Security Consultants

Security consultants play a crucial role in the development of airports.

For the past 25 years, Security consultants have made major contributions to the design of aviation environments that resulted in new or revitalized airports and new construction, expansion and/or renovation projects. The specialized security role continues to be important to a design team, but it has changed dramatically recently because of 9/11 and emerging technologies.

No one questions the importance of airport security these days, especially airport operators, planners, and design teams who recognize the crucial role security consultants play in the development of airports. There are still questions with regard to security consultants—What is their real role? When do we bring security consultants on to the design team? What will they do?

Prior to 9/11, I received a telephone call from a frantic, prospective client (airport operator) who wanted to know if our company could provide security consulting and engineering services for a terminal building expansion project. The airport operator was concerned that the design team did not have the kind of information that would support the airport’s need to ensure compliance with security-related regulatory requirements and design standards. He also wanted to know if we could provide contract documents within a week. I told him it was impossible to meet that schedule, but we could begin working immediately. The client accepted our offer. I contacted the project manager who was surprised to learn that security should be integral to a design team and that there would be interface and coordination requirements during the entire process. The project manager did not inform the design team disciplines that security consultants would be on board and working with the team’s various consultants. The individual disciplines were “doing their own thing” and not coordinating information from a security standpoint. The prospects of unraveling what had been done and coordinating security related information was a serious challenge.

Improving the Process

The following information illustrates how security professionals need to assist with airport projects as they apply to future capital development requirements and new facilities and/or the renovation and expansion of existing facilities:

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