Rules of Security Installation
|Copyright 2014 by Virgo Publishing.|
|By: Chester A. Gilliam|
|Posted on: 06/01/2004|
Rules of Security InstallationAvoiding pitfalls and making the most of gates, access, alarms and cameras
By Chester A. Gilliam
These days, self-storage facilities are quite different from those built 10 or 15 years ago. As they have evolved into state-of-the-art facilities offering much more than simple storage, their security needs, too, have progressed. Security systems require more planning and specialized equipment than ever before. Gone are the days of an architect drawing a line on the blueprints and calling it a gate. Also gone are days of waiting until the last few weeks of construction to choose your security vendor and system installer.
The biggest pitfall of installation is poor planning. Developers spend months determining just the unit mix, laying out plans and selecting buildings with little attention to security needs. Security must be accommodated from the beginning, as site layout can play a big part in how well a system functions. For example, if the gate is not placed properly on the site plans, you could end up with a layout that does not work well for traffic flow and creates operational problems.
It is imperative to include as part of your design team people experienced in the planning and installation of storage-specific security systems. You need professionals who can take an honest look at your site needs and budget, and devise the best system for your particular site.
General Installion Requirements
There are four major areas to consider when it comes to security installation: gates, access control, door alarms and video surveillance. Each has its own set of problems with respect to installation, operation and maintenance. However, there are some issues that seem more commonplace than others. First, let’s look at general rules for proper installation:
Design is everything, and gate placement is one of the most important and misunderstood security-system components. The entry gate must be in the right position to allow for the correct flow of traffic while providing admission to the office and controlling access to the site. This sounds like a lot to consider; but if you look at your plans and think about who will be using the gate, as well as the types of vehicles it will have to accommodate, you can minimize problem areas.
Here are some basic rules to follow for gate installation:
Where there is a gate, there will be an access system. Keypad placement is critical to your traffic flow. Placing keypads on the wrong line can turn a good gate design bad. While the standard for keypad placement is between 15 and 20 feet from the gate, sometimes it is necessary to place it closer or farther to assist traffic flow or control who has the right of way through the gate.
Keypad placement can look good on a blueprint and yet not work so well in the field. When deciding keypad and gate positions, it’s a good idea to look at the lay of the land. Examine the site and study how the gate and access system will look and feel when being used—where your buildings are, and the approach to the entry and exit keypads. Also consider what protection can be given to the keypads while they are being used.
General rules to follow for access-control installation include:
This is one of the most dramatic areas of change in the storage industry. Alarm systems have become more stable and reliable, offering true tenant protection. While they have evolved, they have also become a requirement in getting and keeping customers.
The biggest problem with an alarm system is it is has to be installed correctly. You need an installation company with self-storage experience. A general alarm-installation company or electrical contractor is not a good choice. There are numerous differences between a standard burglar-alarm system and a self-storage system. This makes it imperative to hire someone qualified. Most systems on the market are very stable and reliable as far as the equipment goes. However, a bad or even marginal install can cause you problems from the start.
Here are some rules for alarm-system installation:
The video industry epitomizes the phase “Change is constant.” With the introduction of the computer into the camera industry, we have seen changes at an unprecedented rate. And while these changes are wide in scope, they have simplified the installation and maintenance of CCTV systems.
Camera placement is the critical element, not only for what you are going to see, but performance. Cameras placed looking toward the sun or into shadows are going to have bad sight sometime during the day if not all of the time. Those placed where there are no gutters on buildings can be displaced during heavy snows, as can cameras exposed to areas of high wind or vibration. Choosing the right camera for the environment can make a big difference in performance.
Some rules to follow when installing surveillance cameras are:
More than ever before, self-storage security systems require more planning and a better understanding of what you want to achieve. The average cost for security has risen dramatically; and it is no longer practical to avoid planning for your system during the planning stages of your project. Security is often the last system put into a project, and owners often neglect to reserve ample time or funds for proper installation.
When budgets get tight, the security system is often one of the first things cut or reduced. Ironically, one of the first things prospective tenants inquire about is security! Planning for your security needs in the beginning will avoid problems at the end of your project.
Chester A. Gilliam has been involved in selfstorage security for the past 20 years. He now works for Wizard Works Security Systems Inc., a Littleton, Colo.-based provider of access systems, individual door alarms, gates, fencing, management software, surveillance cameras, perimeter security, sales, installation and service for the self- storage industry. He can be reached at email@example.com.