[ Building Security ] [ Access Control Systems ] [ Security Program ] [ Mobility of Security Staff ] [ Visitor Management System ] [ Elevators Escalators Security ] [ Internal Access Management ] [ Car Park Security ] [ Evacuation-Fire-Escape-Exits ] [ Building Security Control Systems ] [ Building Security Risks ] [ Types of Building Security ] [ Building Security Assessment ] [ Physical Security Checklist ] [ Who Requires Building Security ]

building security assessment

Building Security

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What is Building Security?

Building Security has become a key element in the general security of a location where activities are conducted that require security. A not secure building or office might simply not be a safe or secure enough place to work. This is where a building security assessment and a building security audit can clarify the risk levels.

Building security control systems are designed to monitor and control diverse mechanical and electrical/electronic installations, fire hazard protection systems and escape routes, and anti-burglary, anti-assault, and emergency communication platforms.

As a building & security manager, decisions need to be made to assign security officers (from your own internal staff) or to outsource the building security to a third party. Building Security is a complex matter, with many sub-systems that will require a professional assessment. We hereby address some in our overview in which different security elements will be addressed.

building security

Access Control Systems

Regulation of Traffic

Visitor Flow

Regulation or Restriction of visitors, intruders & employees via natural access control

Use of building features

Which are the features in your building that can help the regulation and flow control of human traffic?

Use of landscaping elements

Which natural features can you use to improve security and access control?

Discouraging breaches

How to demotivate intruders to breach security?

Access Control via an electronic access control system

  • time-based
  • ID-based
  • Zone-based
  • access levels
  • audit trails
  • audit reports

Access control systems (people, process, technology)

  • Technology Implementation on site
  • RFID cards + readers (walkthrough) basic RFID cards
  • strongly encrypted RFID cards that cannot be copied or hacked
  • method of assigning RFID cards
  • Strong physical barriers to control access turnstile: a fixed mechanical gate with revolving horizontal arms fixed to a vertical post, allowing only one person at a time to pass-through
  • Access rules for interior common area doors

Perimeter Security:

  • find blind spots / dark spots in and around your building
  • put proper lights in dark zones
  • regular trimming of trees and shrubs
  • don’t allow roof & window access
  • secure parking lots
  • check break areas
  • monitor stairwells and dark hallways
  • put motion sensors & motion-activated lights

Security Policy

Security Program

Pre-requirements & Preparations for a Security plan

  • Building security policy creation & adjustment
  • Clean desk policy

  • Proper delivery routines (chain of possession)
  • Develop good relationships with tenants and visitors

Creation of a good security program

  • identify the problems, priorities & weaknesses in the building + environment
  • in-house security team with multiple disciplines
  • outsourcing certain functions to an external security company
  • CCTV & video technology
    • positioning cameras
    • type of cameras
    • storage of video feed (comply with PDPA, GDPR-rules)
    • respect of privacy by the residents
  • location of security command & control center
  • job-scope & responsibilities of the security officer(s) & security guards
  • patrolling the building + surrounding area guard tour patrolling system
    • patrolling officers routines
    • verification of KPI via dual reporting
  • do not post job titles on any public directory (avoid abuse)
  • employees & security guards are required to wear ID badges/access cards/uniforms while on site
  • which type of uniforms
  • weapons and other defensive tools (which mandate)

  • decide on equipment needed
    • vehicles (cars, trucks, 4×4, motorcycles, bicycles, scooters)
    • walkie-talkie radios & other digital communication platforms
    • access control technology (building to buy or rent the hardware)
    • which doors
    • card-access grid (who accesses what, when)

Security Officers Recruitment & Employee Training Program

  • hire the right security officers
  • awareness training
  • hands-on operational training
  • avoid human errors
  • detect careless behavior
  • detect non-compliance with SOP, rules & regulations
  • be aware of insider-threats
  • apply best business practices
  • pinpoint acts of sabotage, disuse, abuse or malfeasance
  • prevention of malicious activities
security mobility

Mobility of Security Personnel

  • how does security personnel move around inside & outside the building?
  • checking rounds & guard patrols
  • outside the building – perimeter security
  • modus of travel (by foot, bicycle, or motorized)
  • live track of security guards?
  • GPS – tracker integrated into guard tour patrol systems?
visitor management systems

Visitor Management Systems

Managing visitor flow with VMS – Visitor Management Systems

  • A suitable visitor management software will take care of:
    • visitor management policy
    • visitor registration system
    • visitor card issuing (access to the specific floor)
    • integration with visual markers (facial recognition)
    • sharing of data with other branches & systems (detect repeat intruders)
      • registration of identity
      • verification of information at
      • name & ID check
      • date of the visit
      • destination of the visit (which floor, company)
      • time of the appointment with who
      • integration of VMS with CRM, license plate system, frequent visitor, etc…
  • Most VMS systems offer multi-point, multi-user access systems (lobby, control-room, management, reception, security) with features such as:
    • paper, pen registration book for visitors – paper logs
    • the clear electronic visitor log
    • the procedure of verification via phone for unregistered visitors
    • integration with HR systems preventing former employees from entering the building/office

Elevators & Escalators Security

Elevators and escalators are an important part of how people gain access to their offices or private quarters. The way how you manage access will greatly affect the convenience of access and level of security. It is very important to have proper SOPs and policies in place which provide safety, ease of access, and security at the same time.

Access Systems

  • free access system
  • restricted access system
  • mixed system (certain floors restricted)
Lift Management Systems
  • escort visitors in lift
  • CCTV system in lift
  • RFID card access per floor via lift

Internal Access Management

Interior doors, access panels, interior windows

  • reception areas (single point of access)
  • Welcome and check-in visitors by the receptionist
  • sign-in area
  • close inspection of credentials and IDs
  • or external dedicated phone/internet at the building entrance or lobby

Other Key Areas & Zones

  • common areas
  • free access spaces
  • service areas
  • offices
  • facilities
  • toilets
  • restricted areas
  • VIP areas

Car Park Security

Parking facilities

  • security managed by who?
  • registration license plates
  • registered parking-space
  • visitor parking space
  • traffic flow management

Parking Technology in use

  • barrier-gate
  • card-access system & billing
  • access routes to buildings & offices
  • communication-systems & speakers
  • 4G,3G connectivity boosters
  • CCTV video-cameras
  • numbering & color system to find the car
  • alarm & panic buttons
evacuation and fire escapes


Fire Escape Exits

Building evacuation plans during emergencies

  • Fire safety & fire drill – fire-safety system
  • fire detection and suppression
  • movement router for exiting a burning building
  • protection for people
  • smoke control including pressurization and smoke or fire barriers
  • safe places for refuge during fire hazard
  • emergency measurements & communication

Safety and Security Signage & Signboards

HVAC security

HVAC Security Analysis

Each of these systems is connected to either electrical, electronic, internet, or other building layers. Access Security & Cyber Security aspects need to be evaluated. HVAC systems consist of:

Heating Systems

Heating systems, boilers, furnaces, radiators, thermal energy or solar power systems are put in place to maintain a certain temperature in building, homes, offices or other structures.

A heater can be an element of a more elaborate HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system. Heating can be centralized or distributed. Thermostats are used to control the temperature.

Ventilation systems

Ventilation systems are mechanical systems in for example a building that bring in outdoor air and at the same time sometimes remove the “contaminated” indoor air. In workplaces and offices, the ventilation systems are used to control exposure to airborne contaminants.

Ventilation can control indoor temperature, humidity and air movements. It is linked to maintaining a clean indoor environment. There is mechanical ventilation and natural ventilation or hybrid ventilation.

Air-conditioning systems

Air conditioning (AC, A/C or air con) are used to cool down the temperature inside a room or building by removing heat and moisture from a specific space.

Physical Key Control – Key Management

  •  procedure for assigning, controlling, and distributing keys
  •  assign a responsible person for locking/unlocking of office or building
  • check washrooms, closets where people could be hiding
  • periodic audit of actual, physical keys
  • master key system
  • facility layout & mapping of rooms

Anti-Theft Devices

These types of devices are very low-cost and easy to install (motion sensors, door sensors, etc…). 4G, 5G, IoT, and WiFi-enabled technology are available wide-spread. Be careful however while setting or using these devices since they come with a cyber security risk. On top of that many jamming devices can disturb the operations of these systems. Keep it safe!

security control room

Security Command & Control Room

Building Security Control Systems classification

Building Automation Systems (BAS)

Building Management Systems (BMS) 

Energy Management Systems (EMS)

  • HVAC maintenance systems
  • Fire detection & alarm systems
  • Security & Access Control systems
  • Digital Video & CCTV
  • Intrusion Detection Systems
  • Environmental Control Systems
  • Mechanical Maintenance & Retrofitting
  • Asset Location System
  • ERP – Enterprise Systems Integration
  • On-site Technical Services
  • Energy Information Management
  • Energy Supply & Load management
  • Water Management
  • Indoor Air Quality Services
  • Smoke Control & Fire Barriers
  • Lightning Control
  • Lift Management Systems
  • Surveillance and access control systems
  • Security Officers & Security Guards

Building Security Risks

The safety in your building may be compromised due to a lack of security. Consequently, this is a key issue in any building. The risk is that security issues are not addressed, forgotten or people simply assume that everything will be ok. This can lead to huge losses in the near future.

The most ‘common’ hazards to manage are:

  • no view of the human traffic inside the building due to the lack of a CCTV camera
  • fire risk is high due to equipment not being operational or missing
  • flooding
  • electrical hazards
  • lightning strikes
  • storm damage
  • burglary
  • robbery
  • unauthorized access – lack of Identification – badge or ID not used
  • unsecured entry points – how many exits and entrances are left unguarded?
  • emergency exits not monitored
  • unclosed exterior doors
  • no CCTV cameras or monitoring devices on doors
  • too many (unused) access and exit doors
  • a single focus on design and functionality, safety or security
  • too complex security apparatus – hence useless
  • theft
  • different types of attacks
  • sabotage
  • vandalism
  • terrorism
  • cyber-terrorism
  • harassment
  • untrained or wrongly trained security operators
  • a security measure that hinders the business flow or other social practices
  • other criminal acts

Types of Building Security

Depending on the types of building (commercial, residential, industrial, military, government, police, court of law, etc) there will be a different type of security required.

Building Security Assessment

To do a security risk review of a large building; you have to prepare and strategize ahead of time. We go over a number of aspects.

Primary services & infrastructure systems supporting the building
  • electricity
  • industrial controls
  • IT/communications
  • waste/waste treatment/sewer
  • water
Hierarchy & analysis of important systems & services
  • their importance to the operation and resilience of the facility
  • how do these systems provide safety & comfort to customers, residents, visitors, contractors, vendors, and employees
  • degraded services lead to negative effects on the building facility
  • understand the interdependency of systems
  • critical system: electric supply and distribution since this supports all other systems and controls
building security checklist

Physical Building Security Checklist

Physical plan & layout of building, access, entry, exit points and surrounding environment

  • evaluate the perimeter + landscape. Reduction of increased attack surface or access routes?
  • locations to hide or stake out for attackers?
  • access to rooftops and windows, side doors, service entrances, walls, and pipes.
  • count the points of entry
  • monitoring of access points is done how? where? who? when?
  • security check exit- & entry-point for all persons?

Lights & Direct Sunlight in buildings & offices, access points.

  • see clear places of possible concealment or access
  • in which access points are not provided with proper lighting
  • are dark areas provided with motion sensor activated lights?
shine light in the darkness

Alarm systems – fire alarms, intrusion detection, tampering detection, motion detections, other sensors

  • proper installation with backup power, not easy to take offline?
  • monitoring of doors, windows, gates, turnstiles for egress (exits) and ingress (access into the building)?
  • identification system on who accessed certain areas?
  • auditing of the system-generated data?

Physical barriers

  • fences must be suitable and checked for damage or holes
  • bollards to avoid vehicles driving into buildings
  • tire strips (at parking lots, loading docks, pick up areas)
  • gates: must be secured & 100% working
  • how does the traffic of pedestrians & vehicles move on the building roads?

Access points

  • doors & gates – all must be working properly – operating stand-alone & self-closing
  • turnstiles – operating properly + access credential system
  • windows – all locked / can they be opened?
  • loading docks – opening hours? locked after opening hours? lock dock doors
  • large glass panes: add security film to prevent forced entry and easy glass breaking
  • elevators, escalators, stairwells – daily or hourly security check

Security Guards & Security Officers

  • internal guard staffs
  • outsourced to security guard company
  • verification procedures of visitors, staff, and vendors is done how?
  • what information is recorded, ID, phone, license plate car, vehicle inspection?
  • guards SOP by using checklists? self-verification?
  • variation of guard tour patrol routes will reduce the chance of their routines being noticed by intruders
  • spot-check system
  • proper uniform & nametags for guards

CCTV Camera Systems

  • coverage of the perimeter of the building
  • coverage of the perimeter of the property
  • automatic switching from day to night vision
  • entrance points monitored by cameras
  • exit points monitored by cameras
  • stairwells monitored by cameras
  • other access points monitored by cameras
  • 24 hours per day monitoring
  • incident-based monitoring

Access methodology used

  • locks & keys (in good working order)
  • proximity cards
  • swipe cards
  • number-codes or cipher locks (change code regularly)
  • credential systems
  • biometrics
  • important: lockout former employees of building & property

Communication & reports of security breaches

  • to building management
  • to security officers in charge
  • to relevant authorities
  • to law enforcement, fire department, emergency services, or police
  • to other departments (maintenance of the building, human resources…)

Systems, SOP’s & Policy – Process & Training

  • use of alarm system logs
  • encrypted walkie talkie systems
  • intercom system
  • digital systems
  • policies & SOPs in place
  • training to apply communication SOP
cyber security investigations

Cyber Security

Cyber Security Related. Can your building be hacked?

  • firewalls
  • wireless routers
  • secure backups for data
  • fireproof safe
  • off-site storage
  • physical inspection of spaces giving access to IT-related aspects

Consult our extended information on Cyber Security Issues here.

Who Requires Building Security?

  • commercial entities
  • shopping malls
  • offices
  • businesses
  • other entities
  • residential areas
  • condominiums
  • apartments
  • gated communities
  • private residencies
  • offices & business facilities
  • public events inside a building
  • industrial facilities (manufacturing)
  • medical facilities, hospitals
  • government buildings
  • embassies, consulates
  • military compounds
  • police buildings
  • research facilities
  • educational facilities
  • financial institutions, banks
  • secret facilities
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