Evolution, the integrated fire and security solutions-focused business, believes the security industry is being too slow to adopt (and adapt to) Building Information Modelling (BIM) and reap the benefits that it can bring when it comes to the design and commissioning of new security installations.
The company also believes that architects and contractors are being similarly slow to engage with security businesses early in the design process, unintentionally creating problems – and adding cost – that could be avoided with greater foresight and planning.
As a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics within a facility, BIM allows information to be shared quickly and easily among interested parties, not only in the initial stages of a building’s design, but also after its completion.
For some reason, however, security – and the impact of security design – is not yet a core part of BIM thinking. Whereas architects are principally concerned with how a given building looks and ‘flows’, little thought seems to be given to operational security requirements, despite their significant impact on the location and siting of power, conduits and lighting.
Initial planning and design
Brendan McGarrity MSyI MIExpE MIABTI, Evolution’s head of risk and design, explained: “Security integrators are being engaged after the event and not before. Installing high-speed gates and turnstiles after the event on a marble floor is clearly going to be more challenging, will impact programming, affect the aesthetics and be significantly more costly than if the installation (and the practical considerations) had been factored into the initial planning and design. Similarly, when a risk profile demands a CCTV view of a particular area, but the view of that area is obscured or there’s no way of affixing the camera to the necessary wall, then that too could have been addressed at a much earlier stage in the whole process.”
According to McGarrity, a building that’s built with a specific purpose is different from a general commercial premises that may house future tenants with very different needs, but there will still be core elements of security in ‘shared’ areas that need to be accommodated.
“In the same way that the architect may consider the ducting for the HVAC, and include it as part of the BIM model, so too should there be a conversation with the security integrator,” observed McGarrity. “By engaging with all parties at both the design and the fit-out stage, we can collectively save everyone from a whole heap of trouble, inconvenience and cost further on down the line.”