08/01/2003

Balancing Acts

Security Trends in High-Rise Buildings

 

What is a Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Plan?

 

By Van Carlisle

 

Every facility, large or small, needs a Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) plan. It guides the actions to be taken by facilities managers and other company officials.

The most essential component of the BC/DR plan is the identification and protection of vital records. All facilities managers should embark on a proactive, rather than a reactive, approach to disaster preparation “especially with respect to vital records. If a vital record is lost, damaged, destroyed, or otherwise rendered unavailable, that loss becomes a disaster-within-a-disaster, affecting critical operations needed to recover from the initial disaster. Therefore, protection of vital records should be the main priority “after the protection of human life “for contingency and recovery efforts when an incident occurs.

To develop a vital records protection strategy, you must first assess the threats to your vital records. The first step is to identify specific risks, such as: facility and equipment hazards that can result in flooding to records storage areas, risky storage practices that increase the risk of fire, and periodic electric storms or tornados that could endanger digitally stored vital records. With electronic data you also need to consider poor care or storage, including simple things, such as spilled coffee or poor handling.

The common element in each mitigation strategy, however, is ensuring high levels of fire and security protection in storage containers and spaces, whether you choose on-site or off-site storage. Some potential approaches for protection of vital records include:

  • On-site fire-rated vault.
  • Safe or file cabinet.
  • Off-site storage at another location of the organization.
  • Storage at a vendor that specializes in off-site vital records storage.

The overwhelming trend is that companies are increasingly shifting to a combined on-site/off-site approach. Even with this combined approach, the emphasis, however, is on on-site storage, for many reasons, including quicker retrieval, lower cost, and increased control.

The question remains: How do you ensure your vital records are secure while they remain on-site? The answer: Keep daily backup copies on-site in a secure, fire-protected location, in a fire-resistant file or vault; and for archival records, supplement that backup with off-site copies. In the process of doing due diligence while researching off-site options, ensure that you get a complete understanding of all charges.

 

Some additional factors to consider with an off-site approach:

  • Distance “should be far enough away from the organization to ensure that a major disaster would not heavily impact both locations.
  • Accessibility “decent access roads, 24-hour access, and accessible within a reasonable period of time so that records can be obtained quickly.
  • Safety “high-risk areas, i.e., proximity to airports, railroads, chemical plants, flood plains, tornado belts, should be avoided.
  • Level of Service “some vendors provide courier service, photocopying, notary services, conference rooms, tape rotation, cleaning, maintenance, and destruction.
  • Security “rural and low-traffic areas can be more secure and easier to guard.

Recently, facilities managers have been shaken from their false sense of security about the need to evaluate and or implement a vital records program. It doesn't have to be a terrorist-related attack; it can be a simple case of a disgruntled destructive employee, or a fire, flood, or other natural disaster. The key for facilities managers is to involve themselves in the planning and development of a BC/DR strategy with a strong element of vital records protection before something happens. Once in the throes of a disaster, it's far too late.

 

Van Carlisle is the president/CEO of FireKing (www.fireking.com), headquartered in New Albany, IN, one of the premier security and loss prevention companies in the nation.

Reigning over Chicago's fabled skyline, the Sears Tower is still considered by some to be the world's tallest building. A thriving tourist center and economic powerhouse, the Sears Tower is an attraction in every sense of the word.

As the owner of a signature building, Trizec Properties felt the need to ramp up its security to protect its tenants and visitors. The sweeping changes to harden its structure represent growing security trends among high-rise facilities, in general.

Tens of thousands of employees, visitors, and shoppers regularly stream into the Sears Tower's bustling lobby. The tower's security department has always been interested in having the most advanced security system and researching the latest technology. Before the tragic events of September 11th, the building owner was in the process of changing from an analog video system to a digital system.

In the aftermath of September 11th, the tenants demanded a security upgrade. The project's challenges were that the project needed to be completed within a tight deadline and with a minimal amount of disruption to the large volume of building occupants “all while maintaining an open feel to the retail environment.

Analysis and Implementation

The building team collaborated with an independent security consultant who performed a thorough facility review and issued a report. Carlos Villarreal, director of security, Trizec Properties, Chicago, credits the company's vendor-partner, Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls, with helping to implement the recommendations from that report and to incorporate the new security equipment and technology into the facility's existing systems. Johnson Controls, which provided the facility's access control system, has been working with the Sears Tower since 1983, servicing and maintaining the building's automation system.

The first phase of the facility's updated security strategy was to secure the building's elevator core. We had to make a distinction between building tenants, office visitors, and just people who wanted to enjoy our retail shops,” says Villarreal. Metal detectors were added to screen all visitors to the open retail campus.

For the second phase of the security upgrade, optical turnstiles were installed to secure the elevator banks on the tenant side. To access the tenants' elevator banks, an end-user must use the turnstiles and show a building-issued identification card or a temporary day pass from the visitors' registration desk. Tenants want to restrict who has access to their space. Obviously they want to make it convenient for their customers, but they do not want the exposure to laptop theft or workplace violence,” says Villarreal.

The final phase was the installation of permanent planters and bollards around the perimeter of the building to get stand-off distance from the facility. This attractive series of flower-filled planters and polished chrome bollards are an effective but aesthetically pleasing tactic for exterior protection from speeding vehicles. To protect the loading dock area, the building owner installed Jersey crash barriers to serve as a barrier method.

In addition to installing turnstiles, the security department implemented a new card access system, and the existing video data and card access data was transferred to the new card access system's software. We secured the core of the building, so that you cannot get to the elevator banks without passing through a security device. All of this, in conjunction with the CCTV and the upgrade of the access control system, are integrated so that they rely on one another and give office management the ability to control their entire building,” says Mark Eggerding, senior technical solutions salesman in the Chicago office of Johnson Controls.

The facility also enhanced its closed circuit television system (CCTV) to detect potential threats from suspicious individuals. We needed to see who was lingering outside from a threat standpoint,” says Villarreal.

The entire building team strived to create a system that was operationally efficient without leading to long lines for end-users or unreasonable delays. Adds Villarreal, We wanted an open environment. If you are good at what you do, you can accomplish that with the right balance of equipment, technology, and the properly trained staff.”

Information and Training

Eggerding stresses the importance of training in making the Sears Tower security upgrade a success. Training is part of the logistics of any system,” say Eggerding. Generally, the Sears Tower's end-users were resilient to some disruptions, but the building team knew that dramatic changes could lower their frustration levels. By providing good signage and information to the tenants during the installation process, much confusion and apprehension was alleviated. It was like training people without training them,” says Eggerding.

Along with educating the end-users, the staff itself needed additional training. The security department needed to supplement its in-house security staff with contract employees. With approximately 10,000 daily visitors, over 125 different corporate tenants, and 104 elevators, the newly hired personnel and original staff members had to be orientated to the facility, able to answer end-users' questions, and give directions. The result in Villarreal's own words was, a logistical nightmare.”

Training sessions were scheduled on weekends so that security personnel could learn the building's evacuation plans, the new equipment, processes, and technologies. Quite honestly, at the beginning it was rough,” says Villarreal. At the facility's peak, there were 14 different starting shifts to accommodate the peaks and valleys of the building's occupancy. Fortunately, the difficult period passed quickly and the security system is a working success.

Review and Update

Recently, the building celebrated the first anniversary of the security upgrade, and the security department and its partners have learned from these challenges and plan to continually review and update their security needs. The changes at the Sears Tower mirror general security trends in skyscrapers.

There has been a direct impact on high-rise facilities since 9/11. Generally, security has tightened up, particularly for any building that would be considered a landmark or signature building,” says Geoff Craighead, vice president, High-Rise and Real Estate Security Services, Securitas Security Services USA Inc., Los Angeles.          

Craighead is also board certified in Security Management (CPP) by the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS) International. Currently, he serves as president of the ASIS Professional Certification Board that administers certification programs for security professionals throughout the world, and co-chair of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Greater Los Angeles Security and Emergency Preparedness Committee. In the past, tall buildings were wide open during normal business hours and the idea was tenants can choose to control access to their own floors or suites,” explains Craighead. According to Craighead, building owners of all types of high-rise buildings “such as healthcare, hospitality, multi-family housing, and office buildings “have a heightened awareness regarding access control. Post September 11th, a number of facilities went to what I consider a closed building where they screen all people coming in during business hours,” says Craighead.

The major trends transforming skyscrapers are a hardening of the elevator core with an increased use of technology, such as card readers and biometric devices, and an increased reliance on closed-circuit television. In some cities, such as New York City, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, there has been a greater use of optical turnstiles to prevent tailgating or piggybacking of authorized end-users.

Craighead has also seen an increased focus on visitor centers and registration areas to control access. In addition to the increased fear of terrorism, building owners are still interested in preventing thefts and workplace violence. Workplace violence has been the top threat people perceive, ranking over terrorism. Even though terrorism has prompted a lot of changes, workplace violence is a major consideration,” says Craighead. In recent years, tenants have also demanded the elimination of solicitation from strangers during business hours, as well as having easy-to-understand evacuation information.

A point of emphasis for any building is having up-to-date emergency plans, having building staff well-trained, and getting the occupants to know what to do,” says Craighead. At Securitas, Craighead has conducted extensive security surveys and training programs, developed security policies and procedures, and written building emergency plans. He reinforces these points in the second edition of his book, High-Rise Security and Fire Life Safety, a comprehensive reference on security management and emergency planning.

More security departments in high-rise buildings are cognizant of the importance of training and stricter screening of loading docks and underground parking. Moreover, Craighead encourages building owners and facilities managers to rely on their security consultants, vendor-partners, and contract personnel for information, as well as researching websites from emergency organization such as the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Villarreal credits Trizec's success on forming good partnerships with its vendors and consultants, and the merger between facilities management and security departments. In the past, there was some segregation, but both departments should work in conjunction for the common goal of public safety,” says Villarreal.

You are no longer just locking the front door. Security has moved to the forefront into a merger of new technology and new human responses and procedures,” says Eggerding.

Regina Raiford Babcock is senior editor at Buildings magazine.

 


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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

 

Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.


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