
system called
glazing. This is a
virtually invisible
shield that is
placed in front of
the existing
glass to create
an “invisible
board up.

What is the typical process for gaining broad adoption within an organization? Most clients want to see a live demonstration to verify firsthand that the system looks as advertised and works in a real-life situation. When LP team members get to smash away on a demo, the confidence in that system exudes from them when selling upstream to key stakeholders.  

The next step is usually a test store near corporate headquarters where it can be visited after installation for final aesthetics sign-off from the C-suite. From there, we usually see the first most-troubled stores being selected in the beginnings of a broader national rollout.  

Last, the architectural team will begin to spec the system in new construction. This often requires custom design features to meet the desired look and feel of the current brand theme.  

How are these systems value-engineered? 
One of the newest innovations in the space is a system called access-denial glazing. This is a virtually invisible shield that is placed in front of the existing glass to create an “invisible board up.” Typically, in a burglary attempt the security glass, although cracked and pummeled, remains intact to protect the store. Now, instead of replacing expensive security glass, the store need only replace the unbreakable polycarbonate shield at a significantly lower cost. In most break-in attempts, the glass behind the shield is not broken, so no board up is required, and it is business as usual with only small marks where the impacts landed. 

Other innovations include unbreakable all-glass doors and frameless glass walls for interior mall and outdoor locations.  

If you havent explored storefront security glazing lately, you might be surprised to find the solutions you have always wished existed are now available and being used broadly across the U.S.  

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