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4  FM quick reads on Security

1. Talk With Tenants About Security Needs

Today's tip is to remember that one key to security in multitenant buildings is also the oldest, lowest-tech option available: Talking. One reason communication is so important is that different tenants often want different levels of security, says David Duda, associate partner at Newcomb & Boyd.

"Some may want significant screening of visitors and deliveries prior to their entry onto the property; others may have little concern for the screening that takes place," he says. "Some tenants may feel that the act of screening is too invasive and may drive off clients or customers."

Face-to-face communication can go a long way toward alleviating problems. Government buildings frequently contain several departments or agencies, says Duda, 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.

On one project, says Duda, the solution was a "security summit meeting" that pulled together representatives from each government department and agency involved in the project. "We 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 we had reached a consensus as to the specific security measure to be implemented in each area," says Duda.

Once tenants had bought into the conceptual aspect, specific technologies could be chosen.

Another important step is to delineate building procedures and security systems with the tenant. One frequent issue, according to Fred Miller, president of Security Resources Group, is that a building owner's procedure for adding or deleting people to and from the lobby security database is not kept up-to-date.

Suppose an employee leaves a tenant firm but the tenant never updates the database. "There might be 3,000 people in the building but 5,000 people who have access to the building because their access privileges weren't removed promptly," Miller says. "It's a common problem."

Situations like that show why it's so important that owners stipulate security system expectations from their tenants. Informing tenants and clearly spelling out lease requirements — terms and conditions, too — is part of the owner's obligation.

2.  Audit May Improve Building Security

Today's tip is to do a security audit for your building. In its simplest terms, a building security audit looks for threats that could disrupt a facility and its operations, such as attacks on employees or visitors; damage to facility components or systems; and damage to the area around the facility.

A building security audit should identify possible entry points for disruption, and it should allow facility personnel to plan for physical changes or to develop a response plan. These areas are not necessarily sequential; they are starting points that allow a manager or security specialist to begin the process.

Managers also will need to assess whether the facility houses a controversial activity and whether a disruption would affect more than just the facility and its occupants. They can address many threats by using perimeter solutions, which keep unauthorized people far enough away from a facility to minimize damage. Identifying threats requires that managers know about activities going on in their buildings. Talking with occupants regularly will help identify potential threats.

An audit also should consider a building's access points. Access points are those facility areas at which a facility's security and safety can be breached. The most obvious access point is a door or operable window at or near grade level. Other access points include fresh-air intakes; utilities, such as water, sewer and electric service; roofs; adjacent facilities; and the Internet.

A receptionist or security guard can staff public entrances, and cameras can record activity and assist in identifying a threat. Also, cameras and door-open detectors can monitor private entrances, emergency exits and windows.

Often, consultants can lead an audit, but the organization must provide site-specific details. Facility managers understand the construction and operation of buildings. They know the weak points, and the effects on operations of shutting down building systems.

3.  Security Film Offers Options For Windows

Today's tip is to consider security film for windows. Window security film is very different from solar film. Though some security film will block solar radiation, its primary purpose is to prevent shards of flying glass from injuring occupants if the window breaks. 

At 4 to 14 mil, security film is significantly thicker than solar control film, which is generally 1.5 to 2 mil thick. While solar control film is applied only to the part of the window that is visible, security film is installed into the window system itself by a process known as anchoring.

Two types of anchoring are available, known as wet-glazed and mechanical installations. A wet-glazed installation involves removing the rubber around the window from the gasket and replacing it with a structural silicon sealant that fills the space between the window and the frame. A mechanical attachment involves overlapping the film around the edges of the window and securing the film with bolts to an internal frame. Both methods are meant to ensure that the film will hold glass fragments together and to prevent the entire window unit from becoming dislodged and sent into a building’s interior.

Shattered glass can be a risk to buildings that may not be a target for a bomb blast, but are in the vicinity of a building that is. If a threat assessment shows high-profile targets nearby, applying security film to the windows might make sense to protect against residual blast effects.

The value of security film has been recognized by the federal government, especially after 9/11, says Daniel Leclair, a security consultant with SAKO Associates. "All government buildings have some type of window film or protective glazing on the windows," Leclair says. "The majority of federal buildings have wet-glazed film application as a requirement.”

Security film is also a recognized benefit in hurricane-prone areas like Florida. The Protecting People First Foundation studied the performance of window film during recent hurricanes. Among the findings: In one high-rise condominium, some windows were protected by 8 and 12 mil security film; others had no film. None of the windows that had film were damaged, while some unprotected windows did sustain damage.

Most manufacturers' warranties are for five to 10 years. Check not only the length of the warranty, but also whether it covers removal of any failed product and reinstallation.

4.  Access-Control Technology Offers Enhanced Protection

I'm Steve Schuster, associate editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic discusses building security. More than ever, the general public is demanding that institutional and commercial facilities provide greater security and access control to all areas inside and outside of buildings. In response, maintenance and engineering managers are paying greater attention to new products and technologies that can enhance the protection of buildings, occupants, and operations.

A new generation of electronic access-control technology offers managers the opportunity to enhance security of and control access to facilities — provided their technicians specify and maintain these products and systems properly.

From planning and design to implementation, maintenance, and training, all stages of an access control and bar-code system are equally important to ensure long-term and reliable performance. The two most common mistakes related to bar-code systems are setting an unrealistic timetable for installing the system and not fully explaining system capabilities to building occupants.

Managers who avoid these mistakes can ensure greater system reliability and fewer maintenance needs. The smooth introduction of the systems also will boost occupants' confidence in the technology, the organization's management, and the manufacturers and vendors of the equipment.


Security , multitenant building , communication , meeting , lobby security database

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