Many times, when performing a vulnerability assessment or gap analysis for a client, I think of how much time and money could have been saved by starting the process during the building’s design phase, before it’s ever constructed. When we do an assessment, we evaluate the facility’s needs and identify any gaps in their physical security barriers and policies and procedures. Consulting with a security specialist in the early design stages is relatively new in the AEC industry, but here are four reasons everyone should be doing it:
Increased building security. Obviously, having a security consultant review design plans and performing vulnerability assessments will increase your security. But beyond the placement of cameras and bollards, the report could show where you need 3M ballistic film on glass windows and partitions, as well as a crime analysis that shows how safe your employees will be in your chosen neighborhood.
Cost savings. Security systems that require extensive wiring, like external cameras and mass notification systems, are significantly cheaper to install during construction than after a project is completed. Any changes made during the design phase could save owners tens of thousands - if not hundreds of thousands - of dollars compared to adding security features after the fact.
Aesthetics integration. When we consult with the architect at the beginning, we’re able to keep the intended aesthetics intact due to the ability to integrate the security components seamlessly within the design. This includes such things as the location and installation of wiring, the correct selection of 3M security film, and the placement of bollards.
Custom support. Once your systems are in place and functioning properly, you’ll still need your security consultant to troubleshoot any problems that come up, train your employees on how to use the system, and provide advice on any physical or cybersecurity threats you encounter. A consultant who has been involved from the very beginning can deliver customized training and support for your systems.
A design-phase security assessment for a new facility also might suggest a location change if crime is more prevalent near the site than originally thought.
While these are the most common benefits of consulting a security expert early on, even more benefits can be realized based on the unique security needs and characteristics of each individual project. Regardless of the project, however, early security integration allows you to know what precautions should be considered for your facility before it’s too expensive – or too late – to meet your needs.