FE/BR (also interchangeable with FEBR) is an acronym for Forced Entry and Ballistic Resistant, sometimes referred to as Forced Entry and Bullet Resistant. It is used to describe the protective qualities of a number of high security building products including wall systems, louvres and high security doors. FEBR windows are tested not only for how they withstand various levels of force inflicted by people and breaching tools but also how well they protect against various types of ballistic assault.
FEBR windows are designed to protect against people armed with tools attempting to forcibly open the window and projectiles fired from weapons with the goal of disabling or destroying the window.
The most common materials used in the manufacture of FEBR windows are steel, aluminum, wood and composites like fiberglass. The gauge of the material, the thickness and composition of the window glass, and the quality of the hardware all determine the length of time a window can withstand a given threat.
Because of the ballistic threat component required by certified FE/BR windows, they typically use more resilient metal and glass as well as more robust hardware to withstand the force of a bullet or other projectile fired from military-grade weapons. This additional ballistic specification makes FEBR windows a welcome deterrent for use in high threat locations like military bases, refineries and government buildings that are more likely to become targets of hostile attacks. FEBR windows also have applications where sensitive or valuable inventory, information or data is located, stored or vulnerable to “smash ‘n’ grab” thefts. These could include:
There are several test standards designated for FE/BR products. Some of the most consistently used standards are:
Perhaps the most common tests for FE/BR windows are the Rev G, ASTM F3038 and the UL 752 standards. The latter is only a ballistic test, while both Rev G and F3038 include a forced entry requirement along with a less comprehensive ballistic test component.
Rev G has a 7.62mm and a 5.56mm rifle test as well as a 12-gauge shotgun test for its ballistic standard. Additionally, it requires passing an extremely rigorous forced entry protocol encompassing three important criteria:
Rev G is a timed test designed to simulate a mob attack by attempting to forcibly enter or breach a building whether during a terrorist attack, criminal heist or rioting/looting event. Rev G designates three timed interventions as benchmarks:
The test’s running clock is stopped when the attackers penetrate an opening adequate enough for the standard “test item” to be passed through the window or the window is completely disabled to allow entry.
SD-STD-01.01 Rev G has a very daunting and comprehensive tool list:
Sledgehammer, Carpenter hammer, Wood splitting maul, Wood ax, Crowbar, Wood splitting wedge, Hacksaw, Keyhole saw, Bolt cutters, Cold chisel, Masonry chisel, Flat blade screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver, Channel locks, Adjustable wrench, Propane torch, Vice grip, Wood broom handle.
F3038 is a similar test standard to Rev G but differs in that a 6-person team always conducts the attack. Additionally, there are four timed test levels instead of three: 5-minute, 15-minute, 30-minute and 60-minute.
The UL 752 standard is routinely considered the gold standard in measuring ballistic resistance for windows and doors. UL 752 protection levels range from 1 to 8 (from lowest to highest protection). Level 1 glass is rated to resist gunfire from small caliber weapons. A Level 8 rating would be appropriate for protection against attackers armed with high caliber rifles like an AK-47.
UL 972 Standard for Burglary Resisting Glazing Material tests the strength of the glass when attacked physically rather than being shot at. A test platform secures the glass horizontally. A five-pound metal ball is then dropped from eight feet when testing an exterior window. The distance is increased to 10 vertical feet when testing an interior window. A 40-foot drop is required for simulating high-energy impacts. The window passes only if there is no penetration of the glass.
As a general rule, the more robust protective materials needed to manufacture FEBR windows make them more expensive than “consumer” windows traditionally used for retail and office building applications.
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