Client’s Challenge: As Popularity Grows – So Can Security Risks

Business was booming for an ocean-view residential complex on the southeast coast. Nearly every unit was sold, occupied and steadily gaining property value. Ground-level shops were routinely drawing high traffic from the adjacent boulevard and freeway. The recently opened rooftop restaurant, overlooking crowded beaches, was quickly gaining renown and attracting major crowds on nights and weekends.

The landmark building’s newly assembled safety committee, comprised of some of its longest-tenured residents, voted unanimously to take the measures necessary to protect every tenant’s collective investment. “This is a high-traffic, multi-use complex. We can’t turn a blind eye to some of the security deficiencies that we suspect have accumulated over time,” a leading committee member said. “The lobby is exposed to retail shoppers. The parking lot is public-use. We want to secure these areas effectively and address any other issues of concern.”

Our Solution: Physical and Technical Security Assessment

Members of the Hillard Heintze Security Risk Management practice met with the resident safety committee and the building’s contracted property manager – and received authorization to perform a comprehensive physical security assessment. This included: (1) a review of critical residential building-related security matters, such as perimeter alarms, closed-circuit television coverage, intrusion detection systems, fire and life safety systems, building emergency plans, mail and package delivery, landscaping and sightlines, and backup power availability and adequacy; (2) a thorough review of property by-laws and other on-site policies and procedures relating to security; and (3) identification of opportunities to implement security best practices in multiple areas.

Impact on the Client: A Crucial First Step + Emergency Preparedness

The safety committee presented Hillard Heintze’s findings to the building’s broader residential board and property manager. Those in attendance concurred that key security upgrades would be needed, and our collection of recommendations would serve as a crucial starting point. To supplement the security assessment, the client commissioned Hillard Heintze to develop an emergency guidebook for every residential unit, as well as rewrite the building’s emergency action plan for all building personnel, including doormen, maintenance workers and engineers.

Unplugged: The Project Manager’s Post-Engagement Perspective

“For a decades-old complex, the building was, in many ways, managing its security adequately. The CCTV system was robust, the perimeter alarms were well-maintained, and doormen were trusted and experienced.

“But it became quite clear that it was time to update – and in some cases overhaul – many aspects of physical security. Incident response protocols were unclear and not formalized. Security officers learned to ignore alarm signals because the vast majority were accidental triggers. The building’s numerous elevators, despite being shared constantly by residents, shoppers and restaurant guests, were inadequately monitored. This was much-needed.”

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