"Developers must address security in early planning and design stages"

7173288223 f6096b48a3 zIntegrating security solutions at later stages of development often impacts the aesthetics of the original design. (Image source: Eric Haglund/Flickr)Security Planning and Design for the Built Environment Seminar hosted by Restrata on 18 May 2017, addressed the importance of engaging a security consultant at the early stages of planning and development

At the seminar Aaron Thatcher, associate safety and security planner at the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC), told attendees, “It is fundamental for developers and architects to engage a security consultant at the early planning stages to ensure best practice is followed.”

Thatcher explained that crime in the region is on the rise, at a disproportionate rate to the population growth, underscoring the importance of planning for crime prevention within the urban space. The drive to diversify economies away from oil and gas, often in the direction of leisure and tourism, means that many projects now incorporate crowded places. "Addressing potential terrorist threats that could be perpetrated against these high profile spaces is now a priority,” he added.

“This process should be a partnership – security isn’t black or white, and as such there are a multitude of options available if considered early enough, which will ensure resilience is planned into the property, and forms a bespoke solution to address the needs of the built environment, whilst balancing the required aesthetic requirements of the property.”

During their presentation, the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council delivered an overview of both the Safety and Security Planning Manual (SSPM) and the processes in place to ensure that the focus is being brought back to the planning and design phases of our urban spaces.

On the whole, across the Middle East, it is apparent that safety and security is being addressed to ensure projects meet local and international standards, however Ian Todd, VP of professional services at Restrata, told attendees, “All too often we find that we are engaged after initial plans have been drawn up or even worse, construction has commenced. This makes it much harder to integrate security solutions without impacting the aesthetics of the original design.”

Ian went on to emphasise the potential effect on costs, “When we are engaged at a late stage, the financial impact of integrating security within the design to bring the property in line with best practice standards can be an unwelcome addition to the design and construction costs of the project. In most cases these costs could have been reduced or avoided completely if we had been involved from the outset.”

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