• A robust building security plan is essential and should be fit for purpose

    From my experience acting in a building security consultancy capacity, it is clear that security measures are generally taken into account when developing operational arrangements in buildings. Most buildings will have a basic CCTV and intruder system and some form of access management (whether mechanical and/or automated). However, there is often a lack of cohesiveness and many of these are added at different points of a building’s development, without clear objectives or performance criteria and as such, create a somewhat disjointed solution.

    A robust site and building security plan will remedy these issues and should feed from the baseline standards introduced via a robust security policy. This is particularly important in organisations that have multiple buildings or satellite sites so that physical and procedural measures can be installed to a consistent, minimum standard. However, the development of a building security plan is not something that can be covered in one blog as it will cover a broad range of considerations. As with any security system or programme element, it should also be audited on a regular basis to ensure it is fit for purpose and meet the changing security environment and operational needs of the building.

    Building security plans, by their nature, will obviously vary in line with the type of building, location function, operating hours etc. For example, a university teaching building will have a very different plan to a rural manufacturing area or a corporate headquarters in a large city centre. Having worked recently with a company with a series of small and unique hotels this was particularly evident. As with any security plan we took a logical approach and developed minimum, overarching standards for each physical and procedural element. This was an interesting project as each property was different in size, layout and character.

    From a physical perspective, we started from the car park, to the access/egress arrangements at various points of the building, to inner compartmentalisation and the allocation of tiered restricted space (e.g. public, resident, staff). Surveillance was considered, but only where clear objectives existed in line with the camera location and activity to be monitored. Key areas of the site or where high value assets are stored were secured and alarmed when not in use. Signage advising of security arrangements or access restrictions to an area were also recommended.

    From a procedural perspective, we looked at cash handling, closing and opening, key handling/issue/loss, locking of areas, access to areas, reporting of security concerns or incidents etc. Given the cash handling arrangements and alcohol availability on these sites, the threat of disorder, violence or robbery and the wellbeing of staff was also a high priority. Clear policies and procedures were recommended in regard to what is expected of staff in such situations. Whilst not in the scope of this particular project, we also recommended a review of emergency arrangements which is another key element of a building security plan.  It should be noted that elements such as these within an overarching security policy are the minimum standards and where an organisation has numerous sites, the specific location, threats and nuances of each building should be additionally assessed and enhanced where necessary to ensure effective management of risk.