The value of Security Consultants to Property Owners and Property Management Companies

26 mar

Security Management
Most organisations in the RSA have a requirement for security services in various forms, namely manned guarding, technical security, alarms and specialized services and or a combination of services.

Security is not a core function of most organisations, yet the income statement will show that there is excessive expenditure on this item annually. Often  this cost, when dissected is perceived as a ‘grudge’ or a non-revenue earning purchase. It is thus imperative that the monies spent by organisations provide value for money and proper measurement and analysis of services.


5 Considerations for the property owner and property manager

1.    Identify the need for security

Be it high-rise office buildings, libraries, hospitals and clinics, financial institutions or shopping centres, each of these commercial properties require a unique approach to ensure that peculiar security challenges, threats and vulnerabilities are managed in such a way to contribute toward effectively mitigating risks and creating a safer environment for all stakeholders.

2.    Create a Security Philosophy

The function of security can basically be described as the protection of lives, property and information for the rightful owner thereof. Protection is an activity, which implies the application of manpower, resources and systems.  Both over- and under-protection must be guarded against however and by creating a security program will that the implied philiosphy is transcended into a practical execution.


An effective security programme usually comprises of interalia:

  • A description of the item or function to be protected;
  • A determination of the factors threatening its safety;
  • An analysis of the current protection provided;
  • A determination of the extent and nature of additional protection that is required;
  • The cost-implications of any additional measures, and
  • The regular re-evaluation of the security situation.

3.    Devise a Risk Evaluation and Quantification Program

Risk evaluation and quantification form a part of the overall security evaluation. It defines the value and extent of risk exposure for the various facilities. Successful security system designs are not only about the effective installation of technical components, but also about reducing risks. Clearly a system that aims to reduce risk must cater for today’s challenges and tomorrow’s risks.  Security technology systems are very technical and installations need to cater for a variety of conditions.


When devising a risk evaluation program, the following process should be followed:

  • Conduct a comprehensive security risk assessment through a reputable, independent (vendor-neutral) security management consultant for unbiased results;
  • Develop a conceptual security system design aimed at effectively mitigating the prominent vulnerabilities identified as part of the security;
  • Approve a Risk assessment process: The conceptual security system design and its cost estimation should be approved by all key stakeholders;
  •  Develop a detailed security system including the design, installation/upgrade technical specification, project plan and budget;
  • Procure suitable service providers and independent project management consultants to implement and commission the project;
  • Amend the security policy and standard operating procedures to reflect the implemented improvements and measure its effectiveness against actual security incidents and/or loss events experienced in the past.

When comprehensive foresight is applied to plan and manage tomorrow’s risks with today’s equipment, clients can indeed reap the benefits of proper risk design planning.

4.    Create a Security Plan

Security in any specific organisation is basically an effective combination of manpower and enabling security systems.  The success or failure of this system is largely dependent on the definition of the security policy. Property owners and managers need to possess an underlying understanding of what constitutes a physical protection system and must develop a safety and security programme to suit the requirements of the specific property and its tenants, whether the property is residential, commercial or industrial. 

This system should be able to initiate actions of:


·         Detection

·         Delay

·         Response


A.   High Rise Office Building Security

The advent and rapid development of computerised building management systems have simplified the property manager’s security management responsibility to a large extent, however the effectiveness of such systems are largely determined by the detail of the design and configuration for it to deal with particular requirements.

Visitor management, building surveillance, access control to sensitive areas, fire protection, intruder detection system and guard force management systems are all fully integrated into the same building management system.

Visitor management is of vital importance in high-Rise buildings where office space occupants do not care for unwanted guests in their offices.  Property managers should thus ensure that visitors are properly enrolled, processed and directed to the correct floor and office. This is where effective conceptual design should be incorporated.

·         Maintenance, repair and delivery personnel are another category that requires stringent access control attention.

·         Basement and / or outdoor parking areas, notorious for assaults, car-jacking and abductions, need to be well-lit with visible patrol guarding supported by suitable smart surveillance systems to perform camera patrols and auto-notify of any suspicious activity.

B.   Multi- level residential property Security

 Effective access control to deliver on the “24/7 Security and Peace of Mind” promise is of vital importance and may well become a very complicated aspect  to manage if not designed and configured appropriately in respect of the property’s security threat profile.

The property’s perimeter and outside gardens, walkways, refuge, laundry and lock-up garage areas need to be well illuminated with discreet surveillance for rapid response to any incident or suspicious situation.

 The ever-inflating asset value as residents keep adding luxury item (flat-screen TV’s, laptops, etc.) to their homes creates a wealth association and may well convert such properties into a “crime magnet” if property managers do not apply healthy security management principles.

5.    Appoint a security management consultant:


5.1.        Why a security management consultant?


A security management consultant (SMC) is a physical security professional with security management credentials and experience gained serving in positions of responsibility within one or more specialised sectors of the physical security industry.


5.2.        What can the SMC offer the property owner or manager?

The physical security industry is divided into a range of specialised fields such as manned guarding, security technology engineering, security system design and implementation, alarm installations, monitoring and response, investigations, surveillance and training.

Their knowledge and experience is made available to customers through engagement of the following key service offerings:

·           Risk assessment/advisory;

·           System/service design;

·           Service/project implementation;

·           Performance measurement;

·           Compliance and functional audits.


The SMC should be able to comprehensively assess the customer’s physical risk profile, security systems and existing services, and advise independent risk mitigation to the long-term advantage and benefit of the customer.  This requires the ability to extract the relevant industry/product knowledge and effectively apply it to mitigate the customer’s security risk profile and audit existing security services and systems.

This process would involve inter alia the following:

  • A security risk assessment (SRA) which will identify the client’s threats, its vulnerability and exposure to such threats, the occurrence-probability;
  • Once the SRA is conducted, strategic (3-5 year) security plan should be developed which clearly defines organisational security objectives;
  • Based upon the strategic plan, a technology specification should be designed;
  • A vendor pre-qualification process is embarked upon;
  • Once this specification is completed and the pre-qualification process is finalised, the organisation may embark on a managed request for proposal (RFP) process, will identify the best pre-qualified contractor to meet the organisational requirements.


Once this RFP process is finalised then the organisation can embark on an informed security installation where all factors are taken into consideration.


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