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Early engagement: Why the Security Overlay to RIBA Plan of Work is a ‘game changer’ for security industry
Simon Whitehouse, Managing Director at SGW Consulting, covers the new security overlay from The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Simon explains why the overlay, designed to integrate security into the building design process, is a ‘game-changer’ for the security industry and what its impact may be on the wider consultancy and built environment landscape.
Fundamentally changing attitudes to security in design
Security has often been an afterthought tacked onto the end of the building design process just before completion, leading to ineffective, overly complex, and often visually unappealing security measures.
Security consultants have regularly been appointed too late in the architectural design process to have any ability to influence plot selection, access and circulation, critical asset placement and the architectural intended use of space. The new Security Overlay aims to guide the design team in taking an alternative and suitably informed approach.
The guidance provides a blueprint for undertaking rigorous security risk assessments before the design brief has even been drafted. This allows the identified risks to inform design decisions from the beginning of the process proactively.
For clients, this fundamental shift brings significant advantages. Integrating security considerations early on helps get safety and security outcomes perfectly aligned with their organisational goals, risk appetite, security posture and operational needs without requiring expensive retrofits later.
As an embedded member of a new build or refurbishment project’s design team, a security consultant is crucial in defining security requirements for different project phases:
- The base build phase involves designing the fundamental structure and systems of the building. During this phase, a security consultant focuses on establishing the foundational security measures to support the building’s overall security strategy.
- The shell and core phase involves designing the building’s structural elements, façade, and core systems. The security consultant ensures the building’s basic security features are integrated into these elements.
- The fit-out phase involves designing the interior spaces of the building, including partitions, finishes, and furniture. The security consultant ensures that the interior design supports previously established security measures.