As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to moderate and corporate America returns to a modified version of the pre-pandemic era, there has been a considerable uptick in the country’s convention business.
Convention centers are being booked again and although attendance is down from 2019 – the last year prior to the pandemic – organizers are optimistic the worst is behind and that the special events business will regain its momentum over the next several years.
Aside from the pandemic, the social and environmental landscape has changed in a number of ways over the past few years. These developments have given convention center facilities managers and their security directors reasons to consider the best ways to secure their buildings. Additionally, since most convention centers feature large areas of glass, which if left unprotected can present significant security issues.
One proven solution to protecting convention centers from civil unrest or catastrophic weather threats is to have security window film installed on all of the building’s glass.
This is exactly what management at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston did after a hurricane struck the city, causing considerable damage. Soon after the convention center had more than 56,000 sq. ft. of security film with a wet glaze attachment system installed on more than 2,500 windows. The film and attachment system hold the glass in place even during intense storms with high winds.
In cities with convention centers where civil unrest or terrorist acts are possible, the installation of security window films, also known as shatter resistant window films, prevent glass from shattering and sending shards flying through the air. These flying shards of glass can cause catastrophic injuries. This was the case in 1995 in the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City by a domestic terrorist. More than 160 people died and nearly 700 injured, many of them by flying glass shards.
Other types of window films have been used by convention centers to correct other issues. Such was the case at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the nation’s capital. Over a period of several years, the center had solar control window film installed to correct heat, glare and fading issues with furniture, carpet and artwork; had installed switchable smart window film on interior office and conference room windows; had privacy film installed on the windows in two new office areas for employees; and had anti-bird strike film installed on a section of the building that is a regular fly-through zone for birds.
As the country’s convention centers begin filling up again, building managers likely will be taking closer look at ways in which to protect – and improve – their buildings. One solution is the installation of window films. Commercials window film installation is a highly specialized industry, so convention center managers will want to hire companies that are experienced and have a successful track record of window film installation on a large scale.