When Phase 2 of Lesotho’s first regional mall – The Pioneer Mall – was underway, the developers decided to implement a comprehensive surveillance system. Malan Loock, MD of security project management consultancy, Xpectrade249, was responsible for sourcing surveillance cameras that would be able to monitor the interior of the mall, the interior of the extension to the anchor Pick ‘n Pay store, and the exterior and parking lot of the building.
“The first phase of the mall was completed three years ago and the second phase involved a doubling of the size of the existing mall. We were very impressed with the products and service Hitek Security Distributors offered us. In addition to the high quality of their cameras and recorders, the three-year guarantee, service backup and swap-out policy were an added bonus. In a nutshell their cost-performance ratio was excellent,” says Loock.
Loock explains that the developers required improved levels of surveillance and security. “The control room needed to be able to quickly and comprehensively view the entire mall. The surveillance equipment in Phase 1 of the mall was used as a reference point and improved on in Phase 2. In addition, there was a requirement for increased surveillance within the parking areas. This data would not only monitor events but would also provide an indication of the customer volumes.”
Xpectrade faced a number of challenges on the project. “We were given an extremely tight deadline of three months. In order to achieve this timeframe we were forced to put in many hours of overtime. This was exacerbated by the inherent lack of consideration by the architects for the installation of a retrofitted security system. The installation team found themselves crawling through extremely small ceiling voids to install wiring. In addition, the incorporation of Phase 1 into Phase 2 was difficult due to the architecture of the original building,” says Loock.
Loock points out that the cabling was immense. “We decided on a wired installation since the terrain does not favour a wireless option. Other constraints of using wireless in this instance were the problems we had experienced in the past with uptime of the system and the physical distance between the mall and ourselves.
“On the upside, Hitek Security Distributors were amazing in terms of their turnaround time on the technology. They supplied us with the 64 cameras and four DVRs in record time, ensuring that we were able to uphold our contractual obligations. We held initial onsite discussions to ascertain the best fit for purpose solutions and decided on a combination of DI-365CSVF dome cameras, DI-360UL36W white dome cameras, Z-36E 36x optical PTZ cameras and SA-16400HD DVRs,” he adds.
Loock says that by holding regular meetings, the Xpectrade249 was able to remain ahead of the game and counteract any small issues before they became problems. “One thing that I would like to stress, specifically for architects and property developers, is the critical importance of accommodating the inclusion of security systems in the early design stages. Ideally, walkways in the ceiling voids should be provided for both installation and maintenance purposes. The optimised position of the cameras should also be accounted for in the original design.
“We are aware that this is not always possible due to budgetary constraints but if security consultants met with developers and architects in the planning stages, costs could be very clearly contained. In fact, costs are actually reduced when pre-planning includes the security component,” he continues.
“Despite the frustrations we faced, the client is extremely happy with the installation, which went live at the start of December 2012. We have had very positive feedback from Pick ‘n Pay which is considering replacing the cameras in Phase 1 of their store, with Provision ISR cameras. They are also very pleased with the advantages provided by the inclusion of cameras at all the paypoints for cashflow management,” Loock concludes.
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