Security Survey

Facilities Check List
Practical, step-by-step guides for the busy FM
May 2002

A security survey is a thorough on-site examination and analysis of a facility to determine what assets are present and their value; to evaluate the existing security program; to identify differences or excesses; to determine the protection needed; and to support recommendations to improve overall security.

When conducting a security survey, a team approach will yield a more comprehensive assessment of vulnerability to specific risks. Occupant participation in the security survey is essential, especially when ascertaining the presence of assets.

The security survey, in conjunction with a thorough risk analysis, can assist a business enterprise in developing policies and procedures to do the following:

  • Protect against external and internal theft, burglary, robbery, arson, violent crimes, malicious damage, and other threats.
  • Provide security systems, which may incorporate both access control and internal burglar alarm components.
  • Establish lock-and-key control procedures.
  • Provide control over the movement and identification of employees, customers, and visitors on company property.
  • Identify the resources available and necessary for the establishment of an effective security program.

The security survey must be tailored to the type of business operation that takes place within the facility. Before making the survey, the team should prepare worksheets or checklists to gather specific information on-site. A facility manager can use the following checklist of questions in gathering information during the security survey phase of implementing a comprehensive security program.

Security Survey Checklist

Perimeter Security

  • Where are the main entrances to the building, and how are they currently protected? For example, by guards, by ordinary mechanical locks, with a keypad, or with other technology?
  • What are the requirements for screening or controlling access at the perimeter of the building? Perimeter screening and control are vitally important because they are often the first and perhaps only line of defense before unauthorized persons attempt to access occupant areas. Perimeter screening, even if it is passive, gives occupants some assurance that access to their space, business operations, and information is controlled. If the perimeter screening and control are manual, are people required to sign in or out in a logbook, or to identify themselves with a company badge?
  • Does the crime rate in the community warrant screening access at all entrance points?
  • Do building occupants want all access screened at all times, or just after certain hours on certain days? Bear in mind that, as a representative of the owner(s), you may have some obligation to demonstrate to non-occupants that the facility is private; therefore, access should probably be controlled in some fashion.
  • Where are the secondary building access points, and how are they protected? For purposes of this chapter, the secondary building access points are entry points from the exterior to the interior of the building that are not ordinarily used except in an emergency or special situation.
  • Are the secondary entrances and exits secure from the outside but capable of being opened from the inside in an emergency?
  • Do the secondary entrances have alarms? If so, where are the alarms annunciated? Are these exits also monitored by video cameras tied to time-lapse recorder devices to help pinpoint the cause of the alarm?
  • Are all deliveries and shipments from the building logged and/or controlled in some way? Is there a secure holding area in which access to materials shipped to the building is controlled or monitored before these materials are shipped to tenants?

Office Security

  • Where are offices located? What assets are contained therein?
  • Are the offices locked? At what time are they locked? Are the doors and windows of the offices checked by security personnel after business hours?
  • Are the company records stored within the office? Are file cabinets locked?
  • Are any central station or local alarms installed to protect the office?


  • What security is provided for the proceeds from sales?
  • How are foodstuffs protected?
  • Where are vending machines located? Have the machines been vandalized during the past 12 months?

Parking Areas

  • If there are underground parking garages, is admittance currently restricted by physical means? If a multistory parking garage exists, how is access screened?
  • If there are parking lots, is entrance to the lots screened by physical means? Does the facility design feature a visitor parking area that is segregated from the tenant parking area?
  • Are vehicles entering the facility parking lots screened? Do the crime rate in the community and vehicle screening measures conducted at nearby occupancies warrant vehicle screening at the driveway entrance to the building? Does the screening occur at the driveway entrance to the building? Does the screening occur only during specific hours and days, or at all times?

This installment of FM Check List is adapted from BOMI Institute’s newly updated Technologies for Facilities Management,( a course in the Institute’s Facilities Management Administrator (FMA) designation program.