The terrorist attacks that took place at the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001 shattered America’s sense of security. Ever since the tragic events of 9/11, strict security measures at office buildings have become commonplace. Landlords and property developers across the United States and world have spent tens of millions of dollars enhancing security to prevent unwelcome strangers from entering their office buildings. The private sector spent $76 billion on homeland security upgrades in 2003 alone.
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, industry experts predicted that tall buildings would become obsolete due to fears that they would be targeted in terrorist attacks but their concerns turned out to be unfounded. Skyscrapers continue to go up worldwide, and they are safer than ever before. Building codes have changed significantly in response to terrorist attacks.
Today’s tall structures in the United States are more resistant to fire, more easily evacuated during emergencies, and safer overall due to 23 building and fire code changes based on recommendations from the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The new codes address areas including the following:
• Improving the reliability of fire protection systems
• Increasing resistance to building collapse
• Requiring a third exit stairway for tall buildings
• Proper installation and inspection of fireproofing materials
• Making exit path markings more visible
• Increasing the width of stairways by 50% in new high-rise buildings
Security measures have affected not only building and fire codes, but also visitor management. Prior to 9/11, visitors to office buildings would encounter moderate security, but most buildings had relatively open access and the tenants themselves handled specific security needs at the floor level.
After the 9/11 attacks, many landlords and property developers scrambled to find ways to improve front office security. Some security solutions that organizations have implemented at office buildings include individual identification, electronic barriers, and visitor monitoring. Although some offices still use a paper sign-in book and paper badges, most buildings have upgraded their visitor management procedures to tighten up lobby and reception desk security.
Temporary badges for visitors, contractors, potential new hires, and others who temporarily visit a building are an important component of office building security measures. Visitor badges are used in thousands of facilities worldwide, including hospitals, schools, government offices, airports, and corporate offices. Visitor management software can be used to print customized badges that help identify and track visitors.
Regardless of why they are at your office building, all visitors need to be processed quickly, efficiently, and accurately. At the same time, it’s important to make visitors feel welcome while keeping your building safe and secure. In order to properly manage visitors, your office building’s visitor management plan should include the following four elements:
1. Verify identity
2. Determine that they have a valid reason to visit
3. Screen for contraband
4. Control access from the lobby to other areas of the facility
Visitor management systems streamline the task of processing visitors. When visitors present themselves at a reception desk, they are asked to provide identification to verify their identity. The receptionist can then check the visitor’s data against lists of pre-approved visitors and unwanted visitors. The receptionist may also check the host’s availability or verify their meeting location or escort requirements. The visitor management software automatically sends out an email to the host, notifying them of the visitor’s arrival, and then prints a visitor badge with a barcode.
Visitor management systems improve your building’s security by enabling you to keep track of visitors in your building. They centralize visitor data and provide you with digital records of all visits. Resource Central is resource management and visitor management software for Microsoft Outlook® and Exchange. Resource Central automates your front office, so receptionists can process visitors more quickly and efficiently while being freed up to provide better customer service. Using Resource Central helps to make office buildings more secure in a post-9/11 world. For more information about our software, please sign up for a free trial or free online demo.