Access Control, Design and Construction, Security

Is Physical Security an Afterthought in Building Design?

Brivo, a provider of cloud-based access control and smart building technologies, announced the results of its research into integrated physical security in building design by architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) practitioners. The report finds that despite an increased commitment to “security-by-design” principles, the industry is still spending significant time and money post-build to fix security issues, risking dire retroactive effects.

The report surveyed 800 decision-makers in building design across the U.S., U.K., and DACH regions. The results show that physical security is, today, more important in building design than ever. A decade ago, security was not considered a top priority, but it is now a top three concern—only safety and sustainability were seen as more important.

The good news is that AEC practitioners have responded to this demand, and 56% now have a process for integrating security into building design, and 41% are currently implementing such a process. There is also a good understanding of the need for physical security to be an integral part of design, rather than “patched in” later, with 94% of AEC practitioners agreeing.

However, reality is falling short of ambition. When responsible for security post-build, many AEC practitioners report that fixing physical security problems adds additional costs as high as 20%.

“Time and money spent fixing security issues post-build are a problem, but it’s the retroactive effects that can create real issues,” said Paula Balmori, director of global security design and system integrations at Brivo. “Failing to reach milestones can trigger contractual clauses that lead to damages, and clients can even end up taking legal action if delays are excessive and lead to a break of contract.”

When asked about the greatest barriers to implementing security by design, respondents cited regulations, budget constraints, and design and aesthetic conflicts as the main problems they encountered, reflecting a change in priority that the industry has yet to fully grapple with.

But demands for integrated physical security in design are here to stay: 89% of respondents reported that security was a part of the design briefs they received, and 88% have seen a rise in customer demand for security integration.

“It would be madness today to design a building and leave plumbing, heating, and lighting as an afterthought to be figured out later—similarly, we would not expect construction to be postponed because of issues with the planning of these key utilities,” said Balmori. “Physical security needs to be seen the same way. Too often we see sub-par solutions put in place because not enough thought was given to security at the design stage. The good news is that the industry understands this issue—now, they just need to make sure that the results match this understanding.” 

The full report, “The State of ‘Security-by-Design’: Is Security an Afterthought in Building Design?” is available here.

Make sure to sign up for the Facilities Management Advisor NOW: Secure Buildings online summit on March 20, sponsored by Brivo! Details and FREE registration are available here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *