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  • Posted By Scott
  • |
  • Mar 16, 2017

Out with the Old and In with the...Old?

In our last blog, we started to describe the “Piñata-style” of addressing security concerns. In this style (or lack of style), security decisions are made randomly and without any long term consideration for integration and functionality. We describe it in this manner because it seems like the building is flailing away, blindly, at an elusive goal, hoping to a make contact.

One of the more common areas where we see this is when it comes to replacing existing equipment.

Too often we see facilities simply upgrade their obsolete system to the latest version of the same sub-standard system. Unfortunately, the building managers think that they have increased the security of the building by undertaking this action - the truth is that they are purchasing a new version of the same old problems/limitations.

How do we ensure that this doesn’t happen in your building?

To start with, we need to quote one of the habits of highly effective people (with credit to Stephen Covey) – “Begin with the end in mind”.

One of the consistencies in all the blogs on this website is that they advocate the advantage of planning and integration when it comes to security. As mentioned, a Security Audit – be it silver, gold or platinum package – will address this issue in the most professional and knowledgeable manner. For Condominiums that do not want to undertake this step, they must do the research and planning in-house.

The first step is to determine what you want the new system to do, and then design around that vision.

The disconnect that happens is often related to the difference between a Request For Quote (RFQ) and a Request For Proposal (RFP). The following examples are taken from the Certified Security Project Manager (CSPM) manual.

When a building tenders an RFP, what they are doing is asking contractors in the (security) industry to come in and prepare a proposal, based on their expertise and knowledge within their set industry. Below are just a few examples of advantages and disadvantages of the RFP.

The advantage of the RFP is that there is little prep-work required prior to the receiving of proposals. Because they are given a vision, instead of guidelines, contractors are more free to add creativity into their proposals.

The disadvantage of the RFP is that the contractor may not have the knowledge of the building’s end goal. Additionally, the freedom to propose solutions will allow contractors to propose security solutions based on factors other than the condominium’s best interest - such as equipment that have a better profit margin. Additionally, the equipment proposed might not integrate with future security.

When a building tenders an RFQ, all the planning has been completed in advance. A scope of work (SOW) is prepared and the contractors are invited to submit a price that is based on the contract specifications. For some security audits, recommended equipment specifications are included with the report to allow for easier tendering.

The advantage of an RFQ is that the proposed security solution is designed to fit the exact requirement of the property. ASIS’s volume on Physical Security, which is part of the Protection of Assets series, explicitly states that security solutions should not be copied from building to building, but should be designed specifically for the facility.

The disadvantage of the RFQ is that it requires planning, knowledge and work in advance. It is much easier to call in three contractors, turn them loose on the property, and then have them bring three proposals, of which only one will be selected - usually with cost being the major, or sole, consideration.

When it comes to the safety and security of their residents and the property, we feel that the RFQ is a much better and professional route. It ensures that the building receives the best value for their dollar, that they are not perpetrating the use of obsolete/useless equipment, and that they will have the ability to expand and upgrade in the future. An allocation of resources (time and funds) will eliminate a lot of headaches down the road.

The takeaways for building managers and directors:

1. Decide in advance if you are undertaking an RFP or RFQ.

2. Begin with the end in mind - what is the vision?

3. Ensure that all purchase can integrate into current and future security solutions.

If you have any questions about the security bidding process with either an RFQ or RFP, please feel free to contact us at: [email protected]