The Evolution of High-Rise Security

The security requirements of any building are driven by two major factors: the assets at risk and the threats to those assets. The assets are broadly defined as anything that helps the profitability of the business. For the building owner and/or...

Task Force Recommendations
New York City's post-9/11 Building Code Task Force recently published their recommendations for enhancements to high-rise office buildings. Listed below are some of the recommendations the security professional may wish to review. Many of the recommendations may eventually become law and will likely spread to other urban communities.

? Encourage the use of impact-resistant materials for stair and elevator shafts
? Encourage more and wider stairwells
? Improve egress path markings and lighting
? Mandate evacuation plans
? Mandate protected elevator lobby vestibules
? All high-rise buildings to have sprinklers within 15 years
? Enhance fire department emergency response communications
? Provide additional training for fire safety directors
? Require air intakes to be at least 20 feet above grade and away from air discharges and loading bays
? Require controlled inspections of HVAC fire dampers
? Encourage NYC buildings subject to other authorities having jurisdiction to comply with NYC Building Code

Security directors of high-rises nationwide would do well to consider the above list as they examine their own facilities.

Our evolution to a higher level of security is not a natural process, but it's a process that is forced upon us by the unfortunate evolution of crime and terrorism. Let's hope the process can be reversed when the need for such security is no longer on our shores.

David G. Aggleton, CPP, is president and principal consultant at Aggleton & Associates Inc., a security consulting and systems design firm in New York City. During his career in the security industry, Mr. Aggleton has developed security solutions for more than 100 high-rise office buildings. He can be reached at