When designing a particular space, architects and security professionals might not always see eye-to-eye. Aesthetics play a huge part in the initial design stages, and security needs and requirements might sometimes be an afterthought. This can be problematic when the design is in its final stages, or when a security measures are eventually considered.
Think of security as that very important puzzle piece that suddenly doesn’t fit. Attempts to incorporate those security elements after the fact and adhere them to particular designs might become nearly impossible. This is especially true of spaces that require security elements in order for businesses to meet regulatory compliance, such as those in the cannabis sector.
It becomes abundantly clear that security requirements must be considered in the early design stages to prevent these bungles from occurring. In order to avoid future problems, there are a few steps that architects can take in the early stages of design.
Requiring Security in Design
This first step in eliminating this problem is simply changing the requirements of a design. Security must be at the forefront in design decision-making. There are three things that every workplace or business space should require especially in the cannabis sector:
1. Every design must be equitable to the safety, well-being and job performance of any individual within the space.
2. Designs should revolve around the requirements of those who will be occupying the space, and this includes security requirements necessary for properly maintaining and running the facility.
3. All designs should be built in such a way that prevents, and especially does not encourage the occurrence of criminal acts.
Designing a space that is pro-aesthetic and neglects the safety and security of individuals who occupy the space will be disastrous. Designing without considering potential security vulnerabilities is ultimately counterintuitive. That said, it is possible to design a floor plan that is both aesthetically pleasing and secure.
Aesthetics and Security Meet
When designing a space within the cannabis sector, artistic aesthetics meant to draw in and visually appeal to potential customers often take precedent over the need for floor designs and layouts designed with security in mind. These aesthetic preferences are often used as a way to combat what some architects consider to be a ‘fortress mentality’ among security professionals.
Architects tend to design and build in such a way that uses specific materials, and artistic lengths to create harmonious surroundings often negate the proper use of the space. These decisions are made at the expense of the actions performed within that particular space and the safety of those eventually occupying it. Often, these individuals will end up ill-equipped in dealing with or even preventing the occurrence of a crime event.
When the concern of the architect is purely aesthetic, security professionals are forced to approach the design much later than the initial stages, leaving them with the concerns of missing security elements from the ground up. Many times, the design is not lacking in security equipment, but rather the space was not designed with control of access or visual openness in mind. These two elements are make-or-break when it comes to altering the conditions that will ultimately curb criminal behavior and remove vulnerabilities that encourage crime
Curbing Vulnerabilities with Design
It’s safe to say that the best way to avoid security mishaps in design is to determine early what the designated purpose of the space is and what security technologies it will require. Once this purpose is clear, designers must consider what the legal, cultural and physical requirements are, and what are acceptable behaviors for occupying the space. The design then must be carried out in such a way that is supportive of these behaviors but also dissuades behaviors that are not acceptable.
There are certain very specific ways to design in an effort to mitigate vulnerabilities. The most important is to design with the intent that all who enter and exit the facility can be seen at all times. The floor plan or the structure should not be designed with areas that have blind spots, or areas that encourage nefarious behaviors. Visibility of all parts of a facility is key. If this factor is not taken into consideration early, the burden of cost is then on the business owner to work around or change these vulnerabilities.
Such changes include adhering to the concept of CPTED: Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. This can be redesigned landscaping, fire safety features and other environmental redesigns that are more effective in the reduction of crime, and even the fear of its occurrence. Ultimately, a good initial design has already mitigated these future problems. Architects who design with security in mind even consider how they can enhance a space, preventing crime rather than encouraging it.
Strategies for Improved Security
Surveillance techniques are a proven way to reduce threats in any space. Often surveillance is neglected as a safety feature in favor of more traditional approaches to security such as gates, fences and locks. Using proven and specific strategies such as surveillance to mitigate threats is often the best bet.
A great strategy, to make sure have covered all of your bases, is to undergo a security assessment by a security company and local law enforcement during the building permit process. Security consultants can also evaluate your facility and the likelihood of crime opportunity based on the statistical rate of the surrounding area. These jurisdictions also might have certain security ordinances such as what materials are used in the building of windows, doors and interior and exterior lighting.
There are three security strategies that are paramount to developing effective security practices in the cannabis industry: Access Control, Surveillance and Territorial Reinforcement. With the expert input of security professionals, designers can create spaces utilizing these three strategies to promote improved security measures.
Implications of Proper Design Measures
1. Access Control takes into account how denying access to certain individuals often prevents risk. This strategy utilizes security guard forces who pay attention to natural circulation patterns. This system can also be augmented by the use of certain mechanical locks and card key systems.
2. Surveillance uses various strategies to promote enhanced visibility to those attempting to prevent a criminal act. The effectiveness of this strategy can be enhanced by proper landscaping and building features that promote enhanced visibility. The position of equipment such as CCTV cameras is another safety enhancement for those patrolling interior and exterior activity.
3. Territorial Reinforcement involves the regular training and enhanced understanding of the individuals who occupy the space. Conscious individual action in cooperation with security officials, law enforcement and fellow employees aids in further curbing vulnerabilities and suppressing the potential for a criminal act.
Considering space and function is a necessary first step in creating designs that mitigate crime and enhance security. Designing floorplans with safety and visibility in mind is an educated directive for architects to take. Ultimately, the early intervention and assistance of security professionals is paramount to addressing the complex issues regarding safety and security in the cannabis sector.