Guard shack or guardhouse? No matter what you call them, these access control points and security facilities can play an important role in the overall safety of both your property and personnel.

However, if you’ve never had one—or are in the process of upgrading an existing building—it can be challenging to know exactly what to look for or even what’s available.

As an industry leader producing modular, hardened, and robust buildings, our team at CoverSix has worked with clients worldwide who, at one point or another, have found themselves in a similar situation when it comes to access contol.

To help point you in the right direction, we’ve compiled the answers to some of the most common questions regarding guard shacks. If we missed something, feel free to contact us directly, and we’d be happy to tell you everything we know.

What exactly is a modular guard shack?

Well, they can be anywhere. For example, you may have seen a guard shack (or secure access point) at amusement parks, athletic stadiums, manufacturing facilities, or military outposts. These unique, freestanding buildings control access to a site while providing a secure perimeter to protect everything—and everyone—on the other side.

Guard shacks can be as simple as the ticket-taking booth found outside a parking garage or as complex as a multiple-story building, complete with an observation deck. You can get a guard shack to meet virtually any need, no matter how big or small.

Like all modular buildings, modular guard shacks are built entirely offsite as individual modules, which can then be combined to create a larger facility based on the needs of the client.

How big are they?

Guard shacks are available in all shapes and sizes. Like most modular building manufacturers, CoverSix offers a few standard sizes:

  • 5'x5'
  • 5'x8'
  • 5'x10'
  • 7'x7'
  • 8'x10'
  • 8'x20'

If that’s not what you’re looking for, some manufacturers—CoverSix included—can create a completely custom building to meet your unique needs, whether that means a small, one-level facility or a large, multi-story complex.

What makes them blast-, ballistic- or resistant to forced entry?

To be clear, not all guard shacks are blast-, ballistic-, or forced-entry resistant. If that is something required for your site, it is important that you find a reputable manufacturer—one willing to share both the results of their independent blast tests and any other data used to back up their claims.

Blast-resistant guard shacks

As their name implies, “blast-resistant” buildings are structures that have been specifically designed and engineered to withstand a significant blast event. These buildings are often constructed with thick steel walls and interior features and fixtures designed to withstand the heightened psi levels of small to large explosions. Beyond that, manufacturers can employ different structural designs and materials to achieve the desired blast response.

Ballistic-resistant guard shacks

In terms of ballistic resistance, it is wise to note that you’ll sometimes hear the term “bulletproof” thrown around, but that’s a misnomer. Bulletproof implies that the material is 100 percent non-penetrable—regardless of the projectile, type of weapon, or distance from which the projectile was fired, or the number of times the material is hit.

And, unfortunately, that just doesn’t exist.

The best any modular building manufacturer can do is use exterior building materials that can withstand the impact of a projectile—providing a level of protection that would give its occupants the chance to escape to a safer location.

Forced-entry resistant guard shacks

Lastly, to be deemed “forced-entry resistant,” it all comes down to how a facility’s doors are constructed and the materials used. At CoverSix, we utilize steel construction because it can withstand a high level of pressure waves while remaining fire-resistant. Steel doors also resist expansion better than doors made of other materials because steel bends and absorbs pressure—thus minimizing hazards and extending durability. 

All three: Blast Resistance, Ballistic Resistance, and Resistance to Forced Entry

To be clear, you don’t have to settle for just one of the three types of protection listed above. Some modular building manufacturers—including CoverSix—can build a structure to protect its occupants from all three. But, as mentioned before, the important thing is to go with a manufacturer who can back up their claims with science. 

What features are available?

You name it, and your guard shack can have it. At CoverSix, we’ve built many types of secure access points, like simple checkpoint facilities or complex multi-section visitor control centers, complete with brick façades, kitchenettes, and restrooms.

Some commonly available features include:

  • HVAC
  • Data outlets
  • Weapon turrets
  • Observation towers
  • Turnstiles
  • Surveillance systems

And multi-section guard shacks can include some (or all) of the following:

  • Locker rooms
  • Control rooms
  • Individual workstations
  • Kitchenettes
  • Restrooms
  • And more

How long is the production process, and how much do they cost?

As with most modular buildings, modular guard shacks are built in a fraction of the time it takes to construct a brick and mortar building, and they are usually significantly less expensive.

If you purchase a guard shack that a manufacturer has in their lease-ready fleet, you could be up and running in just days.

However, if your needs dictate a completely customized building, it’s a little trickier to nail down a timeline. A timeline for a custom project will be based on things like a building’s size, design complexity, material availability, and approval processes. Simple, single-unit buildings could be ready in a matter of weeks, while large multi-section complexes could take months, or the better part of a year.

The best way to find out the potential cost and timeline for your project is to talk directly to a modular building manufacturer.

In closing

Guard shacks (or guardhouses) are your first line of defense; your choices in the matter can ultimately determine the safety of everyone and everything you hold valuable. Modular construction offers the perfect combination of strength, flexibility, and customization, all with a lower price tag and shorter production time when compared to a traditional brick and mortar building.

To learn more about guard shacks, or to hear what options are available through CoverSix, contact us today.