Customer case

Modular garages provide ballistic protection for valuable cars while demonstrating other potential uses

May 03, 2024 6 min read

Case details

Product Armox® 500T
Country Germany
Industry Steel distributors and stockholders

Looking to protect their highly valuable automobiles, some car collectors pass on the idea of a bunker-style garage as taking too long to design and build. Instead, simple, modular garages, lined with ballistic steel plates, meet all the owners’ security requirements with a stunning modern design.

Case details

Product Armox® 500T
Country Germany
Industry Steel distributors and stockholders

Modular ballistic protection solutions in an uncertain world

With random acts of vandalism, violence, and even terrorism seemingly on the rise everywhere, people are searching for readily available ways to secure their investments. In sports cars-loving Germany, several Porsche owners have recently found security and peace-of-mind for their beloved autos in an unorthodox structure: high-end modular garages lined with ballistic steel plates.

“Traditionally, someone wanting this level of ballistic protection would build a bunker-like garage,” says Ludger Weichert, Key Account Manager Protection, SSAB Swedish Steel GmbH.
 “But a typical bunker uses a lot of concrete and involves excavation. Designing the structure, moving the earth, building concrete forms, pouring and curing concrete — all of that can take months. Plus, you can end up with a garage that, no surprise, looks like a bunker.”

Thinking outside the box — by using a box

One Porsche owner approached the company Bunker Schutzraum Systeme Deutschland (BSSD) asking for a ballistic protection solution for housing his sports car. BSSD, in turn, worked with SSAB to develop a garage built like a large shipping container. 

The container’s frame is made from Strenx® 700 high-strength structural steel, then internally lined — walls, roof, and floor — with Armox® 500T ballistic steel plates. The stunning exterior is achieved by using GreenCoat® color-coated steel façades, featuring SSAB’s patented bio-based coatings. An air gap separates the GreenCoat® façade from the Armox® ballistic plate, with the Strenx® frame in between.

Ballistic protection — delivered by crane — in a modern, clean design. Shown here is one of the modular garages delivered before the owner had even decided on final driveway paving options.

Architects and real estate agents take note of ballistic garages

“These modular garages aren’t inexpensive,” notes Weichert. “For most people — myself included — it seems impractical, to say the least. But then these customers point out that their cars cost much more than that. The first time we showed the ballistic garage at a meeting of car collectors, five of them were ordered on the spot.”

While the word “container” or “modular” describes the basic design of the structures, owners are free to customize their garages as they see fit, adding man doors, electrical (from underneath the floor), bulletproof windows, etc. “We even had one customer install stylish lighting in the ceiling and floor — and a champagne bar in the back” says Weichert.

“These ballistic garages then caught the attention of real estate agents and, in turn, architects,” continues Weichert. “This is a relatively new topic for most architects: people wanting ‘panic’ or ‘safe’ rooms. Understandably, many architects aren’t familiar with ballistic steel protection plates. SSAB can act as a consultant, providing information on how to effectively include Armox® plates in new construction, or retrofits.”

“Obviously, retrofits are more complex. But, as shown in, for example, our ballistic retrofit of the Swedish embassy in Washington, DC, they’re entirely possible in many existing buildings.” 

Ballistic protection for rural security deposit lockers

The ballistic protection module may also address another security need: the lack of bank security deposit lockers (“boxes”) in rural Germany. “As banking moves more online, banks are closing many of their buildings,” states Weichert. “This includes their security deposit lockers. In rural locations, there just aren’t enough suitable existing buildings that can be fortified to protect security deposit boxes.”

“People are now working on taking our ballistic ‘modules’ — very similar to the ballistic garages — and filling them with security deposit lockers. Depending on the size of the lockers, as many as 4000 lockers could fix into one of our ballistic modules. One design uses a robotic arm that lets customers make deposits or retrieve their valuables from the security lockers in the ballistic module.”

“Of course, since these ballistic structures are modular — they typically have eyebolts installed on their roofs for cranes — the designers need to figure out a way to fix them permanently in place,” notes Weichert. “But that seems like a very solvable problem that would, however, depend on the specifics of the container’s location.”

Do you have a new or existing building project that requires ballistic protection?