With increasing spate of insecurity and organized crime in today’s environment, ensuring that buildings – home, offices, etc – are well secured is a task that requires constant monitoring of all necessary components that make up the security system.

The level of competence and decision-making required to carry out these tasks successfully has redefined the role of the Facilities Managers in the chain of security activities, beyond the operational level. Ensuring that buildings are secured from intruders now demands that Facility Managers or person in charge of security researches security risks and creates a comprehensive program of action.

These include: defining their own roles viz a viz the role of the Chief Security Officer (CSO), or outsource security to a third party company. The strategic role also include addressing specifics such as: deployment of technology or people – or both, as well as taking decisions on access points implementation, common area assignments, parking lot management, elevator administration, and so on.

To help position for this emerging role of the Facilities Manager as a Security experts, here are eight techniques that they can apply to achieve a well-rounded security operations on site:

1. Design a Security Plan: The first move expected of an FM when handed over a facility is to draw up a security plan. Since the bedrock of any strategy is situation analysis, designing a good security plan will require the FM to have done an assessment of existing security apparatus and mechanism of the building, identify major gaps and articulate a progamme of actions to close the gaps.

2. Determine Mode of Security Operations: From the analyses that informed the security plan, the Facilities Manager should be able to determine what mode of operations best fit the facilities. This will include taking strategic decision or rightly suggesting to the customer either to outsource the security operations to a third party or not.

3. Identify and Define the Role of a Chief Security Officer (CSO): The CSO is saddled with the responsibility of using the security program to meet the needs of the occupants and buildings. What resources will be required in terms of officers, vehicles, radios, access control technology, weapons and so on, will all be determined by the CSO. The Facilities Manager must ensure these responsibilities are adequately done and relevant metrics and controlled measures are set to ensure effectiveness of the operations.   .

4. Ensure Security officers are mobile: According to Security Experts, constant movement around buildings easily deters crime. Mobility also allows the security officers to perform secondary roles of attending to guests who might need direction or information. So depending on the size and layout of the property, the FM must determine the most appropriate mobility mode for the security officers.

5. Install Access Control: Although human errors are almost unavoidable, security and safety are not areas to take chances. Therefore, embracing technology to secure buildings should be one of the operational priorities of Facilities Managers. Access Control is one of the most significant and convenient technologies of tightening security in a building. While waist-high turnstiles with physical barriers can be easily installed in new buildings, FMs in older facilities may want to consider upgrade to turnstiles, as existing card access systems reach the end of their useful life.

5. Incorporate an Effective Visitor Management System: Still on security technologies, the Visitor Management System software is another technique the FM should consider in securing their buildings. This technology allows the tenant or occupants of a building to register visitors’ data with the front desk before he or she (the visitor) arrives.

6. Restrict the Elevators: Beyond the primary function of lifting people to upper floors within a facility, elevators are also effective access control mechanisms. It is important that FMs tap into this possibilities to improve the security level of their buildings. This can include configuring the elevators to allow visitors free access to certain floors and restrict them from others.

7. Monitor Parking lots: Parking facilities are prone to high level of crime and violent attacks. Therefore, the FM must take this into consideration in his/her security plan, giving adequate attention to formal security assessment that looks at the surrounding neighborhood, crime statistics and patterns of operations. This will help the CSO recommend the necessary security features such as intercoms at entrances and exits, as well as on the walls near elevators. This could also be taken further to using access cards to access parking gates and help to limit traffic in a garage, especially for Multi-layer car parks.

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