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However, network security is not really of concern to the architect. It’s not possible to design-in network security. But in regard to physical security, this very much can and should be designed-in at an early stage. The alternative is costly, unsightly, non-integrated and therefore less-than-efficient physical security bolted-on to a finished design. And as it has not been considered at the design stage, bolted-on security can result in site management and cost issues that will invariably be carried by the building owner and passed on to any tenants.

It is often not until tenants begin to move in that security (or lack of) is scrutinised. And of course, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution when tenants may have differing security requirements or expectations. All buildings, new or old, should be risk assessed to make sure they operate safely and securely. If basic security can be integrated into the design stage, it avoids difficult and costly retrofitting of security mechanisms and, in cases where extreme levels of security are needed, minimises the impact of additional security measures.

A consistent problem Ward Security encounters when risk assessing the security of a new building arises from the modern trend of fitting oversized glass entrance and exit doors. While they look stunning and let in lots of light (no doubt a big aesthetic selling point for the designer), they are problematic to secure, particularly in properties where lots of tenants need 24-hour access to each floor. It is impractical to have an intruder alarm installed in these cases, so what tends to happen is, when security isn’t provided 24-hours, these oversized doors are secured on a single magnetic lock which, when given a good shake, are relatively easy for an intruder to open. The aesthetic of the nice big glass door suddenly becomes a vulnerability that could have serious implications for the businesses within.

What designers want and what security professionals want usually contradict. Security professionals TOMORROW’S FM | 35

crave pinch points when architects want smooth sleek lines, and this is particularly evident when it comes to the interior design of the reception area. Correct positioning of CCTV cameras is a classic example, as most are tucked up so high it alters the capability of them to work to optimum levels. They are usually positioned out of the way to avoid spoiling the aesthetic of the reception area, but they have too important a



job to be hidden away and the image quality is dramatically reduced.

We frequently encounter corporate office buildings across the country that have new reception areas which are clearly focused on presenting an extremely minimalist look and where the main consideration is on design as opposed to practicality. These often have blind spots due to a lack of security awareness, and security systems that are not designed from a ‘purpose of system’ perspective but an architectural one.

Integration between CCTV, access control, door entry and intruder alarms has never been more achievable and can significantly improve the security provision. Unfortunately, it rarely happens due to lack of consideration during the design stage, and what could be an inexpensive benefit is often a missed opportunity.

Collaboration with security experts at an early stage is the solution. It benefits the architect, who will otherwise have their design compromised by necessary changes to the building fabric such as additional trunking and security measures, and it benefits the building owner who needs adequate, easy-to-manage, effective security. Consultation with security experts can help deliver cost-effective and safer solutions, often from only very minor design changes.

If architects want justification for designing-in security they need only to consider how their designs will be compromised by bolted-on security measures. Perhaps if architects were forced to incorporate security features, eg. fences, security lighting, guard rooms, CCTV into their ‘artists impressions’ and CGI images of what the building will look like, they might work harder to design these elements in. And by incorporating integrated security they will invariably make their buildings more attractive for potential buyers – an extra selling point.

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