Courting Security Success

By Curt Harler | Jun 15, 2010
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When Fred Scripture, owner of Commercial Controls Corp., Valencia, Calif., ponders the security work involved in the company’s project at the California Court of Appeal, 4th District Courthouse in downtown Santa Ana, he is amazed at the depth of the project. The courthouse opened last fall, and final security work was completed in March.

“One key aspect of the contract was to provide secure access,” Scripture said. “Now we service the systems.”

All electronics installed are software-controlled and Windows-based. Software resides on servers with workstations spread throughout the building.

“They are configured as necessary by the needs of the workstation user,” Scripture said. “The California Highway Patrol has a workstation that has authority and usage for all systems. Other locations have only video viewing or access badging station capability.”

The access control system the company furnished is manufactured by DSX Inc., Dallas. HID, Irvine, Calif., proximity card readers are installed.
“It does have biometric capability by simply adding the device and configuring it into the system,” Scripture said.

“We installed the Federal APD Inc. Posi-Drive barrier-gate system for the judges’ garage entry and exit that also controlled an existing high-speed solid panel overhead garage door,” he said.

Both the gates and the overhead door were controlled and opened by the long-range AVI proximity reader and proximity vehicle boosters, mounted on a Paragon metal stanchion and loop detector exit.

The Internet protocol (IP)-video system is a Bosch video management system with digital video storage array. Both Bosch PTZ Auto­Dome 300 Series cameras and Bosch FlexiDome IP fixed cameras were used for the security system.

Clifford Ham, principal architect for the state’s office of the courts, said there is an approved vendor list for additions and renovations, but that does not preclude other vendors from consideration for new buildings. However, his office has made an effort to use IP in all its designs.

“We try to use the building local area network [LAN] to carry all signals to the head-end,” Ham said. “Signals go to the closest intermediate distribution frame and use the building LAN to communicate to the head-end.”

There is security inside to summon help should something go wrong during a trial or prisoner transfer. The panic button system is manufactured by StopTech, Centurion, a subcontractor to Commercial Controls. The system is strictly a proprietary duress system used by the state of California.

“The panic devices are located throughout the courthouse from the judges’ area to the council desks and [at] other locations throughout the building,” Scripture said.

Other devices Commercial Controls provided include equipment racks, an intercom system and integration into the electrified locking building system. Elevator card readers are installed as well.

Scripture served as the project manager. The main foreman was Steve Frazier.

As court buildings go, Ham noted that the 50,000-square-foot Santa Ana footprint is smaller than some trial courts that can run 350,000 square feet. But it had its challenges.

“Aesthetics, I believe, was the major challenge at the courthouse,” he said.

Workers tried to hide as much of the door control, glass-break detectors, wiring, and other security elements as possible.

“Alarms were also present by means of intrusion motion detectors; alarm bypass motion detectors, known as REX [request to exit] devices; door contact switches; and glass break detectors,” Scripture said.

Order in the court
Scripture is pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the project went.

“There were no concerns on our part, as there were very clean specs and plans,” he said. “Plenty of construction time was allocated to perform the installation.”
The project’s success can be attributed to a combination of well-written specifications with detailed plans to start from in bidding. The main electrical contractor was Baker Electric, Escondido, Calif.

“The overall success of the system installation was achieved by a group effort,” Scripture said, singling out the trained installers from Orange County IBEW Local No. 441; certified factory training from the various manufacturers; a very involved construction management company, Heery International Inc.; the security consultant, Schirmer Engineering; the architect, Carrier Johnson; and the owner’s representatives, which ranged from the state’s principal architect to the security coordinator from Sacramento and the state IT department.

Schirmer Engineering, the security consultant, specified all products, since Commercial Controls had not done work for the courts in the past.
“My son, Doug, located this project through a website,” Scripture said.

However, Commercial Controls brought a solid resume to the table, having worked on the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and the Ahmanson Theater. It also did the video and sound systems for the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Commercial Controls started as a general electrical contractor in 1983 that also provided installations for the various low-voltage systems in buildings, such as sound, security, parking/revenue and voice/data systems.

“We are licensed in both California and Nevada and perform most all of our own work that we bid,” Scripture said.

The company employs certified technicians and sound, communication and journeyman wireman to provide system startup and field service.

“Our license covers both high and low voltage, which gives us an added advantage as a full-service contractor,” he said.

Commercial Controls typically works for either the end-user/owner directly or other electrical contractors subcontract specialty work.

“We migrated many years ago from the original company (called CTI Electric), no longer providing the general electrical-contracting-type work. Today, we are an integrated, low-voltage systems contractor that furnishes and installs niche market type systems,” Scripture said.

Contractors who want a similarly successful security installation should make a copy of Scripture’s checklist.

“We had accurate CAD drawings, which showed the layout of all devices and point-to-point connections. Keeping the same personnel on the job is always an added benefit to production. Have skilled labor perform the work from beginning to end. We had accurate testing by all involved—including Schirmer Engineering and the state’s security coordinator—to make sure all systems and devices were in working order per plans and specs,” he said.

“We all have a feeling of accomplishment on a high-profile project that will be around for many years. This was a successful project for us. All the parties involved were very pleasant to deal with, and we had very little impact on one another’s construction schedules,” Scripture said.

HARLER, a frequent contributor to SECURITY + LIFE SAFETY SYSTEMS, is based in Strongsville, Ohio. He can be reached at 440.238.4556 and [email protected].

About The Author

Curt Harler, a frequent contributor to SECURITY + LIFE SAFETY SYSTEMS, is based in Strongsville, Ohio. He also can be reached at 440.238.4556.

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