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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.


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