Designing Facilities for Safety and Security
By Johnny Boyd
You're planning to renovate your athletic facility or maybe even build a new one. You have many items to consider and cover with your architect, design and management teams. Location, budget, schedule, programming, amenities, marketing, profit/loss — the list is long, and rightfully so. But have you missed anything?
STEP 1 : Safety and security is the top priority
- Take time to educate yourself.
- Contact your insurance company and ask for a discussion of common insurance safety-related concerns.
- Survey potential clients about their security and safety questions.
- Tour other facilities and note staffing numbers, staffing locations, interior and exterior lighting levels, floor types, signage, parking locations, parking-to-front-door visibility, door security, security cameras, and clear floor space between equipment units.
- Note quality of or lack of facility maintenance, both interior and exterior.
STEP 2 : Create a business safety statement
- Write out your safety goals for your facility, daily operations and business management.
- Spell out procedures and timelines for material selection, maintenance, client surveys and insurance audit.
- Include your safety statement in your written management, business and marketing plans.
- Include your safety statement in your building/project program.
STEP 3 : Develop an internal safety culture
- Promote safety and require all upper management and facility ownership to support safety and security in all aspects of the facility's design, operation, maintenance and management.
STEP 4 : Interview for safety and security
- Interview and ask prospective sports architects about their experience with safety and security design and integration.
- Select a sports architect with strong process of safety and security design and integration.
- Select a sports architect with an understanding of current best practices for safety and security design, materials and supporting technologies.
STEP 5 : Outline project safety and security goals
- Meet with your sports architect and outline project goals and requirements.
- Provide a written building/facility program that clearly states that safety and security are top priorities.
- List expectations, including required diligence for insurance response, floor material selection, building material selection, material durability, lighting level review, entry/exit visibility, building code compliance, door security, security camera placement/coverage, parking lighting/security, equipment placement, and interior staffing locations for internal visibility.
STEP 6 : Contract for safety and security
- Include a safety and security provision in the contract/agreement with your architect.
- List safety and security goals, required documentation and other pertinent information in the contract/agreement.
STEPS 7 : Require Regular Reviews
- Require reviews of safety and security design in every meeting with your architect and design team.
- Ask questions about how a decision affects safety and security.
- Ask questions about how material selections affect safety and security.
- Ask questions about how specific insurance concerns are being addressed.
- Review client surveys and expressed safety concerns with your architect, and develop design responses.
STEP 8 : Promote and market safety and security
- Work with your architect and design team to develop drawings and project data at specific periods during design to highlight safety and security features.
- Use drawings and data in promotional materials (posters, advertisements, social media) that highlight your safety and security efforts.
Step 9: Hold Everyone Accountable
- Hold all team members accountable for safety- and security-related selections and decisions.
- Require changes to design and systems that do not meet your stated safety and security goals.
STEP 10 : Review and Update
- Review your written safety statement and business plan monthly and update as needed.
- Conduct periodic client and staff surveys of safety and security concerns at your completed facility.
- Share results with your architect.
- Engage your architect to make changes and updates, regularly addressing client and staff concerns.
- Maintain and repair damaged or failing items at your facility immediately, as deferred maintenance is often listed in gathered surveys as a leading safety concern.
Safety and security must be top-of-mind concerns. Facility owners, operators and architects share the responsibility for designing facilities that offer visitors not only a rewarding experience but a safe environment.
Keeping Your Venue Safe from Terrorist Threats
As security directors watch the terrorist threat escalate, their responses have been to fortify their programs accordingly. Unfortunately, it is not enough to keep pace with hostile actors; you must outpace them. You must anticipate new, emerging terrorist tradecraft and tactics before they are implemented. You must recognize potential risks and vulnerabilities in your facilities and address them before they are exploited. Whether you manage a professional sports venue, a high school athletic department or a community organization, the best way to begin this process is through a comprehensive risk and vulnerability assessment.