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Getting Started with Security System Design

by Chris Lee | February 27th, 2017

When you're getting started in security system design, there are a lot of aspects that need to be taken into consideration in terms of design effectiveness, business strategy and operational efficiency. Failure to consider each of these aspects can lead to a business design that creates poor-quality security systems, is slow to react to changes in the industry or wastes time, energy and money in operations. But what do you need to know to get your security system design business into a profitable situation? Here's some guidance on the best process to get going on the right foot.

Getting Started with Security System Design

Basic Principles of Security Design

Though security design is a complex topic that entails physical deterrents and barriers as well as response to incursions, detection and monitoring of potential security issues is the main focus of individuals involved in security system design, because these aspects provide the ability to monitor the effectiveness of prevention and response elements of the overall design. However, the security system cannot be the sole source of security for the design, so we'll briefly discuss each aspect here.
  • Physical design can include a wide range of aspects of facility design, from door design and fencing to warning signs and vehicle height restrictions. They can be obvious, such as electrified fences, or much more subtle, such as concrete planters in front of a structure that restricts access by vehicle and creates a longer stand-off distance.
  • Security system design includes CCTV, alarms and similar electronically-assisted monitoring and alert systems. It can also include electronic access control using keycard devices, remote entry systems and similar aspects. This allows the security team to monitor a much larger area with a smaller pool of labor.
  • Response to incursion planning involves creating plans and exercises to respond to a variety of situations. To remain effective, these plans need to be regularly reviewed for potential weaknesses and updated to deal with any potential flaws found in the response plan.

Factors to Take Into Account When Designing a Security System

As you're planning a security system, there are a number of areas you'll need to consider to create the most effective design. Though it may seem like the last point you should consider, the design process itself should be the first area to take into account. Using digital tools to create the original design helps ensure you can quickly and effectively design a system that allows you more time to focus on potential weaknesses in the design, providing you with a stronger overall system that will provide better protection for your clients. But who are your clients and what are their needs? A public facility, such as a hospital or school, may have more vulnerabilities to active shooter situations, whereas a warehouse or drug store may be more concerned about theft. In these situations, one system focuses on preventing loss of life while the other focuses on strong access control to sensitive areas. It's vital that you consider what threats your client is facing and take them into account when planning the security system. Another aspect to consider is what areas are most acceptable for weaknesses in the system. When a budget is concerned, almost no security system is perfect, and there's always a way to work around the system. The best way to approach this is to determine which areas pose the lowest threat potential to the client and what their priorities are in terms of acceptable weaknesses.

Streamlining the Design to Punchlist Process

But how do you gain the time needed to spend additional time developing the design plan? One way is streamlining your process to spend less time working on administrative tasks and more time planning and installing security systems. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by using software systems that help automate these processes by working together. When you're considering design, estimating, administrative and accounting software, you want to look for software that will work well together. If you can, use software that allows you to create a design that can be automatically fed into your estimating software. If you can then export your estimate into a Word, Excel or PDF format while being able to send the same information into your accounting system, you've automated all the transfers between programs from initial project information and planning to final billing. Another option to look at is whether you can assign tasks from within a design or estimating program. This allows you to quickly assign tasks while you're working through the process. What about the option to use pre-planned custom assemblies in your takeoffs to save time and effort? How about a database that automatically updates to a national materials supplier and checks your estimate against averages to make sure there isn't a mistake? Though these sound like features that require significant investment in your IT assets or futuristic platforms that will take years to come into play for the average contractor, they're all available today with one simple package. Esticom's developers have plenty of experience in the field and have worked hard to develop software that can be used from design through the estimate process and export into a wide range of commonly available software products. With Esticom, you can import digital plans, do your takeoffs, automatically get the most recent prices from Home Depot, automatically email BOMs to your suppliers, assign tasks to other users in your group, customize your quote and then export it into a variety of program formats. After that, you can export the information into QuickBooks online for accounting purposes, make changes to the job as it takes place and use analytics to figure out which jobs are the most profitable and where to focus your efforts in the future. You can even try it with no credit card and no risk. Sign up for a free trial of our comprehensive estimation software and discover amazing productivity and automation.
Chris Lee
Chris Lee has an extensive background in preconstruction management as a former specialty contractor and business owner. As the Chief Estimator at Esticom, he’s helped thousands of specialty contractors digitize their preconstruction process to increase revenue and profitability while decreasing unnecessary overhead.

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