There’s a new manual for building safer buildings.
During the first week of this month, the New York Police Department launched a lengthy 100-page security tactics guide that could help save building occupants from being terrorist targets anytime soon. Entitled “Engineering Security: Protective Design for High Risk Buildings”, it categorizes buildings into low, medium and high tier structures and prescribed a number of recommendations that could prevent threats such as car bombs, chemical and biological attacks.
- The NYPD discourages the use of surface barriers like unpinned jersey barriers or concrete planters as permanent solutions for High Tier buildings. Jersey barriers and concrete planters may also become hazardous in the event of an explosion that is powerful enough to cause fragmentation because shattered pieces of concrete can turn into harmful projectiles.
- The NYPD recommends that owners of Medium and High Tier buildings disperse critical facilities in order to reduce the potential for disruption of multiple critical systems during an attack. These critical facilities should be located in a building’s least vulnerable areas, preferably in places that are out of public view and difficult for terrorists to observe or exploit.
- The NYPD recommends that owners of High Tier buildings incorporate certain features into structural designs to prevent collapse and enable rescue, including: ductile primary and secondary structural elements that are capable of deforming beyond the elastic limit without collapsing.
Since the NYPD admits that these are not binding, efforts to renovate some of the existing structures might not be realized since these will entail additional costs. With the rise in vacancies in New York and the lack of potential investors ready to pour their money back to real estate, we’re afraid these recommendations might only be left in paper. However, for those already planning to construct, we suggest that Mayor Bloomberg make these proposals mandatory.