4  FM quick reads on security

1. Security System Design in Multitenant Buildings Requires Cooperation

This is Casey Laughman, managing editor of Building Operating Management magazine. Today's tip is that designing a security system in a multitenant building requires getting all the tenants on the same page.

After the initial information-gathering, and once there is a good understanding of the facilities and the various tenant operations, an initial common meeting of the tenants to discuss the facility's overall security needs and operations is a good beginning. Some types of tenants express particular concern about integrating systems. That's especially true of professional services tenants, such as legal and accounting firms.

The main system manufacturer often becomes an item of contention. And while there are systems that can communicate between systems, they also tend to be very expensive.

Nevertheless, integration is possible, usually via physical security information management systems. And partitioned databases, like those used for building access control, can help safeguard a tenant's client list.

Building owners might not be experts at security system integration. If not, they should look for an accredited, independent security consultant. A consultant can act as an advisor and moderate the discussion. In that case, it will be important that the consultant is hired by all parties so that there is no conflict of interest. Ultimately, the building owner and tenants might decide that greater integration of technology is needed.

Even if individual tenant systems are not integrated, getting all tenants to cooperate can yield substantial security benefits. A case in point is a package control or package pass system in the lobby of a multitenant building. The key is the tenants: They typically have to provide the person with a package pass or alert lobby security staff that a package is headed out of the building. If not, it can lead to confusion and disruption when someone leaves the building with a package, regardless of whether they're supposed to or not.

Good Communication Key Part of Security System Design

This is Casey Laughman, managing editor of Building Operating Management magazine. Today's tip is that good communication is a key part of designing a security system.

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.

Brett Williams, a facility manager for Transwestern, points out that everyone does fire drills. But there are more considerations than just fire. Things like elevator entrapment and bomb threats. may not happen very often, but the building owner has to be prepared if they do occur.

Williams says that when a tenant of his got a bomb threat a couple years ago, they received a far different response from police and security staff than they expected. The incident was a learning experience, not only about security, but also about tenants and managing expectations.

Kelly Klatt, chief executive officer for the Center for Security Solutions, advocates open lines of communication that are established from the outset of tenancy.

A joint building committee with a representative or two from each tenant can look at emergencies and evacuation considerations, as well as day-to-day concerns, like when contractors for a specific tenant will tie up the freight elevator on a weekday.

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.

Clout Can Give Facility Managers A Stronger Voice and More Security

Today's tip from Building Operating Management: Clout can give facility managers a stronger voice and more security.

Facility managers gain clout when they are recognized as valuable to top managers because of what they can offer. For facility managers in that position, some of the biggest facility management headaches go away, or at least come up less often.

For one thing, facility managers don't have to deal with so many surprises because they're aware of the plans other departments are making that will affect the facility. They are also in a position to champion facility needs. That makes it easier to get a hearing for major facility investments like replacing an aging generator.

Having clout makes the facility manager's job more stimulating and more secure. Without clout, says Stormy Friday, president of The Friday Group, "you're much more vulnerable to somebody coming in and saying, 'You know, these people don't add a great deal of value. Have you ever considered outsourcing your facility department?'"

Not everyone in facility management is comfortable with the term clout. These facility managers and consultants prefer "influence," "credibility" or "respect." It's true those terms don't come with the baggage that "clout" brings. But none implies so clearly the ability to get things done.

There's nothing magic about clout. It's not as if facility managers who have it always get their way, and it certainly isn't a license for facility managers to throw their weight around. But clout does give facility managers a chance to be heard when it counts — when decisions are being made that have important ramifications for a specific facility or for the entire real estate portfolio.

"If you have clout, you can explain to senior executives why sustainability is important, why contingency planning is important," says Friday. "You can then influence decisions about resource deployment."

This has been a Building Operating Management Tip of the Day. Thanks for listening.

Multitenant Buildings Have Multiple Security Needs

This is Casey Laughman, managing editor of Building Operating Management magazine. Today's tip is that multitenant buildings have multiple security needs.

Things can get sticky when it comes to securing multitenant office buildings. That's because the security systems building owners install for the base building must meet not only the owners' needs, but also the expectations of tenants.

To prevent problems, focus on more than technology. One key to security in multitenant buildings is also the oldest, lowest-tech option available: Talking. Experts say that good communication between owner and tenants is the foundation for effective security in multitenant office buildings. Newcomb & Boyd associate partner David Duda says that one reason communication is so important is that different tenants often want different levels of security, says David Duda, associate partner at Newcomb & Boyd. While some may want significant screening of visitors and deliveries, others may have little concern for screening.

If those tenant desires aren't well understood and considered, the owner runs the risk of inadvertently causing tenant dissatisfaction. Face to face communication can go a long way toward alleviating problems.

As an example, government buildings frequently contain several government departments or agencies, and these tenants may well have different needs and require different systems. What's more, the tenant systems often communicate with different locations off-site. A common challenge is getting information needed to design the security system from the different entities in a timely manner.

Duda says one solution is a "security summit meeting" that pulled together representatives from each government department and agency involved in the project. He says his team mounted floor plans for each area on the walls of the conference room and went from tenant to tenant and floor-by-floor through the building until they had the information needed to implement the specific security measures in each area.


security , multitenant security , multitenant buildings

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