Over the last decades, security has evolved into a highly sophisticated field of expertise that addresses both current and emerging threats. The security threats we face, ranging from traditional crime to terrorism and cyber-attacks, are constantly evolving as the methods of criminals and terrorists increase in sophistication. Against this background, WSP’s security experts work with public security officials, building owners, developers and security managers within organizations, as well as with architects, to safeguard people, property and businesses against loss and injury.
Security Solutions That Take Business Needs into Account
We work across a wide range of market sectors, with an expanding project portfolio that ranges from high-rise buildings on the Kuala Lumpur City Centre complex to the locks, bridges, depots and administrative buildings of the St Lawrence Seaway in Canada. Our portfolio includes private commercial and residential developments, government property, hospitals, educational establishments, data centres, research complexes, airports, ports and railway stations. Leveraging our experience, ingenuity and technical expertise, we design tailored solutions that are realistic and practical, that take business needs into account and encourage every-day life, while deterring criminals and terrorists.
Our approach is an integrated security strategy which combines planning, technology and management, includes physical, technical and procedural solutions and considers current and future security requirements. Criminals and terrorists constantly seek new ways to penetrate our defences; therefore we design flexibility into our security solutions to ensure they can be updated as new threats emerge.
Security is subject to a plethora of government and industry standards, police recommendations and planning requirements which vary from region to region. By combining our knowledge of these with our insight into the workings of the criminal mind and our understanding of local crime patterns, we apply our technical expertise to the optimization of our clients’ budgets for security provision. By working closely with core design teams of engineers and architects from the earliest design stages, and continually refining and reviewing our advice as project designs develop, we deliver fit-for-purpose solutions that also blend with the architecture and support the function of the building.
Assessing the Security Threats
Our starting point on every security project is to assess the security threats and to create a realistic and cost-effective strategy aimed at reducing the overall risk to an acceptable and manageable level. In identifying threats, we look at every aspect, from petty crime to terrorism, and provide balanced advice based on the reality of the situation. The risks for an iconic high-rise such as The Shard, whose high profile makes it a potential target for terrorists, would be very different from those of a hospital like the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital in Singapore, where priorities would be preventing unauthorized access into wards and controlling access to equipment and medical supplies.
WSP also conducts security reviews of existing premises to understand current security situations and vulnerabilities, while developing appropriate treatment strategies and audits to assess the compliance of organizations to specific government or industry standards.
Appropriate, Cost-Effective and Flexible Mitigation Measures
The next stage is to consult with our client to prioritize, estimate costs and implement risk mitigation measures, allowing for adaptation if needs change in the future. Changes can come in the form of new threats or, as in the case of commercial office buildings, new tenants whose security requirements depend on their line of business. A government department, for example, may face different threats from those facing a financial institution. Once our clients’ risks and operational requirements are evaluated, we advise on the most appropriate deterrents, which include both physical and electronic security measures.
Physical Security and Blast Mitigation
Physical security relates to the use of barriers to delay and defeat an attack with elements such as enhanced structural design and blast-resistant glazing. Terrorist bombings in recent years have highlighted the need to understand the impact of extreme events on building structures. Our specialists in disproportionate collapse and blast analysis can simulate the detonation of a device in a building or cityscape in order to analyze the effect of the resulting blast wave on the structural elements of buildings, including columns, beams, slabs and glazing.
Barriers, Landscaping and CPTED
Other aspects of physical security involve creating standoff from a building in the form of vehicle barriers, landscaping and street architecture, as well as manned security posts and control rooms. We also have expertise in making the public space around buildings safer via crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED). This method involves creating environments that discourage potential offenders from committing criminal acts by considering the physical design of the areas where people live and congregate. In Australia, we are providing security consultation for a major entertainment precinct development where, in addition to designs for a casino, hotels and public spaces, we have also completed CPTED assessments on the public realm throughout the development.
Technical Solutions for Improved Security
Our technical solutions include, among other things, video surveillance, access control, intrusion detection and communications systems, prohibited object and substance detection equipment, real-time location systems, emergency notification devices and perimeter protection design. We work in close partnership with multi-discipline design teams to ensure that security systems are integrated with a project’s building systems, such as public address, lighting, vertical transportation, visitor management or fire and life safety systems. In addition to system design, we support our clients through the tender and construction process, conduct on-site compliance reviews and participate in final system testing and commissioning.
Peace of Mind
Our security consultants have wide-ranging civilian, police and military backgrounds and extensive operational and industry experience. This, combined with the expertise of colleagues across project design teams and our in-house specialists in security-relevant fields such as crowd management, IT network security and enterprise resilience, allows us to develop highly effective, efficient and holistic strategies to mitigate the threat of crime and terrorism for properties of all kinds, ensuring peace of mind for our clients and the occupants of their buildings.