Building security

How building design influences condo security

An expert shares tips for minimizing access control, delivery and parking challenges
Monday, March 23, 2015
By Ronald Wells

Condominium security and the management of security services can be challenging if the three main bodies that govern the service (the condo board, property manager and contracted service provider) do not communicate and find common purpose. But the challenge begins long before the developer completes a building and turns it over to the condo corporation.

The design of the building will play a large role in determining how challenging securing a condo premises will be. In order to minimize these challenges, engineers ought to consider the flaws of previous buildings and consult security professionals. However, budget has a huge influence on building security measures into a condo’s physical design. The security budget must be prioritized if the designer is looking to establish a secure facility.

Herewith, a walk through how building design influences access control, deliveries and parking, along with corresponding security tips.

Access control

The physical design of a condominium building can pose challenges for access control. Many buildings have emergency exits that are out of sight along the building’s perimeter, making them harder to monitor. Buildings with shared facilities and adjoining towers generate increased human traffic to control and monitor, including residents, visitors, deliveries and contractors. A complex with two or more towers, shared facilities and adjoining lobby entrances creates greater areas to cover.

Developing a security system that supervises personnel access to the condo with a combination of security personnel, access control, CCTV and concierge systems is a great way to maximize security coverage. The system’s design could address high-traffic hours with increased security staff presence during peak hours; modify physical features with added man traps (small spaces with two sets of interlocking doors that require one door to close before the other opens); and include an access card system with security guards monitoring when doors are held open. In cases where there are several lobbies and access points, carefully consider the placement of security desks. Designing appropriate access-control measures and systems addresses unwanted persons and activity in a building.


Parcel and package delivery to condominiums is a challenge to manage, especially around the holidays. Between postal service and parcel deliveries, concierge services get inundated with packages. Some buildings either lack a parcel room or the parcel room’s location takes personnel away from the concierge desk, leaving the desk vulnerable.

The concierge services should have a parcel control system (software for this is available) to log, file and access parcels in an organized fashion. There are services that incorporate parcel control and logging with their concierge services, with a parcel room located at or near the concierge desk.


Parking is an increasing concern in condominiums as space becomes scarcer in urban areas with growing populations. The challenge is providing enough parking for residents, visitors, commercial tenants and their employees and staff. The answer is to design a parking program that governs parking usage and monitors it with appropriate enforcement.

Local law enforcement and municipal parking enforcement resources are limited, and response times are typically long, especially during rush hour. A security service with the resources, authority, training and experience to design a parking program that incorporates appropriate signage, a permit program, municipal authority and an enforcement program can help condo corporations meet these challenges. Turnkey solutions allow property managers to focus on other priorities.

Once a building has been constructed, the condo board is left to address the security challenges posed by the building’s design. Only then can the board, management and security services begin to communicate and collaborate to resolve them.

The board and property management should look to hire a security company that has systems in place to support its mandates and fulfill its requirements. (Don’t forget to check a security provider’s references from past and present clients.) A security service with expertise in condominiums and condominium security solutions can help corporations respond to concerns about access control, deliveries and parking.

Ronald Wells is president and CEO of Cancom Security Inc., established in 2007. Ronald has more than 20 years of law enforcement, military and security experience in several capacities. He has serviced several buildings and worked with several property managers to customize integrated security services for each of their individual buildings.