As security threats continue to escalate around the world, demand for greater threat resistance in buildings increases at the same rapid rate. What formerly was a priority mainly in diplomatic and military facilities now extends not just to high-risk facilities, but to critical infrastructure like data centers, power generation plants, oil and gas centers and equipment, chemical manufacturing and transport, and centers of water supply and mass transit.
Many other organizations, both public and private, are also seeking to incorporate higher levels of building protection into their physical security plans for commercial, financial, and educational centers. Since the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City, and even more intensively after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the safety of buildings and their occupants has become a concern in virtually every building type.
Fenestration in buildings — glazing, windows, doors, louvers, hatches, and other components — can be a key vulnerability, and thus it is an essential element of design for threat resistance. This course focuses on methods of understanding and responding to today’s most urgent physical threats: explosive blasts, ballistics, and forced entry.
The information here can guide professionals in asking the right questions about fenestration products and design, and can help define levels of protection for people and property so that the products can become a positive part of the architectural design and overall function of the building.
Continuing Education Learning Objectives
After reading this article, you should be able to:
- Describe the methodology used to limit or manage risks to facilities.
- Discuss at least three major criminal/terrorist threats to facilities.
- Define the typical severity and product resistance levels for these threats, with a focus on fenestration systems.
- Examine combined threat resistance and the challenges of designing to this criteria.