Health clubs: strategies for protecting store fronts and buildings from damage

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Far too often you see on the news where a vehicle is accidentally driven through a store front, causing damage to the building and equipment inside, and health clubs are not immune. One example involved a driver losing control of the car which ran into the club, destroying the front plate glass window. Glass shattered everywhere and lodged into some equipment, causing it not to run properly. Ultimately, damages exceeded $90,000 and resulted in weeks of repairs.

Parking stops can provide minimal protection for building structures. These can serve as visual and sensory deterrents. While parking stops may not stop a car completely, they are better than having nothing at all.

Additional steps you can consider involve the following:

  • Install concrete-filled metal post or bollards so they protect store fronts from vehicle impact. Space bollards no more than three feet apart in front of store fronts and along building sides that have accessible parking.
  • Place large vases or painted boulders in front of your building so a car does not have direct access to it.
  • Position jersey barriers (used to separate traffic lanes on highways) in front of your club. When properly anchored, these barriers can stop a 4,000 pound vehicle traveling at 50 mph. You can also place large, concrete planters filled with dirt in front of your business.

Whichever method you choose, use reflective tape or paint barriers and parking stops in a bright color to be sure they are always visible.

If you lease the property, consider having a discussion with your landlord regarding the benefits of protecting the property from out-of-control vehicles. The landlord may offer help with the overall cost due to the benefit they can also receive. You can also check with your local fire department for additional protection ideas.


American Society for Testing and Materials F2276-10(2015), Standard Specification for Fitness Equipment, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2015


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