Does The Security Industry Need To Be More Transparent About Glass?

Retail Security/March 2019

It’s a situation we’ve seen time and time again. A jeweller’s window has been damaged – more often than not by a drunken vandal on a Friday night, than a determined career criminal.

But the unsightly splintering is deterring customers and the owner wants the glass replaced yesterday. The high grade, cut to purpose, security glass the client has in their window will take up to four weeks to be installed once it’s been ordered.

So the jeweller then calls another glazier, one that doesn’t have the breadth of knowledge of a specialist security glass provider. And yes the glazier has “security glass” in stock and it’s a lot cheaper than what has been quoted by the security specialist. But unbeknown to the jeweller it’s not only an inferior type of glass, that can easily be penetrated but one that’s likely to invalidate their insurance…

 

Listening to your needs 

Like many aspects of security, glass has seen incredible technological developments in recent years. However, salon owners aren’t always aware of the various types that are available. What’s more alarming is that they could have paid for “security glass” that is highly ineffective. Unfortunately, this is often down to the security or glazing company they have used – companies that are more interested in forcing their off the shelf product on the client, rather than listening to the client’s specific needs and creating a bespoke solution that meets all their requirements.

To start with, the priority for you as a retailer is generating interest in your products and drawing customers in. So any security provider you work with needs to be one that shares your aims – providing security that blends in, while adequately protecting your luxury goods, without detracting customers.

 

Not all “security glass” is created equal

Advancements in glass technology means that there are a variety of solutions available to retailers, whether they are looking to protect a display case or the entire shop front. Historically, 11.5mm anti-bandit glass was the standard glazing used on shopfronts. This comprised of two sheets of 5mm glass, either side of 1.5mm polyvinyl butyral (glue to the layman). However, while this glass was quite freely available, its reputation as a security glass left a bit to be desired. During our own testing, using simple hand tools, we were able to penetrate this glass and widen out a hole, big enough to remove goods from a display in a matter of seconds.

So, what are the alternatives? BS EN356 and latterly LPS 1270 have driven standards in the right direction and typically P7b and the LPS equivalent is now being specified more often by insurers. Now, at last, we are getting into a situation where the glazing offers a good level of protection for jewellers and luxury brand businesses.

A better and more user-friendly version is glass polycarbonate construction. Lighter and more flexible than PVB – for example, polycarbonate glass to P7b standard would only have to be approximate 12mm thick compared to around double that for glass pvb. So obviously a lot lighter, easier to install within existing and new shopfronts and slightly easier on the eye due to being comparatively thinner. The drawback is that glass polycarbonate is more expensive and can be slightly restrictive in terms of the sheet size.

 

“Our best-selling product is…”

So which type of glass would we recommend to you? Well, that all depends on your needs. You should take it as a given that the solutions we provide meet the requirements set by your insurer. But other than that, we work from a blank canvas. We don’t have a restrictive product range that you have to choose from and shoehorn into your workspace.

We’ll come to your premises and conduct an in-depth survey, to get a full understanding of the look and feel that is required and then provide security that seamlessly blends in.

Having worked with everyone from luxury jewellers to foreign embassies over the last few decades, we can devise creative solutions to unique problems. Whether it’s a listed building with strict planning restrictions or a minimalist luxury boutique that needs to retain its feeling of openness and space, we work to your specifications, rather than expecting you to work to ours.

As Peter Terry, TSI’s CEO, says: “Other companies will say ‘here’s our off the shelf design’. I don’t think that’s the way to go. It comes back to how it’s going to look and how well it blends into the shop display.”

 

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