Class A Buildings: A Complete Guide For Access Control
Class A building owners face security risks from a variety of potential sources. Threats to security and safety can come from anywhere, at any time. Every comprehensive building security plan should include access control to the Class A building to ensure that only authorized individuals and property enter and exit the premises. Follow these guidelines to gain and maintain access control of your Class A building.
Access Control: Ingress and Egress Security
One of the most important access control duties for a security guard in a Class A Building is to monitor areas of ingress and egress.
Areas of ingress (access) are points at which people enter the building. Areas of egress are points at which people exit. Controlling areas of ingress and egress ensures that only authorized vehicles, persons, and materials are allowed to enter the building, move about the building and leave the building.
There are many ways in which commercial security officers can help control areas of ingress/access and egress:
- Physical equipment: Locks, alarm systems, sign–in/out logs, key card entry systems.
- Cameras: Security cameras posted at all areas of ingress and egress can help security officers monitor these entrances and exits while documenting who is coming and going in case of an emergency or security incident.
- Personnel control: Many Class A buildings require authorized tenants to carry a building identification card. Visitors, contractors, etc., are required to sign in and present a valid form of identification. They may also be required to have an escort through the building.
It is important to remember that security guards and officers are there to protect Class A building tenants. Controlling areas of ingress and egress should not be seen as a violation but rather an act of providing security. Unfortunately, we no longer live in a world where it is wise to allow the general public to walk freely in and out of private spaces. Skilled security guards and solid ingress/egress policies and procedures are key elements of access control in Class A buildings.
Property Control for Class A Buildings
When we think about Class A building security in areas of ingress and egress, we often focus on the humans coming in and going from the building.
But what about the materials coming in and going out?
Effective access control plans for Class A buildings should include property control procedures that prevent theft, sabotage, and criminal activity. Buildings should develop signage to post at entrances indicating that all property, packages, and/or belongings being brought into the facility are subject to inspection by security officers.
Backpacks, bags, purses, and parcels belonging to employees or other regular building occupants should be inspected by a security officer. Property control as far as deliveries and shipments will likely be handled differently. Security officers, front desk attendants, or loading bay receivers should have a daily list of items that are expected to be brought into the building each day and should be signed for by specific, authorized individuals. Security teams should work with building owners and tenants to work out any further inspection procedures.
When it comes to property leaving the building, access control is still crucial. This prevents theft of property from building tenants. Authorized outgoing property should be tagged with a property pass signed by the appropriate authorizing individual. To maintain accuracy, a list of approved authorizers should be kept in an Officer Duty Book. If property passes are not feasible or available, consider requiring employees/occupants to use their access badges to remove authorized property. Items can then be recorded in the Operations Log to ensure proper record keeping and compliance.
Property control for Class A buildings should also include procedures for lost and found or unattended items. Items turned over to security officers should be recorded in a log.
Vehicle Control For Class A Buildings
Controlling foot traffic and property are important steps for maintaining effective Class A building access control, but vehicle traffic control should not be ignored.
This type of access control can be challenging because poorly planned procedures can lead to traffic congestion or can slow-building occupants’ ability to get to and from their destination on time.
It is important to note that commercial security guards do not have the authority to enforce traffic laws. Commercial security guards can supervise vehicle access control for Class A buildings by providing parking passes to authorized visitors, ensuring all vehicles are parked properly, and visually inspecting improperly parked vehicles from the outside and alerting the proper governing body if an individual is parked illegally or suspiciously.
Security officers may also need to control vehicles’ entry and exit from the Class A building’s parking lot or garage. If required to inspect vehicles as part of access control procedures, commercial security guards should follow these guidelines:
- Stop the vehicle and advise the driver/occupants of the reason for the inspection.
- If occupants need to vacate the vehicle, their identification should be checked, and they should be given a place to wait that is approximately six feet away.
- The security guard can inspect the vehicle’s inside, including between seats, under seats, glove box, and other compartments, sun visor, and trunk.
- The security guard can also inspect the outside of the vehicle, including the wheel wells, under bumpers, and the undercarriage using angled mirrors.
Commercial security teams in Class A buildings should always be aware of and advised of their rights to inspect and their limitations. Officers that overstep legal restrictions could put their employer or building owners at risk of lawsuits.
Lock And Key Access Control For Class A Buildings
Locks can be found all over Class A buildings. They secure doors, windows, containers, loading bays, drawers, closets, and more. The building’s security department must oversee access control of all keys that operate in the building.
The security department should have at least one, but likely two, copies of all keys and master copies of building access cards. Those items should be stored in their own locked area(s), tagged to identify the specific lock/reader each one opens, and access to those storage areas should be limited.
Should anyone need to take a key – including members of the commercial security team – that should be signed out and logged under an authorized security officer’s supervision. Keys should be inventoried at least two times per day to identify any potential missing keys. Unaccounted for or missing keys should be reported to the security director immediately to maintain secure access control.
Keep two copies of emergency-use-only keys and store them in sealed, dated envelopes in two separate locations. The envelopes should be labeled as for emergency use only. If an envelope must be opened, it should be recorded in the log, and after the keys have been returned, the envelope should be resealed, signed, and dated. Only approved personnel should ever have access to emergency use keys.
The Right Security Officers Matter For Class A Building Access Control
The best access control procedures can only be effective if you have the right security officers in place. Class A building owners can hire their own security teams or contract security guards from an expert third-party commercial building security service.
Hiring an in-house team can be attractive, but unless you are an expert in vetting and verifying security personnel and properly training them, this process typically isn’t ideal.
Hiring a security team through a commercial security service is often the most efficient and effective way to ensure safety, security, and access control. A security service can also protect building owners from liability. If an in-house security officer oversteps his or her legal authority, if they act improperly or in some cases, even if they question the wrong person, the building owner will be held liable. However, a third-party security provider takes on that responsibility and liability and legally must hold insurance to help mitigate risk.
Third-party commercial security guards are also properly trained. The security company will work with a building’s security director to get a firm grasp of all policies and procedures and keep officers trained on building-specific needs.
Are You Ready To Improve Access Control At Your Class A Building?
If you are looking for improved access control for your Class A building or if you need a fully trained and expert team of commercial security officers, contact BOS Security today at 404-793-6965.
Not sure where you may need security and access control the most? Our free Security Needs Assessment is designed to help you identify weak points to create better security plans. We look forward to helping you protect your building and its occupants.