Window Vulnerability Analysis for Federal Buildings

Window Vulnerability Analysis for Federal Buildings


The General Service Administration (GSA) embarked on a program to assess and evaluate the facilities in its inventory to understand the window vulnerabilities to blast loads and to improve their resistance to attacks should they occur. ARA was tasked to evaluate numerous buildings in the GSA’s inventory.

For this project, the primary objective is to reduce the risk posed by flying glass and debris produced as window systems fail under explosively-induced blast loads. The highest goal is to reduce the risk to government employees and visitors to government facilities. A secondary goal is to reduce the damage to and loss of government property and facilities.


ARA conducted site visits of many different facilities selected by the GSA to perform window vulnerability assessments.

ARA assessed the protection performance of the exterior window systems at GSA facilities, and evaluated hazard/risk reduction measures to reduce potential hazards due to flying glass fragments in a manner consistent with the specified performance criteria.

ARA delivered draft a report for the program manager to review and provide comments.  ARA delivered the final report addressing comments and uploaded the report to the GSA Library. 

With changes and enhancements to the Interagency Security Committee (ISC) Physical Security Criteria, ARA continues to perform assessments and updates to prior assessments in light of current design-basis threats, requirements, and technologies.


The vast majority of injuries in a bombing event are typically caused by hazardous glass fragments while the majority of fatalities are caused by structural collapse.  Installing blast-resistant retrofits or replacement windows has been showed to provide substantial improvements in the protection to building occupants at a relatively low cost compared with other potential upgrades for mitigation of blast effects.

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