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The human element plays a large role in effective multitenant security. One of the key ways to make sure you've got everybody on the same page is extensive communication.
Good communication is not only effective; it's also cheap. But that doesn't mean it's easy. The problem, say security consultants, is that everyone has to be willing to meet on a regular basis to discuss security concerns. And they have to fully understand expectations and procedures.
It's not enough just to do fire drills, says Brett Williams, facility manager, Transwestern. As an example, when a tenant in one of his buildings received a bomb threat a couple years ago, the tenant expected a far different response from police and security staff than what was received. The experience not only taught Williams some new things about security, but also about managing tenant expectations.
The need for communication isn't limited to owners and tenants. During construction, for example, it is imperative that operating staff be part of the construction meetings.
An anecdote offered by Kelly Klatt, chief executive officer for the Center for Security Solutions, illustrates what happens when operating staff aren't present in construction meetings; the story involved a hotel, but it could easily have been a multitenant office building.
On this project, the fire control room and security room were next to one another, but not connected. Had the operating staff been in the meetings, they could have stipulated the two rooms be connected via a short hallway. But that wasn't the case. As a result, the night security guard had to leave the security room with the cameras and walk around two rooms to gain access to the fire-control room. Ultimately, the situation was solved by putting a remote control panel in the security room that allowed night security staff to acknowledge alarms.