TNO: Buildings more secure against attacks

October 31, 2013



“International organisations often choose to base themselves in The Hague - City of peace, justice and security. This increases the number of buildings that could be a target for an attack or incident. Fortunately, this threat is taken into account when designing these buildings. But there is still room for further improvement,” says Jolanda van Deursen. “My drive is to guarantee safety and prevent a false sense of security.”


“The architect, consulting engineers and client work closely together when designing a building with a high risk profile. They set to work diligently with drawings and calculations, making sure to include security measures in their plans. They are generally advised by a security consultancy in this regard. This team often lacks knowledge about the impact of the higher end of the spectrum of violence on the design. I see too many examples where little account has been taken of the possibility of an attack during the design phase. This causes me great concern. This is because the best protection is only achieved by designing the building and its surroundings specifically with this in mind. Applying security measures later on, or even after construction has commenced, is very costly. And is inevitably less effective. This leads some clients to accept a lower level of resilience for their building. With all the risks that entails for people working in or near the building.”



“My drive is to guarantee the safety of people. That is why I like to be involved at the start of the design process. Unfortunately, too often TNO is not asked for advice until later on. That is a problem, since it is often no longer possible or advisable to make drastic changes in the design by then. My advice therefore is to take the danger of explosion into account right from the start of the design stage! My colleagues and I have built up years of scientific knowledge in this regard. Our knowledge and expertise is unique in the Netherlands. And we are highly regarded internationally, too. This is a message I continually try to get across. In the hope that TNO will more frequently be involved from the beginning of the design phase. That is to the client’s benefit. We give independent advice. And we look for effective protective measures at the lowest possible cost. That can save money if there is no need to apply the same high security standards throughout the entire building."



“During the design phase we examine, on the one hand, the building itself, for example. By thinking about the layout and where to locate vital functions there is no need to introduce heavy security measures throughout the entire building. On the other hand, we also look at the surroundings. It is possible, for example, to build access routes and humps in such a way that cars can only approach the building on one side. So you introduce additional security enhancements on that side only. Aside from the design, we also provide advice on physical security measures. And on procedures to ensure optimum security. At TNO we continue to expand our knowledge and enhance our added value. We are currently working with international partners to design a building complex of the future, incorporating safety, security and sustainability aspects. The design also includes smart sensors that indicate where an incident has occurred and how people should be evacuated from the building.”



“I continue to highlight our niche knowledge and our added value to all stakeholders. I would like to invite architects and consulting engineers to work together in designing a building with a high risk profile. To transfer our knowledge. So that we can offer a strong and coordinated proposition to public authorities and clients.”

[Source of article]

Mrs. J.R. (Jolanda) van Deursen, MSc
+31 88 866 12 89





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