BUILDINGS - Smarter Facilities Management


Assessing Threat Potential

Creating Links to Make Safer Buildings


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Located at 10 Columbus Circle, the new $2.5-billion Time Warner Center is a 2.8 million-square-foot multi-use facility featuring two 750-foot towers. Siemens has teamed up with The Related Cos. to complete the center – the largest construction project in New York City since the completion of the World Trade Center in 1972.

The center features The Shops at Columbus Circle, five floors of retail, entertainment, and restaurant businesses; Jazz at Lincoln Center, a 1,970-seat performance and education facility; the Mandarin Oriental hotel; condominiums; and a 504-stall valet parking garage. Serving as the global headquarters for Time Warner, the building houses broadcast facilities for CNN and CNNfn.

The building management system controls and monitors critical HVAC equipment and a chilled water plant that serves each of the center’s tenants. For example, an interface integrates the building management system with the hotel management system, which allows the hotel’s chief engineer to control (through the central workstation computers) hotel system information, such as room status and temperature. The system can remotely control the center’s HVAC units through a Web browser so that condominium residents can even change their home environment temperature via the Internet. Now that’s cool!

Everyone knows that after 9/11, the awareness of building owners and senior-level facility managers regarding security and life safety has increased dramatically. At first, many organizations reacted to and perceived threats haphazardly. Now, building owners are taking the time to analyze their building systems and their security set-ups and are striving to make their facilities more secure and more functional.

“Companies and building owners have really started to assess how their buildings’ infrastructures work and how secure [they are],” says Jens Wegmann, president, security systems, Siemens Building Technologies Group, Mannedorf, Switzerland. Increasingly, facilities professionals and security directors are reviewing their evacuation plans. Facilities professionals are linking their building automation, life safety, and security systems to allow the monitoring of several types of building control systems from a centralized location.

Overall, Wegmann has found building owners giving greater thought to their security and life safety concerns. Siemens Building Technologies Inc. (, headquartered in Buffalo Grove, IL, is a single-source provider of cost-effective facility performance solutions for life safety, security, and the indoor environment. For example, a multi-tenant commercial building in New York City, the 111 8th Avenue Building, conducted a process analysis with Siemens to assess the best way for tenants and their guests to access the building.

This complicated, high-profile project has a wide variety of visitors due to tenants with on-site training facilities. The building team collaborated to allow building guests coming in for training to pre-register online and to streamline the verification process for these visitors.

The logistics of secure package delivery was another challenge for the professionals at the 111 8th Avenue Building. Now, every incoming package is routed to the logistic center, checked, tagged with a coded label, and delivered within 20 minutes of arrival.

“Security is not only how to get people in the door; it is also how to get secure packages in the door and how to handle the delivery process,” says Wegmann. It is important for building owners to identity risk potentials and to find the security solutions that truly fit.

In the past, companies expended a lot of effort to fulfill insurance requirements and to appease tenants’ concerns. One of the biggest mistakes building owners and security heads make is to rely only on guard services. Optimal programs, however, combine security personnel knowledge with technology know-how.

“Now there has been an increasing demand for more sophistication,” says Wegmann. On-site security experts can partner with building systems providers to maximize the performance of a facility’s security and life safety systems. Instead of reacting blindly, building owners – with their facilities, IT, human resources, and security departments – are pooling their resources and working together to create safer buildings.

Regina Raiford Babcock ( is senior editor at Buildings magazine.


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