Facility Management – Using a Managed Physical Security Service

Building owners and occupiers commonly engage Facility Managers to look after their building services including cleaning, electrical services, mechanical services, security guarding, security technology, utilities and so on. In doing so, they are expected to reduce costs, maintain the quality of the services and minimise the risks of ongoing provision of these services. They therefore need to regularly provide advice to building owners or occupiers on the most effective ways of doing this.

In the area of security guarding and technology, a security consultant’s or adviser’s licence is generally required to legally provide this advice. A number of the large Facility Management companies do have this licence, but most however do not. Licensing is generally required if a Facility Manager advises their client on matters such as security guard numbers and deployment, recommended responses to security incidents, security procedures, what security technology to purchase, what keying systems to implement, what security improvements can be made etc. Without this licence, they are exposing themselves and their clients to penalties (the client being exposed for engaging an unlicensed operator) and lack of insurance coverage if unlicensed advice results in an adverse incident.

A simple solution to these problems is to engage a Managed Physical Security Service. This service can answer to the Facility Manager on a day to day basis but their invoices are sent to the building owner/occupier directly for the service. They also vet and approve security equipment and service provider invoices and send these directly to the building owner/occupier also. In that way, the Facility Manager is not providing security advice and is not on-selling any security services which would also require a security seller’s licence in some states.

A Managed Physical Security Service can be provided by an independent security consultancy that has the appropriate licences in place. Their complete independence from security equipment and service providers is paramount. They can legally manage all security contracts and security capital works in a way that allows them to input their expertise to reduce costs and risks. Their services can also include audits of service providers, audits of guard adherence to standards and procedures, security service quality audits, audits of security equipment for condition and appropriateness, site security risk assessments, development of site security plans, development of security procedures, detailed design of capital works, cost reduction and value management strategies and other ad hoc security advice.

The general licensing requirements of each state and territory in Australia for providing security advice are:

Location Security advice activities that require a licence
ACT Identify and analyse security risks and provide solutions, management strategies or both to minimise security risks.
NSW Identify and analyse security risks and providing solutions and management strategies to minimise those security risks.
NT No licence required.
QLD Give advice about security equipment or security methods or principles.
SA Provide advice on security alarm or surveillance systems (Note: Architects and Engineers are exempt).
TAS No licence required.
VIC Provide advice in relation to security equipment or security methods or principles. (Note: Registration is required, not a licence).
WA Investigate or advise on matters relating to the watching, guarding or protection of property.

(Connley Walker has significant experience in providing these services)

Warning about a scam targeting businesses in Australia

I thought you might be interested in hearing about a scam happening in Australia by a Melbourne person that is well known to the courts. The scam appears to have been operating since at least 2009 and has been under the radar of the authorities.

The scam works like this:

  1. A company is set up using a PO box and a 1300 number for contact.
  2. The company advertises online through tendering websites for various suppliers (Typically engineers, tradespeople, printing services, auditors, and many others) to provide their services for new building and resort developments.
  3. When suppliers respond to the advertisement, they are required to pay a “refundable” $200 (it may vary) to obtain the tender documents. This could be a very large number of people.
  4. No one wins the work as there is no work.
  5. No $200 payments are refunded.
  6. The company becomes uncontactable and a new one opens.

Charging a refundable deposit to receive tender documentation is unusual in Australia but common in a number of other countries. If you are asked to pay a deposit, we strongly recommend that you obtain and verify their business address before wasting time preparing tender submissions.