By Carlo Caci
Differentiated by their products, varying from widgets to Wall Street, businesses throughout the world operate uniquely, yet while it may seem otherwise, their security operation always follows a static course. Implementation of security principals is a business unto itself, varying only to mold itself to fit the business it protects. Similar to symbiotic relationships found in nature, security operations vigilantly surround their corporate charges, under the watchful eye of the security director, and while not in the mainstream business, security is an intrinsic part of the corporate operations flow.
Post 9/11 security has risen in the appreciation by corporate management to a protective partner that safeguards their business interests. Although separate from day-to-day business operations, security, nevertheless, touches each of its daily functions, and must do so if it is to effectively shield it from exposures that would jeopardize its continuity. Any major new construction or renovation project becomes one more operation in a corporation¡¯s business routine; the only difference being, the project? finite duration and its employment of temporary personnel. As is the case for the other corporate operations, the responsibility for developing the protective safeguards for the project rests with security management.
So why does it seem security is the stepchild of the construction project? The primary reason can be attributed to a prevalent misunderstanding among facility planners, ingrained by old habits, and fostered by years of alarm company marketing indoctrination suggesting that electronics are the panacea. While conceded a place on the project team, the contribution of the professional physical security consultant is underestimated.
The security consultant, like the architectural consultant whose job it is to reflect the facility director¡¯s objectives, is the member of the project team whose job it is to reflect the responsibilities of the security director.
Typically, overall project programming is developed by the architectural consultant, interviewing client departmental management, gathering their needs and requests, which the architect¡¯s expertise translates into the plans that drive the general contractor¡¯s efforts. These plans in turn set the parameters for the production tasks of the construction, electrical, mechanical, and associated engineering members of the project team, resulting in their individual designs; these work-products become the directives for implementation by the project trades.
SECURITY AND CONSTRUCTION: COMPANIONSHIP
Contrary to common belief the physical security program does not derive from the architectural program. Rather it is a companion program generated from senior and security management sources, developed in a separate context by the security consultant through a concurrent interview process. The product of this security pre-design process establishes the ¡®charter¡¯ that guides development of the project security program, which sets the framework for the physical and system security designs. It is this then, which drives the security enhancements that temper the architectural elements and determines the appropriate extent of security provisions to be incorporated into the construction, electrical, mechanical, and associated engineering work-products. There? no doubt that facilities and construction management professionals are well versed in matters aligned with their usual trades -- i.e., site engineering, architecture, mechanical and electrical systems, interiors, furnishings, traffic flows, code regulations, and the like, each imperative to any new or renovation construction project. Not so, however, in the knowledge necessary to properly incorporate the complexities of a security program into the project? architectural program. Too often those tasked with integrating security into the project are conversely limited to information generalities, or rendered from the self-serving advice of product purveyors. Most project management is ill-equipped to understand how sound security principals are best adapted to construction plans and specifications.
Another underlying factor that often consigns security to the ¡®catch-up¡¯ end of the design process is the very structure of the project organization. Usually, projects managed by architectural, general, or construction firms do not fully recognize how security should fit into the modern project effort. Then too, inherent in the overall project manager¡¯s world is their proprietary interest, the natural consequence of providing its coordination skills at a set fee. This tends to promote the prioritization of what one knows best. Much the same can be said of the architect as manager. As the conceiver of the ¡®form¡¯ that follows the function, designers likewise have a vested desire to see an edifice materialize in the style they envisage, which from time-to-time sets aesthetic and security interests on divergent paths.
WHAT IS PHYSICAL SECURITY?
What is this thing called physical security anyway? As it applies to a major construction project, physical security is actually a complete shadow program to that provided for the architectural design. It¡¯s intended to be an ¡®overlay¡¯ influence on the primary project program, just as the site plan is contoured by the property topography, the building configured to suite the site, and the interior responsive to the operational needs of its users.
Physical security is not simply some ¡®card key¡¯ or CCTV system. It is a comprehensive, multi-faceted parallel program that adjacently follows the project path. It begins with a thoughtful methodology aimed at placing the facility into context with reality. This is done by organizing facility risk value, the product of determining the prevalent exposures confronted by the facility, then ascertaining each vulnerability to which the facility may be subject. This risk valuation process, equivalent to the architectural pre-design process, is the prerequisite foundation for laying the cornerstone of the security program and the only tangible security, that being the physical enhancements and improved containment.
The part played by the integrated security systems is, on one hand to supplement the physical, thereby minimizing the extent of physical precautions required, and on the other to extend the reach of human resources, thereby maximizing the deployment of personnel expected to conduct the security processes, and manage the security systems.
SECURITY PROGRAM SHOULD BE...
Next, these fundamental aspects of the security program are proportionately balanced to correspond with the client¡¯s preference for construction capitol investment versus post-construction operating expense. The final portion of the security program is the cohesive umbrella; its historical continuity, documenting the security management policies upon which the program was commissioned, and the operating procedures by which the program is to be administered. The educated exploration of each nuance in this process is the requisite for an operationally, as well as economically commensurate physical security program, and epitomizes the value added by the security consultant.
Also essential in developing the physical security program is the consultant¡¯s focus, which must center on the client¡¯s chosen concerns and objectives, and while sensitivity to architectural and construction priorities is deserved, being encumbered by them is detrimental. To be truly effective, the physical security program must be free to influence the materials, configurations, departmental stacking/adjacencies, traffic flow patterns and other such schemes being contemplated by the architect. The security consultant must be in a position to further the interests of the security program on an equal footing with the project architectural and construction interests.
Experience shows project costs escalate where the security program is not partnered with the project programming. Early development brings with it the opportunity to measure each possible facet of the security program against its cost-to-deliver, particularly its post-implementation recurring expense. This not only facilitates proper management of the project security implementation costs, but prevents incurring unexpected costs associated with late changes in schematic drawings, unanticipated alterations in construction documents, unplanned modification of constructed work, replacement of hardware, additions of raceway after finishes, and other such avoidable unplanned expenditures. These not only adversely affect the project construction budget, but also more seriously can delay completion dates.
In sum, just as the architect serves to translate the client¡¯s operational needs into the project programming, it is the security consultant who transforms the client¡¯s security concerns into the mirroring security programming. The answer then to the title posed question is that the professional physical security consultant, serving as surrogate for the security director provides a dual role, acting in a matrix capacity initially as developer of the client¡¯s security program, and later as coordinator of its implementation.
To accomplish this in a manner most beneficial to the interest of the client, it is vital that the project security consultant be directly responsible to the client, and employed early in the design programming stage.
Carlo Caci is Principal Designer and Security Program Developer for Caci System Designs, Inc. (www.caciconsulting.com). He has over thirty-five years of extensive experience in physical containment and security system designs. Cacis industry knowledge, support, and educated opinions have been utilized by many major corporations, and sought by law firms ranging from strategy advise, up through fact finder and expert testifier in court.
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