8.11 Electronic Security

IMPORTANT NOTE: The following criteria do NOT apply to all projects. Follow each criterion only if instructed to by your project-specific risk assessment. Many criteria are based on the recommendations of a specific building risk assessment/threat analysis. Where the criteria include a blank or offer a choice of approaches, the recommendations from risk assessment will provide information for filling in the blank or suggesting a choice of approaches.

The purpose of electronic security is to improve the reliability and effectiveness of life safety systems, security systems, and building functions. When possible, accommodations should be made for future developments in security systems.

This chapter is not a design guide for electronic security systems. The following criteria are only intended to stress those concepts and practices that warrant special attention to enhance public safety. Please consult design guides pertinent to your specific project for detailed information about electronic security (see section on Architecture and Interior Design, Interior Construction, Critical Building Components for location of critical building components).

Martin Luther King Courthouse, Newark, NJ
Martin Luther King Courthouse, Newark, NJ

Control Centers and Building Management Systems
Operational Control Center (OCC), Fire Command Center (FCC), and Security Control Center (SCC):

  • The SCC and OCC may be co-located. If co-located, the chain of command should be carefully pre-planned to ensure the most qualified leadership is in control for specific types of events.
  • Provide secure information links between the SCC, OCC, and FCC.

Backup Control Center (BCC):

  • A backup control workstation should be provided in a different location, such as a manager’s or engineer’s office. If feasible, an off-site location should be considered.
  • A fully redundant BCC should be installed (this is an alternative to the above).

Security for Utility Closets, Mechanical Rooms, and Telephone Closets
Key System. Anticipate use of a key system.

Intrusion Detection . Some or all of the following basic intrusion detection devices should be provided:

  • Magnetic reed switches for interior doors and openings.
  • Glass break sensors for windows up to scalable heights.
  • Balanced magnetic contact switch sets for all exterior doors, including overhead/roll-up doors; review roof intrusion detection.


  • Monitoring should be done at an off-site facility.
  • Use an on-site monitoring center during normal business hours.
  • Have a 24-hour on-site monitoring center.

Closed Circuit TV (CCTV)
A color CCTV surveillance system with recording capability shall be provided to view and record activity at the perimeter of the building, particularly at primary entrances and exits. A mix of monochrome cameras should be considered for areas that lack adequate illumination for color cameras.

Duress Alarms or Assistance Stations
Call buttons should be provided at key public contact areas and as needed in the offices of managers and directors, in garages, and other areas that are identified as high risk locations by the project-specific risk assessment.

Police officer patrolling building
Last Reviewed 2017-06-08