Dear Glass Detective,
We are considering enhancing the safety and security of our staff in the reception area. We have a public access lobby area where our clients wait until they can be served. There is a reception counter but we are considering putting up a tasteful glass barrier that would prevent someone from jumping over the counter or throwing something at our receptionist. We do not need something that is bullet-resistant as robbery is not an issue (no cash on hand). However, we would like a level of glass protection that could resist someone throwing a chair against it. What type of glass and thickness would you suggest?
Thank you for making contact with the Glass Detective with your questions regarding possible glass suggestions for your office reception area. Specifically, you are asking what glass products might be used for your office reception area that would provide a certain level of security while still providing an acceptable appearance. You used the word “tasteful” and I believe I understand your intent.
Security has become a common topic of concern for many and glass is an important consideration when building or remodeling the public and private spaces in which we spend a great deal of our time. I think you can achieve a fairly high level of security with multi-layered laminated glass that, while not being bullet-resistant, would provide the security you are looking for.
As for your other possible concerns about appearance, this type of glass can certainly be designed and installed in a tasteful manner. While you do not indicate the size of the glass panels you may be contemplating, nor do you provide any sizes, I am very confident that an acceptable solution can be provided for you by a reputable glazing contractor. Security glazing is a very common consideration in almost all office buildings, banks, schools, libraries, currency exchanges, and pretty much all facilities that deal with cash. In these cases, they will all typically use some form of security glazing. Even in areas designated as “hurricane zones”, glass products and systems have been developed, approved and have now been in use for several years.
These types of glass products have been designed specifically for use in those geographical areas that are subject to hurricanes. They have been tested to resist intrusion even when the glass is broken by flying debris. These are basically glass products made with glass and polyvinyl inner layers. The manufacturing concept and approach is basically the same as what you would use in your office area.
These glass panels can also be made with what is known as low-iron glass which is clearer than ordinary plate glass. Low-iron glass edges can be polished to provide a crisp, clean look. There are any number of standard framing systems that can accommodate these types of glass panels. An experienced, good glazing contractor can help you with product selection, design options, and pricing. Most importantly, these systems will work for what I believe you are trying to achieve.
The glass industry has put a great deal of time and effort, not to mention capital investment, into the area of security. The last 15-20 years has seen an incredible forward movement into the security arena by the primary glass manufacturers. The products available today are attractive, reasonably priced and they work. If you have difficulty finding a glass and glazing contractor in your area, please reach back out to us and we can provide you with references. We again thank you for contacting the Glass.com Glass Detective and we wish you well with your project.