Security Expert Witness On Site Security Planning

In Site Security Planning and Design Criteria, security expert witness Randall Atlas Ph.D., AIA and Anthony DiGreggario of Atlas Safety & Security Design, Inc. start with a “Statement of the Problem.”

While architects have to design buildings that are fire resistant and be accessible to persons with disabilities, they don’t have to make buildings resistant to crime. Designing for fire resistance and accessibility means complying with building codes and industry standards. The purpose of building codes around the United States is the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of the building occupants. Thus, architects and designers need to design for the safety and security of the users of the environment. The architects of the future must design against threats of criminal behavior, workplace violence, and acts of terrorism as part of their commitment to designing buildings that protect the building users.

The first contact a person has with a particular architectural project is accessing the site to gain entry to a property or building. With the increasing threats to persons and property, from acts of terrorism, workplace violence, and street crime, the first and most important line of defense is securing the site perimeter and the careful placement of the building/s on the given site.

Architects design buildings that serve a particular function for the users and clients of a building and hopefully do it in a pleasing aesthetic manner. But also important in fulfilling this task, this design should protect that user, ensuring their safety and security in the environment. The main guardian of health and safety for building designs are building codes, but these only address architectural features, such as egress design,
fire safety, structural integrity, stair proportions, and railing design while ignoring the considerations of crime or terrorism. As safety is a prime consideration of building codes, security of the site and of building users should be considered a high priority.