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How to Make Your Windows Blast and Burglary Resistant

In the rapidly evolving world of security technology, the US General Services Administration (GSA) has to continuously upgrade its requirements for glass and shatter resistance. Many buildings' windows may require a little extra help in order to comply with the mandates. The updated security standards will minimize glass flight paths and the danger to tenants. Whether it's forced entry, seismic activity or even a bomb blast, an owner or landlord needs to make sure that windows don’t present a threat to tenants. The GSA has even created a set of standards for the analysis and design of windows subjected to blast loads, which you can see below.


Obviously, you’d want to have your windows have the highest protection level possible, but how do you test which windows or films are the strongest? Well, in almost Mythbusters-like fashion, Bisnow partner Campbell Window Film actually tests the strength of each of their films using a facility consisting of a concrete building with 10’ x 10’ identical rooms with windows. The Campbell specialists will set off explosions and traumas of various size in order to see how far the glass flies. Let’s check out three different scenarios.

This window has no film at all and is a “catastrophic failure,” Campbell Window Film founder Brad Campbell says. With a low protection level, he says anyone in that room would suffer life-threatening or debilitating injuries.

This window has a film placed on it, but no attachment structure. While it is a whole lot better than the first video, there’s still bits and pieces of glass that fly around the room, leading to a 3B rating.

With both a film and an attachment system to hold the glass in place, this window is so sturdy that it keeps nearly all of the bits of broken glass on the outside. Brad points out that after the positive inward blast breaks the window, the air immediately rushes back into the void of the explosion, causing a negative pressure that pulls back towards the glass and brings the glass fragments outside. This film system received a 3A rating.

Brad and the team at Campbell are constantly workshopping new films at their testing facility, to ensure they are up-to-date on emerging technologies in fenestration protection.

”We take this very seriously, and the protection and anonymity of our clients is at the forefront of our business,” he says.  

To learn more about our Bisnow partner, click here.