Security Innovation Award Grand Platinum Project: Qatar’s Massive Corporate Campus is an Integration Showcase

Dec. 11, 2014
With a footprint of more than six million square feet, Qatar Petroleum’s District Project ranks among the world’s security models

Qatar Petroleum (QP) is a government-owned oil and gas conglomerate. It has upstream (exploration, drilling, and production) and downstream (refining) operations for crude oil, natural gas, liquefied natural gas and other refined products. Its Dukhan oil field can produce up to 335,000 barrels per day. QP has onshore crude oil reserves of 1,842 million barrels and onshore gas reserves of some 8 trillion cubic feet. Its two offshore production stations produced almost 90 million barrels of oil in 2008. Through partnerships with such companies as ExxonMobil, Occidental and TOTAL, QP supplies oil and gas to North America, Asia, and Europe.

Aon Global Risk Consulting|Security Consulting & Design (AGRC Security), a division of Aon Fire Protection Engineering Corporation, was selected by Qatar Petroleum and KEO International Consultants during construction to assist in the QP District Project, located in Doha Qatar. Aon provided both security consulting and design services and fire protection and life safety services to support the security programming for the project.

QP District Project Background

The QP District Project was initially intended and designed as a massive mixed use retail environment; however, after the site’s groundbreaking, the environment was changed from mixed use (retail, hotel, and apartment) to a corporate environment.

The $3 billion greenfield project located in the West Bay of Doha, Qatar is one of the largest corporate campuses in the world, sprawling more than six million square feet, including a five-star hotel, nine prominent high-rise towers comprised of 16 to 52 stories each, a parking garage, underground parking for 6,000 cars, a central utility plant, an auditorium, and three auto-courts, serving three towers each. The auto-court/roundabout provides vehicular access ramps that lead to a multi-level parking garage which is below the entire complex. At its construction peak, 4,000 workers and 17 tower cranes supported the fast-paced, 42-month construction project which is scheduled to conclude in Q1 2015.

The security systems design completed by AGRC Security was equally immense, consisting of 1,644 fixed and 62 pan-tilt-zoom IP-enabled Pelco cameras that were strategically located to support situational awareness. Fiber optic cabling was used for exterior cameras to preclude the introduction of power surges, ground loop and sneaker currents onto the shared computer network. Excluding doors that are equipped with HID Global access control readers, the site has 2,836 standard, high-security and roll-up presence/position sensors and 500-plus duress buttons. Access control reader compartmentalization added another 2,510 presence sensors along with HID multi-technology access control readers, request-to exit devices, and associated door hardware, which included 429 delayed egress doors to meet life safety code requirements. The entire access system centralizes onto the Honeywell Pro-Watch Security Management System, which is distributed via 304 PW6 Honeywell controllers.

Pedestrian-grade access is initially controlled by 27 X-ray and magnetometer machines, which were planned into the architecture for high-threat concerns. These devices were staged in front of 46 optical turnstiles that were strategically spread across the campus and specifically located at pedestrian entry points for each of the nine towers, the free-standing parking garage, and the hotel entry near the auditorium. Turnstiles located at tower entries integrate into the elevator destination dispatch system to provide a seamless process from the turnstile to the identification of the correct elevator to access. Elevator optical turnstiles were specified to operate in both a barrier and barrier free mode with the anticipation that the barriers would primarily be used during evening hours, allowing for a more transparent visitor/employee entry experience.

A Honeywell visitor authentication/management system located at each of the 10 guard stations and 15 self-enroll kiosks will be located throughout the site and enable QP security to know who is authorized to visit the site. Once approved, visitors will use a barcode reader to authenticate access at the turnstile, permitting access to the passenger elevators. Each passenger elevator has an emergency intercom which is routed via elevator traveling cable and converted via an encoder to IP and pushed onto the computer network. The service elevators will contain 20 access control readers with floor tracking. Service key monitoring will alert security immediately when the access control reader is bypassed.

Access will be controlled and authorized outside the facility by a select number of guard booths, which will have primary control over 19 operable anti-vehicular arresting barriers, six gate operators, 19 traffic lights and 60-plus vehicular presence detectors. Vehicular access shall be separately authenticated by 16 long-range Wiegand outputted access control readers and over 5,000-plus active tags for the anticipated number of employees and contractors that will utilize the facility daily. Public parking shall be equipped with 40 IP-enabled call-for-assistance devices and strobes integrated into the architectural way-finding program.

The Site Playbook & Security Strategy

When James Bychowski, our senior vice president for the Middle East, approached me several years ago and told me that “KEO has a small project that they want us to take a look at,” I was soon reviewing drawings, and a single programming statement, which indicated that the “project would be re-designed as a corporate campus.”

At first glance, I could tell how large and robust the project was. What made it really interesting is that the project was currently under construction, and its use was being converted. The first step in this process would be to develop a playbook and security strategy for the project.

The initial aspect of this project was to identify the usage and approach for vehicular, vendor and most importantly, pedestrian access. From there, we focused on the less-obvious assets at the project site. Once these assets were identified, we could develop controls for the project.

Subsequent to asset identification was a simultaneous review of site planning, siting, elevations, landscaping and lighting with the architect. Primarily, we needed to develop a site that was secure, but also inviting. The concepts of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) would be instrumental in this regard. We separated usages from public to private with the unique arrangement of landscaping beds and ensured that there would be substantial opportunities for natural surveillance from the street, as well as the building. This natural setback formed a defined perimeter which encouraged witness potential and delayed access from potential unauthorized areas. With the definition of landscaping and a defined perimeter, we evaluated tertiary concerns, with lighting at the top of the list. Substantial emphasis was placed on the lighting program to increase the scene reflectance so proposed cameras for the site would be able to conduct video tours and investigate suspicious or alarmed intrusions at all hours of the day and night.

Vehicle Access

With the modification of the environment, KEO and Aon quickly integrated traffic planning into the project. This is where the first and one of the most difficult challenges for the project was uncovered. The project was originally anticipated to be a retail environment with staggered vehicle access throughout the day. The new programming anticipated 5-6,000 cars arriving nearly simultaneously at the start of the work day and then leaving at end of the day. The difficulty was that with a defined perimeter, the project would require operable vehicular barriers. The cycle times of these barriers would create significant queuing, which would bleed over onto the city streets and could create downstream traffic concerns; therefore, we needed to develop an approach that could provide the security necessitated while limiting queuing.

AGRC Security, KEO, the project traffic planner, and QP collaborated on an approach which would support a streamlined, automated, and authenticated process. It was a multi-faceted approach that required the integration of operations, architecture, and technology. It began with a collaborative white-boarding process where cars were initially consolidated by staggering start and stop times for the employees arriving at the campus.

Next, guard booths were orientated to support both interior pedestrian process and exterior vehicle control using the existing auto-court. A reception/security desk area was created with exterior doors to enable security staff to respond to vehicles that did not belong at the site. Additionally, a vehicle search area was provided to allow the reintegration of a vehicle that was initially precluded from entering. Finally, the landscaping and vehicle lanes were modified to prevent accidental or deliberate vehicular access to the parking garage from the public street.

The team developed a plan that would leverage technology and the effective use of guard booths. The plan used active transponders to validate access for vehicles authorized to access the site.

Figure 1 below, illustrates the successful approach. Authorized vehicles (green) entering the site, would pass over a vehicle loop presence sensor. The vehicle presence sensor would activate a long-range RFID access control reader, which authorized the vehicle and shunted the alarm for a second presence sensor that the vehicle would cross immediately after the first sensor. In the event that the second presence sensor was activated without being shunted, then video would be simultaneously activated for the area so security could approach the vehicle to manually process the vehicle or have the person present their ID badge to authenticate access (orange). This process envisioned individuals who either forgot their transponders or the transponder malfunctioned. The process also envisioned random screening and a method for reintegrating vehicles that were authorized to access the site either by presenting a personal credential or after the initial screening point.

The innovative part of this design used cars entering the auto-court as a natural vehicular barrier and traffic calming element. When cars were not authenticated to be on-site, they were dismissed back onto the public drive (red).


Another major challenge for this project was space planning. While pedestrian and vehicular access was important, understanding where people were allowed to go once they gained access to this facility was equally important. First, security zoning diagrams were developed to clearly annotate public/quasi-public and secure areas. These color-coded drawings were instrumental in recognizing the locations for access control, but additionally identified life safety and egress concerns.

Design planning progressed rapidly based on these diagrams which also defined vertical and horizontal access segregation. Separate shuttle elevators were provided for the parking areas to prevent direct access to the tower and access control readers were placed in the stair enclosures at every floor entrance/exit for each of the nine towers. A distributed common location for access control panels and links to QP’s computer network was established. Space planning was also addressed.

Situational Awareness

AGRC Security and QP worked closely to identify a monitoring approach that would support supervision and monitoring for the existing site and the estimated 3,000 additional cameras that were monitored at off-site locations.

The security control center is the nerve center for the project and is powered by a state-of-the-art, redundant security operations room which supports supervisory situational awareness via three ergonomic Evans consoles, while 10 20-inch LCD monitors provide direct access to camera, access control, and visitor management systems via 15 workstations. All operators have visual access to the video wall via 10 Mitsubishi DLP thin beveled monitors for a fluid arrangement of any video source.

The heart of the system (head-end equipment) is located in a data center, where the security systems — primarily the video storage — take up 10 full-height, extra-deep equipment racks for the Honeywell MAXPRO Video Management System R-400 camera servers.

The Complete Program

The security installation contractor, JBK Controls, is using Aon’s integrated design to implement the technology solution. JBK Controls, headquartered in Qatar, is one of the largest systems integrator of life safety, IT software and services, building management and security systems in Qatar. 

“Our people design, maximize and extend product applications, and manage projects with good governance and controls to deliver on time and budget,” says Rajan Jagdish, JBK’s Director for IT and security. “Our customized software solutions reduce operating expenses by simplifying and integrating the user interface — minimizing the skill levels needed and reducing training hours.” 

About the Author:
Sean Ahrens, CPP, BSCP, CSC is the Practice Leader for Security Consulting & Design at Aon Global Risk Consulting|Security Consulting & Design.