Recently the Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC) released changes in its criteria for Department of Defense (DoD) Antiterrorism Standards for Buildings guide UFC 4-010-01 to “establish standards that provide minimum levels of protection against terrorist attacks for the occupants of all DoD inhabited buildings.” These blast protection standards were put into place as part of the aftermath of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia in which no standards for force protection were required in fixed DoD facilities.
These UFC mandated changes are mandatory for all newly constructed DoD inhabited buildings, as well as existing buildings in which renovations cost 50% or more of the value of the building. This figure excludes the cost of window replacements to prevent them from pushing whole building renovation costs past 50%; however, all window renovations and replacements must comply by these standards.
DoD inhabited buildings subject to the UFC Antiterrorism Standards for Buildings include:
- Buildings that increase their occupancy levels (such as a warehouse converted to an office).
- Building additions of more than 50% of the existing total building.
- Leased buildings that are DoD occupied and owned or operated by US General Services Administration (GSA).
- Non-DoD Tenant Buildings on DoD Installations will be calculated assuming that building occupants are DoD personnel.
- National Guard buildings.
- Visitor Centers.
For complete list, refer to UFC 4-010-01 section 1.8.
Although window renovation costs are not to be included in calculating total building renovation costs, all window renovations and replacements must comply by UFC DoD Minimum Antiterrorism standards.
All windows in applicable DoD inhabited buildings must be able to withstand blast pressure in order to minimize hazardous flying debris, which tends to cause a significant amount of injuries even when buildings remain after an explosion. (See: UFC 4-010-01; 2-3.3 to determine blast threshold requirements*)
Meet Requirements with Laminated Glass Blast Security Windows
Thermolite provides the least expensive blast security laminated glass windows available in the US. Our blast security window system utilizes dynamic loading to prevent glass from flying into the building after a blast. The system’s patented compression release technology®:
- Allows laminated glass to move away from frame
- No transfer from the blast load to frame
- No structural reinforcement needed
- Saves time and money.
Alternative Window Systems Not Permitted Under UFC DoD Minimum Antiterrorism Standards
“Window retrofits incorporating alternative window treatments will not be considered an acceptable alternative for new buildings or existing buildings that are required to comply with these standards.”
Alternative window systems include:
- Blast film
- Blast blinds/drapes
Even for existing buildings not required to comply with these standards, alternative window systems should still be approached with caution. Window films can deteriorate due to UV radiation and only have an estimated shelf life of 10-15 years; however, their installation dates, along with their expected effectiveness at protecting against blasts, is unknown.
In comparison, laminated glass doesn’t deteriorate or have to be replaced. This leads to an approximate 20% savings over blast film or drapes.
“Furthermore, given what is known about terrorism, all DoD decision makers must commit to making smart investments with the scarce resources available and stop investing money in inadequate buildings that DoD personnel will have to occupy for decades, regardless of the threat environment.” – UFC DoD Building Standards.
Make a smart, affordable investment to bring the windows in your DoD building to and beyond the required blast levels with Thermolite’s Blast Window Systems. In addition to the estimated 20% savings over alternative window systems, our blast windows only take around 1 to 2 hours to install, making it a low-cost, high-convenience solution.
*Certain specific requirements for blast protection are prohibited from being accessible on websites that are accessible to the general public.
The Thermolite engineering staff is an innovative structural, energy modelling, and implementation team that works to create unique window systems alternatives to traditional replacement windows. Our systems protect against blasts, hurricanes, and sound, while being energy efficient and quick and easy to install. We serve a wide range of industry buildings including government, military, historical, schools and universities, financial, health care, hospitality, and offices. Contact us today to learn how we could update your building’s window systems.
Department of Defense, Unified Facilities Criteria Program