Security, or a deterrent?

February 2005 Access Control & Identity Management

There are various approaches to security within the confines of an office park. Often the security is left in the hands of the landlord, who pays for a security guard to man the gate and that is the sum total of security arrangements. However, an increasing number of companies are leaving their premises' security in the hands of their facilities management partner.

Trevor Pierce-Jones, a director of WSP Facilities Management, says it is becoming increasingly common for the developer of an office complex to control design, implementation and disposal, and even the management and operation for a predetermined period of time post completion.

Most office parks nowadays are characterised by a desire for a high level of security, regardless of complex size. The creation of a 'secure environment' through the provision of manned access control, 24-hour security (ongoing operations) and impenetrable perimeter boundaries (design), is an example of the inter-connectedness of project design and ongoing operations.

One of the most common security measures encountered at most office parks is the security guard who controls access to the premises. However, unless properly managed, such security guards are merely a deterrent, according to WSP Facilities Management's, Deon van Zyl.

Easily implemented measures such as random boot searches, access control and visitor control all contribute to a sense of security.

At one extreme, security measures for office complexes can also be extremely hi-tech, including measures such as fingerprint recognition, CCTV and wireless technology, or can be as simple as access control and visitor control. Some companies within office parks even go so far as to protect themselves against industrial espionage. This is particularly true of IT companies.

Pierce-Jones points out that beyond merely managing and operating these office parks once completed, there is an opportunity being created for facilities management input into the concept and design process while still on the drawing board, assisting in designing solutions that will be appropriate and cost-effective once developments are fully operational.

These include the installation and maintenance of CCTV, access control and parking access, although the extent of security measures implemented in an office park environment is often dependent on the available budget versus the value of the goods to be protected. Van Zyl concludes by pointing out that while it is all well and good to have all of these security measures in place, if the information gathered by, for instance, CCTV, is not audited on a regular basis, then it is of no use whatsoever as a security measure. Systematic processes should therefore be in place to ensure maximum benefit is derived from any technology and systems installed.

For more information contact WSP Group SA, Trevor Pierce-Jones, 011 233 7900,


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