Facility Management – Using a Managed Physical Security Service

Building owners and occupiers commonly engage Facility Managers to look after their building services including cleaning, electrical services, mechanical services, security guarding, security technology, utilities and so on. In doing so, they are expected to reduce costs, maintain the quality of the services and minimise the risks of ongoing provision of these services. They therefore need to regularly provide advice to building owners or occupiers on the most effective ways of doing this.

In the area of security guarding and technology, a security consultant’s or adviser’s licence is generally required to legally provide this advice. A number of the large Facility Management companies do have this licence, but most however do not. Licensing is generally required if a Facility Manager advises their client on matters such as security guard numbers and deployment, recommended responses to security incidents, security procedures, what security technology to purchase, what keying systems to implement, what security improvements can be made etc. Without this licence, they are exposing themselves and their clients to penalties (the client being exposed for engaging an unlicensed operator) and lack of insurance coverage if unlicensed advice results in an adverse incident.

A simple solution to these problems is to engage a Managed Physical Security Service. This service can answer to the Facility Manager on a day to day basis but their invoices are sent to the building owner/occupier directly for the service. They also vet and approve security equipment and service provider invoices and send these directly to the building owner/occupier also. In that way, the Facility Manager is not providing security advice and is not on-selling any security services which would also require a security seller’s licence in some states.

A Managed Physical Security Service can be provided by an independent security consultancy that has the appropriate licences in place. Their complete independence from security equipment and service providers is paramount. They can legally manage all security contracts and security capital works in a way that allows them to input their expertise to reduce costs and risks. Their services can also include audits of service providers, audits of guard adherence to standards and procedures, security service quality audits, audits of security equipment for condition and appropriateness, site security risk assessments, development of site security plans, development of security procedures, detailed design of capital works, cost reduction and value management strategies and other ad hoc security advice.

The general licensing requirements of each state and territory in Australia for providing security advice are:

Location Security advice activities that require a licence
ACT Identify and analyse security risks and provide solutions, management strategies or both to minimise security risks.
NSW Identify and analyse security risks and providing solutions and management strategies to minimise those security risks.
NT No licence required.
QLD Give advice about security equipment or security methods or principles.
SA Provide advice on security alarm or surveillance systems (Note: Architects and Engineers are exempt).
TAS No licence required.
VIC Provide advice in relation to security equipment or security methods or principles. (Note: Registration is required, not a licence).
WA Investigate or advise on matters relating to the watching, guarding or protection of property.

(Connley Walker has significant experience in providing these services)

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Author: Simon Walker

Simon established Connley Walker Pty Ltd in 1996. He is a Fellow of Engineers Australia, a Registered Building Practitioner, a Member of the Australian Institute of Project Management, a Registered International Professional Engineer, a Registered APEC Engineer, and an SCEC Endorsed Security Zone Consultant. He is the author of the books Operational risk management: Controlling opportunities and threats, 2001 ISBN 0957907400 and Hospital and Health Care Security in Australia, 2009 ISBN 978-0-9579074-1-6.