Glass conference attendees focus on securing buildings

Discussions during this week’s Glass Conference in Long Beach focused on design and construction for safety and security.

The design and construction of safe and secure glass buildings was a major talking point at the National Glass Association’s glass conference this week in Long Beach, California. The Protective Glazing meeting, which is part of the Manufacturing Committee, included presentations on developments and efforts to improve the safety and security of vulnerable locations, such as schools, among various other measures.

Julie Schimmelpenningh of Eastman Chemical provided an update on the development of an Active Shooter standard within ASTM. She looked at the context that led to the need for the standard, much of which involved the growing number of school shootings. Within the NGA and its predecessor, the Glass Association of North America, initial efforts included the publication of a glass newsletter. However, Schimmelpenningh said there are still questions and difficulties specifying products even with this document. For example, while everyone would like bulletproof glass in schools, it is not feasible in all schools due to budget constraints.

She said they needed to review and analyze what was available in terms of products and what was needed in terms of various actions, such as how people enter, what weapons they use, etc. This eventually led to efforts within ASTM to develop the active shooter test standard.

Currently a work item, the standard will provide forcible entry resistance testing, as well as a rating for fenestration products. The goal is to try to simulate a weakened active fire system. For example, using impact forces to break through once glass is weakened. It will also require a range of performance options, with the understanding that it is not possible to put the highest level of performance in all settings due to budgets.

The standard went through a ballot. The comments have been reviewed and adjusted, and it’s back for a second ballot.

Industry consultant Thom Zaremba, who also received this year’s C. Gregory Carney Award, provided an update on school safety and the school’s Ad Hoc Building Safety and Security (BSS) committee. International Code Council. The group is working on a BSS report, and its efforts are not limited to schools. Instead, the focus is on all high occupancy facilities. The report aims to provide design elements, devices and protocols that impede those who intend to commit violent acts. It will also help facilitate faster and more efficient responses from emergency personnel than is currently available.

According to Zaremba, the report should encourage local jurisdictions to enact legislation requiring all new high-risk public or private occupations to undergo a BSS assessment during the planning and design phase of construction. The legislation would also require the BSS assessment to be in a written report or included as a mark-up in reviews of plans by the principal building owner. It would also require that the assessment be developed by people who are certified as accredited building safety and security accessors. The BSS report is expected to be released by the end of March for public review and comment.

Also a member of the Protective Glazing Committee, March Deschamps with Walker Glass is leading the development of a new design guide on best practices for bird-friendly glazing design, which is now published. Other new and upcoming activities include an AIA presentation on bird-friendly glass, as well as another on school safety. In addition, the committee also develops technical documents on bulletproof glazing as well as glazing for detention facilities and performance criteria for glazing subjected to seismic events.

The Glass Conference in Long Beach ended on January 26th. Check USGNN™ for more event information and updates.

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