Nov 1, 2002 12:00 PM

Before Sept. 11, 2001, the security goals of 280 Trumbull Street in Hartford, Conn., aimed for parity with other major office buildings in the city. After that day, building management and tenants cast that standard aside and tailored a new security system to the needs of the structure and the building's tenants. The new system provides the option of single-card access to the building and to offices, as well as state-of-the-art digital CCTV security.

The 280 Trumbull building spans 675,000 sq. ft. and rises 30 stories, making it the second tallest building in Hartford. Approximately 3,500 people work in the building every day.

Before Sept. 11, the 280 Trumbull building provided basic building security, but left office security up to tenants. "We had a security system comparable to other major office buildings in the city," says David Jakubowski, property manager with New Boston Management Services Inc., which manages 280 Trumbull. Building security employed several black-and-white surveillance cameras recorded on VHS tape, Jakubowski says. The parking garage had a building-operated card access system. A half dozen of the building's 20 tenants controlled access to their space with card systems.

Following Sept. 11, Jakubowski consulted with corporate security directors representing the building's tenants, including the building's largest tenant, CIGNA Insurance Companies. Jakubowski also consulted with Robert Demanche of Pittsburgh-based Allied Security, who serves as director of security for the building and manages a 10-officer Allied contract security staff.

"We felt we had to upgrade security to better protect tenants and the building," Jakubowski says. "In addition, many of our tenants had received edicts to upgrade security from their corporate real estate departments."

A security committee identified three security providers in the region and invited them to survey the facility and propose improvements. Each recommended wider use of card access and CCTV, plus the addition of duress stations in the parking garage shared with the neighboring office building.

Strategic Security, Woodbridge, Conn., earned the final assignment on the strength of a proposal that would allow tenants the option of entering the building and their offices using a single-card access control system. The proposal also provided an access control solution for the parking garage shared with 280 Trumbull's neighbor.

Joe Marcucci, owner of Strategic Security, recommended an IDentiPass access control system from IDenticard, Lancaster, Pa. "We chose IDentiPass because the software has easy-to-use partitioning," says Marcucci.

The partitioning feature allows tenants to use a piece of the IDentiPass system to create their own databases and manage access to their own doors. No one but the tenant (and Marcucci, the designated system operator) can use a password protected partition.

Strategic Security installed the IDentiPass system to control overall building access to 12 exterior doors, including doors from the shared parking garage and to a pedestrian bridge leading from the second level across the street, as well as the building's freight elevators. The system includes an IDenticard photo-ID badging station that prints proximity cards.

Strategic Security's design calls for proximity card readers manufactured by Applied Wireless Identifications (AWID) Group Inc., Monsey, N.Y. "Suppose a tenant has a magnetic-stripe access control system for its office and doesn't want to change that system," Marcucci says. "AWID makes a quarter-sized proximity wafer that you can peel and stick onto other cards. These wafers will adhere to their cards and allow them to card into the building through the AWID readers. The magnetic-strip on the card will then allow access to their offices."

CIGNA has considered using the AWID wafers, preferring not to replace its existing magnetic-stripe access control system. To date, the company's employees continue to use two cards, one for building access and one for office access.

Despite CIGNA's decision to maintain its existing access control system and use two cards, the Strategic Security design provides tenants options with intelligent system panels placed on the 4th and 12th floors of the building. Both of these panels connect to the main access control hub located in the loading dock security office on the ground level.

Marcucci uses these panels or the panel located at the hub to connect tenants to the main building system.

For example, First International Bank, with offices spanning two floors of the building, recently decided to replace its aging card access system and tie into IDentiPass. Upon receiving the request, Marcucci installed AWID readers and dedicated panels on both of First International's floors that connect to the system panels on the 4th and 12th floors. Next, Marcucci partitioned the IDentiPass software to allow First International's security director to set up and control employee access to the company's offices. The feature denies access to any other tenant's database and to the building's system. The partition also prevents building management from accessing First International's database. Each is walled off from the other.

Marcucci reports several other tenants are investigating the single-card option offered by the system. Approximately half the building's tenants see no need to control their own doors; these tenants use a single card to negotiate the building-wide access control system.

The partitioning option has also solved problems in the shared parking garage. Marcucci installed AWID readers in the garage at doors leading from the parking area into the building and tied those readers into the main system. At the request of the neighboring building's property manager, he also installed readers on doors leading into that building. He then partitioned the IDentiPass software to provide the neighboring building control of its own doors and tenant cards, while denying access to other partitions.

Marcucci has also integrated AWID peel-and-stick proximity wafers at the loading dock. "We attached the wafers to PVC cards and made up cards for each of the building's 28 floors," he says. Now when delivery people arrive at the building, they sign out cards for the floors they are delivering to and use the cards to swipe a reader in the freight elevator. The card provides access only to the destination floor and the loading dock level. Delivery people can go up to their floor and back to the loading dock level, but nowhere else."

The new security system for 280 Trumbull also employs a 12-camera Pelco CCTV system with digital recording. "All the cameras use RG-59U cable to connect to the digital recorder located in a security office near the loading dock," Marcucci says. "The digital recorder has a network plug on it, and we ran a Category 5 cable from the recorder to the building network. I put in a Pelco multiplexer for recording."

Marcucci installed cameras in the lobby, at the building entrances and in the parking garage. The cameras in the garage are positioned to provide a clear view of two duress stations supplied by Chicago-based Talk-A-Phone.

Security officers monitor video from the loading dock security station. They operate cameras with a pan-tilt joystick. The network connection allowed Marcucci to set up two additional monitoring stations. Now, an officer stationed at a security console in the building's lobby could access the CCTV system with the console's computer. Similarly, the building's security manager could tap into video from a computer in an office on the 22nd floor. Each of the monitoring stations can track access control alarms, monitor video and call up stored video to review events.

Unlike many other commercial buildings in Hartford and across the country, 280 Trumbull has not suffered from vacancies since Sept. 11 and has maintained an occupancy rate of 98 percent. Nevertheless, Jakubowski believes the new security system helps in marketing the property. "It gives us a strong competitive advantage compared to other multi-tenant buildings in Hartford," he says. "According to a market survey we've conducted, businesses say we are the security leader in the city. No one else has this level of technical sophistication in either access control or video surveillance."

Mike Fickes is a Cockeysville, Md.-based writer and regular contributor to Access Control & Security Systems.

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