Risk Assessments are Not “Sexy” but Needed
Today, most facility managers are more concerned about building security than they were just a few years ago. That’s because of the rise in crime in most American cities, and, with the pandemic fading, they want building users to feel safe in their properties.
However, that has not always been the case. Historically, upgrades in building security get pushed to the back burner. Why? Because they are not very “sexy”, that is to say, they are not exciting or even terribly interesting; adding more security cameras and alarm systems, or closing entries and installing turnstiles won’t generate the same kind of visible gratification that remodeling the lobby, elevators, or hallways of a building would.
Another issue is that often facility managers have a reactive approach to building security. Someone breaks into the facility after hours or, in the worst-case scenario, there is a shooting in the building. That’s when managers look for ways to ensure such incidents never happen again.
Instead of taking a reactive posture regarding security, it is far more advantageous – and safer for everyone – to be proactive. Building security may not be “sexy”, but it is needed more now than ever before.
Don’t Risk Not Having a Risk Assessment.
We just discussed the importance of facility managers being proactive when it comes to building security. The way this is done is to have a risk assessment conducted. A professional risk assessment identifies and evaluates both natural hazards and human threats to a building and those using it.
If the assessment is being conducted for a business, it not only looks into the physical security of the facility, but can also look into all departments within the company, including IT, human resources, the legal department, C-suite executives, marketing, and general operations. Each department will have its vulnerabilities and security needs, and these must be reviewed.
Once completed, well-prepared risk assessments makes practical and realistic recommendations to help make a facility safer. If needed, it may include cost estimates to upgrade the facility to help eliminate or minimize vulnerabilities. In such cases, it may recommend steps that can be taken now, with minimal cost, and other measures that should be implemented over the next few months (or even years) that are needed but may be more costly.
Either way, professionally conducted risk assessments should be viewed as a necessary and proactive tool to help keep people and assets safe.
What You Need to Do Before Risk Assessments are Conducted
Different buildings have different security requirements and, in most cases, facility managers know their properties better than anyone else. Because of this, before having professional risk assessments conducted, managers need to do the following:
Write down the goals for the risk assessment. Is it to ensure safety in the entire building, where people enter and exit the building, particular floors, delivery entrances, parking lots, etc.? The more detailed and specific, the greater the assessment’s chances of proving valuable.
List your secret areas of concern. Often, managers are concerned about an area of the facility they believe is vulnerable, but because there has never been an incident, they do not share their concerns. Luck may have played a role in this. But luck does not make a facility safe. Make sure you list any area in the facility that you are concerned about, allowing the risk assessment professionals to determine if there are vulnerabilities that need to be addressed.
Risk assessments are ongoing. Recommendations made two or three years ago in a risk assessment may not be adequate today. This is especially true as a result of the pandemic and the rising crime rate. Because evaluations are ongoing, managers should learn as much as they can from each risk assessment conducted. With each assessment, you learn more about how to keep your facility safe.
Keep Up with the Joneses
To say the commercial real estate market today is in trouble is an understatement. For instance, there are major office buildings on Chicago’s LaSalle Street that had waiting lists of tenants before the pandemic. Now some of those buildings are empty.
And where did those tenants go? Some are gone forever, but others are relocating, and one of the top things they are looking for is buildings that have ample and state-of-the-art security measures in place.
For instance, we mentioned in another post how the lowly ID badge is being tossed in the wastebasket. It is being replaced with high-tech building apps – sometimes referred to as visitor management systems – that help managers know who is in their facility, their vaccination status, and where they are at any moment. This sounds a bit intrusive, but in today’s world, it is needed.
Here’s the bottom-line: we are in some difficult times and there will always be winners and losers in such times. This means building managers in those empty office buildings on “LaSalle streets around the country” need to pay attention to what their neighbors are doing. If they are conducting risk assessments and improving the security in their facilities, you should be too. It’s one way to ensure you end up in the winners’ circle.
Johnathan Tal is Chief Executive Officer of TAL Global Corporation, an international investigative and risk-consulting firm. He served as a military field intelligence officer for the Israeli armed forces during the 1970s. Tal has also served as an antiterrorism security specialist. He is a licensed investigator, Certified Private Investigator (CPI), and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), and he holds a Bachelor of Science degree. He can be reached through his company website at www.talglobal.com.