Working With Convention Centers
Convention centers are a key commercial focal point in most large U.S. cities. The top 40 convention centers are located in the country’s most populated cities. Some cities – Las Vegas  and Houston  – have more than one in the top 40.
What do all these convention centers have in common? For one, they host conventions and other events that put thousands of people inside their venues at any given time. Also, many of these state-of-the-art buildings feature a lot of glass in their designs.
The combination of high volume visitor events and exposed glass leave the buildings exposed to potential terrorist attacks and foul weather events. The issue, specifically, is that when large areas of glass are impacted by a bomb or bullets or gale force winds, the glass shatters and flies through the air, becoming weapons that can maim or kill people in large numbers.
This is exactly what happened on April 15, 1995, after a bomb planted in a rental truck detonated in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. The bomb blast killed 168 people and injured 680. A number of those killed and many of the injured were the result of flying glass shards from the federal building and buildings located blocks away.
As a result of this horrific incident, film companies began developing security films that, when properly installed, keep glass in place during catastrophic terrorist and weather events.
In Houston, in 2005, after Hurricane Rita damaged a number of buildings and terrorist threats were a concern, city officials hired Commercial Window Shield to protect more than 2,500 windows in the city’s George R. Brown Convention Center. Several years earlier, Commercial Window Shield installed security window at the Houston Transit Authority headquarters building. During Hurricane Rita, those windows held while windows in other nearby buildings shattered. City officials took notice and decide to protect the glass in its convention center, one of the country’s busiest.
It takes an experienced shatter resistant window film installation company to take on convention center projects. One of the challenging aspects of such projects is the busy convention schedules, which means the security film installation companies have develop flexible and creative schedules to complete the project.
Also, conventions centers often feature large amounts of glass that sometimes is hard to reach. The Houston convention center is a case in point. Some of the windows were 80 feet above ground level.
Commercial Window Shield engineers designed an elaborate pulley system with chairs attached to the cable, an articulating boom lift, and a plank scaffolding system that enabled installers to access the glass. In all, the company installed more than 56,000 square feet of fragment retention security window film.
More recently, the company was hired by the Washington Convention Center for a window film installation project not involving security window film. Rather, the issue at the Washington building was a glaring sun control problem. Commercial Window Shield’s assignment involved two different types of window film installation:
- Install 42,000 square feet of solar control film to correct heat gain, glare and fading issues involving interior content
- Install 7,500 square feet of anti-bird strike film on a glass street bridge corridor of the building that is a regular bird fly-through zone.
As with the Houston project, the Washington Convention Center project required Commercial Window Shield engineers to construct special scaffolding to reach some hard-to-reach windows at high elevations. And, also like in Houston, the company had to work off hours around a busy convention schedule in order to complete the project.
As threats of terrorism continues and foul weather events continue to occur at an alarming rate, the nation’s convention centers likely will begin following the lead of Houston and begin protecting their windows with security film installation. A number of them also might consider the energy savings to be gained by the Washington Convention Center by installing solar control window film to correct sun control issues.