Standards Help Small Business Go Global

Quality and Opportunities with Correctional Facility Standards

In the construction of commercial buildings, safety is critical. But in prisons and jails, it’s not a matter of whether a riot or disturbance is going to occur; it’s when and how bad it will be. It’s not a matter of whether a fire is going to break out or be set intentionally; it’s a matter of when and how bad it will be.

At Habersham Metal Products Co. in Cornelia, Ga., we use test methods developed by ASTM Committee F33 on Detention and Correctional Facilities to determine the suitability of the designs and the fabrication techniques of construction components used for detention security applications. These test methods simulate real-world abuse and attack scenarios that can and do occur inside detention and correctional facilities.

Because of the critical nature of our products, avoiding the cost and liability consequences resulting from in-service product failure is the most important benefit that Habersham realizes from strict adherence to F33 standards. The products and systems that we produce and that Committee F33 addresses must perform — if they don’t, death and destruction are the result, not to mention probable escape of inmates and the associated threat to the public.

Standards developed by Committee F33 are commonly written into product and system specifications for the new construction and renovation of municipal, state and federal detention and correctional facilities. There are also several test methods referenced in F33 standards that are written into state and local building codes as well as the International Building Code. Architectural firms write these standards into their specifications for major international projects. Consequently, companies such as Habersham that have documented compliance with these standards have been approved to bid on detention and correctional facility projects throughout the world. In the last two years in particular, Habersham has been awarded major projects in Mexico and Canada as well as throughout the United States.

Habersham relies on F33 standards to benchmark new product and system designs. New designs may include various material types and thicknesses as well as new and innovative fabrication methods. Since we have our own calibrated and laboratory-certified testing equipment in-house, we are able to conveniently run and test samples on a regular basis to confirm the suitability of new designs. The result is that we can create the best value for facility owners and operators by taking these innovations to them via specification revision recommendations along with the required documentation of compliance with these standards.

Habersham does more than use ASTM International standards — our employees have participated in detention and corrections standards development through involvement and leadership in Committee F33 since 1980. We have discovered that, by leading the way in standards development, we have the opportunity to learn from architects, owner representatives and other industry professionals regarding the needs that must be addressed to improve security inside facilities.

By participating on ASTM Committee F33, business opportunities are created through joint product and system development and innovation as well as from the networking that keeps everyone abreast of the latest developments in the corrections industry. Participation in ASTM is an excellent way to give back to the industry that we all serve, and that is very important for its continuing growth and development.

James (Jim) Stapleton joined Habersham Metal Products Co. in 1972 and has served as president and CEO since 1989. He has been a member of ASTM since 1980, having served as chairman of Committee F33 on Detention and Correctional Facilities and continuing to serve as chairman of Subcommittees F33.02 on Physical Barriers and F33.91 on Technical Subcommittees.

Habersham Metals

Cornelia, Georgia

Manufacturer of detention and commercial security doors, frames and windows, as well as wall panel and ceiling systems.

Market: Global

Revenue: $18 million

Number of Staff: 110

ASTM Technical Committees with Habersham Representation:

  • E54 on Homeland Security Applications
  • F12 on Security Systems and Equipment
  • F33 on Detention and Correctional Facilities
  • This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.