Top Design Considerations for Multi-Unit Residential Security

Should design renounce beauty in favor of defense? Architects, engineers, and those entrusted with the creation of buildings and multi-unit complexes, whether residential or commercial, are now challenged with designing structures that not only are innovative and inspired but keep people safe at the same time.

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Safety in building design is no longer limited to earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, or intemperate weather, but must account for the possibility of human aggression. This is, now more than ever, a critical issue when designing multi-unit residences. Access management, circulation, and evacuation points and plans can determine the outcome of life-or-death situations for residents and staff alike. 

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Identifying Vulnerabilities

Security can no longer be an afterthought or an addition for a later date. The need to instill a feeling of safety in residents, visitors, and management makes it crucial to identify and offer solutions for potential vulnerabilities from the get-go and to think ahead as technology will continue to advance. 

Today, the feeling of safety as well as actually being safe share equal importance. Design is now called upon to introduce inobtrusive security measures that fade into the background of a building’s design while providing an underlying sense of security. Residents need to feel protected, but they don’t want those measures front and center. Discretion is at a premium.

Security Features for a Multi-unit Residence

Security capabilities need to be implemented during the design phase to contrast, through detection and deterrence, the actions of human aggressors. To promote safety within a residence, the following features should be considered:

Access Management

Touchless access systems combined with touchless key card door locks and mobile device use can afford residents convenient entrance and exit from their homes while allowing management to control and prevent undesirable or unauthorized access. 

Residents will feel safe entering and leaving their residence with streamlined technological hardware and software that places convenience on par with security. 

With the implementation of user-friendly video intercoms integrated into access management platforms, occupants or employees can grant or deny access safely and remotely. 

Alarm System

Building design should include indications as to where security and fire alarms will be installed. Alarm systems need to be integrated into cloud-based systems to permit remote activation or deactivation and information, with alerts triggered and sent directly to first responders. 

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Cloud Security

The cloud offers an invaluable opportunity to avoid using physical on-premises space for a security system. Space can be dedicated to other needs, and a cloud-based system affords remote management of access points through internet use with real-time updates. Maintenance will also be facilitated. Security platforms can be integrated, whether access management, video feed, or fire alerts wirelessly to create a single interface service.

Internal Zoning and Access

By anticipating organizational and management needs and spaces, movement can be managed when specific areas are restricted. Residents can access shared spaces such as a fitness center or pool, while other locked areas reserved for management will be restricted. This can aid in contrasting any breaches of internal residential security. 

Visibility and Video Feed

Building designs need to include the mapping of security video feed cams. The design should ensure that no areas of the complex are without visibility access. A system that covers the entire building will enable management or local first responders to address emergencies that pose danger to property or residents’ health. By integrating visibility and video feed with access control into a single interface, emergencies will benefit from automated connections to responders resulting in quicker responses.  

Benefits of Security Considerations in Residential Design

By designing a building or multi-unit residential complex with security as a priority, there are several appealing benefits to be enjoyed. Among these, consider:

  • Less vulnerability to tailgating
  • Management of internal access and spaces
  • Quicker intervention from first responders
  • Remote management of the security system 
  • Residents will feel safe without any increased inconvenience
  • Speedy Response to Incidents
  • Video feed and access logs on a single interface 
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Revisit Needs

As security technology continues to advance, specific needs for a multi-unit residence need to be revisited. When accepting a design commission, it’s important to ask clients the proper questions and set security design goals based on the answers. 

As a project progresses, security objectives need to be reconfirmed with clients. If there are new and better technological hardware or software products available, designs should be adjusted to provide the best security technology has to offer and be inclusive, touching base with stakeholders at all levels, whether management, residents, or employees. 

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All Things Considered

If security considerations are included in the design phase, it will be easier to define a user-friendly security system that is concentrated in one interface affording ease of management and operation by all parties. Future-proofing your design may not be able to contrast the unimaginable, but it can certainly facilitate the work of those called to resolve security emergencies.


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