What is a Security Systems Integrator? A robbery gives some perspective.

By David Strickland, Vice President of Kenton Brothers

What in the world is a Security Systems Integrator?

How a robbery helped me understand the importance of a Security Systems Integrator.That is a great question and one I hope to answer with this story. Eleven years ago, I had no idea what a security integrator was either. It wasn’t until I got involved in the security industry and saw firsthand what a Security Systems Integrator was and why they’re so important to so many organizations.

First let me tell you a story about a time we got robbed…

It might surprise you to know that my first involvement with a security company was like many of you. I had an alarm system put into my business. I did my research and picked a reputable, big-name company to do the work. It was a straightforward process. I was happy with my provider and trusted that they knew what they were doing. The alarm system worked great for years.

Fifteen years later I had sold my company to a much larger organization and was working with them in a brand new, large operational center in the southeast United States. This operational center counted and stored very large amounts of cash and checks and processed them daily. Security was critically important. The large company I worked for did the same thing I had done fifteen years prior. They called a big-name company to come out and install a security system to protect their assets.

The representative from the security company was in the 30,000 sq ft building for 30 minutes. A week later, they installed 2 keypads, 4 glass break sensors, some motion detectors, 2 sets of door contacts and one siren. They also installed three cameras… One in the cash room and one at the front door.

It was a great idea to have the cameras installed.

Shooting GlassWithin the first week of opening, late at night, we were able to see a person shoot out the glass entryway of our lobby and enter the building. He ran straight to the cash room and kicked in the door. We watched him go right to the safe we had installed and enter the code. He opened the door of the safe within two minutes of entering the building. And he was on his way out carrying an armful of envelopes full of cash and checks, dropping some along the way. It was obviously a person with inside knowledge of our systems and the location of the security devices.

It turns out the alarm didn’t go off and no one was notified until 6am the next morning when the first employees arrived and saw the carnage. Our security system was not installed by a Security Systems Integrator. It was installed by a subcontractor of a national alarm company. There’s a big difference.

A Security Systems Integrator like Kenton Brothers Systems for Security would approach this building and the liability of the cash and checks in a very different way.

Using the Defense in Depth model we would have recommended a layered approach with the following considerations:

  • An exterior camera would be added to extend the perimeter and alert when there was car activity in the parking lot after operating hours
  • All doors would always be locked and require key or credential entrance
  • The alarm would arm automatically at a predetermined time
  • If the alarm did not arm or was disarmed outside of normal hours, an alert would be issued
  • The cash room door would be reinforced with a five-point door and a steel reinforced frame
  • All the codes on the safe would have been changed after install and assigned to the person opening the safe, which would require dual authentication for access
  • The intrusion system would be tied to the surveillance system. A video feed would be sent to the monitoring company to dispatch police as a verified crime in progress for priority response.

This true story seeks to point out the differences between an alarm company and a Security Systems Integrator. A Security Systems Integrator specializes in bringing independent security components together ensuring that those components function together properly to protect people, property, and possessions. These components include IP video surveillance, access control, intrusion detection, mass notification, weapons detection, analytics and more. Fully developed Security Systems Integrators are considered ‘design-build’ integrators.

Security Systems Integrators can provide the following services:

  • Security risk or needs assessments
  • Customized system engineering and design
  • Broad access to the leading manufacturers and product lines
  • Procurement, staging, installation, commissioning and training
  • Full lifecycle service and maintenance
  • System updates and operational upgrades

A Security Systems Integrator can take advantage of their unique perspective on the key ingredients for successful development of a physical security program. We like to call it the KB Advantage – utilizing over a century worth of experience and wisdom to assess, design, engineer, install, commission, train and maintain a remarkable physical security system.

If you want to know more about how we can help you develop a layered security approach for your organization, please give us a call.

Skyrise Master Key Projects – Hundreds of Locks and Thousands of Keys

By Ryan Kaullen, Field Services Manager at Kenton Brothers

Skyrise Master Key ProjectKenton Brothers is celebrating its 125th year of being a commercial locksmith located in Kansas City, MO. Over the years, we’ve rekeyed just about everything. One of the types of projects we really enjoy is bringing large scale buildings onto master key systems. We’ve talked about Master Key Systems previously. They provide a more secure method of key control.

Recently, Kenton Brothers rekeyed two large skyrise buildings.

Each building was over 15 floors tall, had historical sections, tenant spaces, resident loft spaces, company only spaces and general use spaces. The trick in these kinds of projects is creating a master key schedule that works for everyone involved. There are two dynamics involved… controlling access for the various use cases, and coordinating the physical project of rekeying at this scale.

Both buildings being rekeyed were built in 1939 and have been restored throughout the years to their current conditions. This type of rekey is especially fun for Kenton Brothers because we love being a part of the story of the historic buildings in Kansas City, Missouri that have been around as long (or close to as long) as our company. (We’re proud to have served the community here in Kansas City as commercial locksmiths for as long as we have!) We love working in old buildings like this because of the architecture and design of the buildings. We don’t get to work in those every day and they are beautiful.

Skyrise Master Key Project Skyrise Master Key Project Skyrise Master Key Project

There are a ton of coordination factors to contend with for these types of rekeying projects.

No matter the size of a rekeying project, we first need to create the master key system design and get it approved. Then, we have to schedule installation steps in a way that has the least impact on both commercial tenants and residents of the buildings. (They needed to be given sufficient time to prepare for the rekey.) And the historic sections in both buildings required extra time and planning as well. The most challenging parts of this project was coordination with tenants and having to be extremely careful with the historic doors in both buildings.

We physically had to remove hundreds of locks at each building and rekey them onsite. And we had to cut and stamp over 1,000 keys at each building!

Our main goal with projects like these is to improve the security for people who live and work in these buildings every single day. A master key system helps provide a great first layer of security. We provided quotes for both of these rekeying projects and finished them on time and on budget for our customer.

If your building is past due to be rekeyed, especially if it doesn’t have a master key system in place currently, let’s talk and we will help you secure your people, property, and possessions!

 

FASTVend? Wow! Check out this newfangled vending machine!

FASTVendBy Kip Phillips, National Integration Manager for Kenton Brothers Systems for Security

We’re in the service and installation business—designing, installing and repairing commercial security systems. Our security technicians needed a quick and efficient way to get products and tools to help them do their work in a timely manner instead of spending wasted hours at a big box store searching for supplies.

After trying various methods to have in-house access to many common installation materials for our technicians to use during installations, we’ve implemented the Fastenal Vending Solution. Our installations require various materials from electrical tape, screws, conduit, boxes, drill bits, hole saws, tie-wraps and many more types of items and tools.

The FASTVend System

FASTVendThe FASTVend system provides access-controlled cabinets, lockers and vending machines to hold the exact parts we need for our installations. By having the parts available via access control, we can track the quantity of each item being used and which truck or project the parts are being used for.

Our technicians appreciate having the convenience of picking up their installation materials at the same time they are picking up system equipment at the KB office. This saves them so much time when compared to how we used to do things. (Traveling to supply houses to get parts and specialty tools.) This is a win/win because it also saves KB some of our labor costs. It also saves our project managers and staff in purchasing time because they don’t have to preorder basic install consumables for each project.

FASTVend includes weekly restocking of the material we use.

Fastenal receives automated reports of each item consumed.

Initially, as a group, the technicians listed the standard items they prefer for installations. After refining and consolidating the list of standard materials, Fastenal set up the machines in our warehouse. User codes were programmed into the system for each technician.

The initial list wasn’t an exhaustive list. Now that the system has been in place for a few weeks, the technicians have had a chance to add items they would like to see included in the vending machines. Building a complete inventory of items, and organizing them in an efficient manner, takes time and a collaborative effort.

Keeping the Trucks Stocked

FASTVendOur technicians use the vending machine system to keep their trucks stocked with basic consumable tools and installation materials as well as materials specific to ongoing projects. In the future, we’ll be able to use the locker system to receive drop offs of new tools. And we will place broken tools and dull drill bits in the locker system for pick up and repair by Fastenal employees.

This new system has significantly cut down on the amount of receipts and paid invoices we had to keep track of as new projects were started. (We aren’t in the business of storing paper…)

We still have room for improvement in utilizing this vending machine concept. But the FASTVend system is a game changer that’s already proving its value to our organization!

 

Start Strong, Finish Strong – 1 Customer, 9 Schools, 5 Different General Contractors

By Ryan Kaullen, Field Services Manager at Kenton Brothers

Start Strong, Finish StrongEarly May of 2021, Kenton Brothers was notified that we had won a commercial security project for a local school district that included 9 different school remodels with access control additions to each of the remodels. Included in the project were IP based intercoms, door release functions, web relay interfaces, and ADA integrations.

Kip Phillips was assigned as the Project Manager and I knew right away he had to Start Strong and Finish Strong because of several unique scenarios within the project.

Some of these potential challenges included:

  • Kenton Brothers was contracted directly with the school district and not the General Contractors
  • There were 9 different timelines that may or may not align depending on other trades
  • There were part logistics issues due to supply chain problems
  • Coordination with the General Contractors to ensure we installed our equipment at the right time

Kip knew that being properly prepared would allow him to maintain control of the project and be able to ensure its timely completion.

Relationship is Crucial in Complicated Projects

Start Strong, Finish StrongKenton Brothers prior relationship with the school district allowed us to not only win the job but also design exactly what the customer was needing.  Coordination began from there to align the timeline put out by the General Contractors to match what we were installing. Due to COVID, getting the parts we were contracted for took longer than normal. But there were also wait times on the parts that were needed from other trades to complete the projects.

Kip was in constant communication with everyone involved. Checking to see when parts were going to be delivered, getting them in our techs hands, and making sure the doors were in and ready for us to install the parts.

Timelines were a huge coordination component of this project. As doors and frames arrived, we had to get wiring in place so we wouldn’t get sealed out of physical places we needed to be. Sometimes, the notice that a door and frame had arrived was communicated to us the same day it was going to be installed. (Labor nightmare.) Kip had to shuffle a tech (or techs) off of one job and race over to the school district to make sure wiring was put into place quickly and correctly.

Start Strong, Finish StrongA lot of what Kenton Brothers had to do was contingent on other trades getting their work in place before we could do our work. This reality put us in a major time crunch to complete everything by the start of the school year.

Doing the Work

Kip was able to manage hundreds and hundreds of man hours spanning just a few weeks. He was able to keep everything in perspective by scheduling and organizing the techs efficiently. They knew what their tasks were each day, and they received the parts they needed.

Kip regularly attended weekly construction meetings to stay on top of everything and he provided feedback to the General Contractors, always being mindful of our deadlines. Being in constant communication with the techs, the school district, and the GCs allowed him to know where the projects stood at all times.

It helped that Kenton Brothers also had senior techs on the project… this allowed for good feedback back to Kip and our customer. The communication, the coordination, the anticipation of needs, and the strong project management allowed this project to finish successfully and on time. Our customer is happy!

This project properly aligned with the #KBWay of protecting people, property, and possessions. And we love the satisfaction of completing a project that will help the school district protect the kids and staff that work and learn in their buildings every day.

Start Strong, Finish Strong Start Strong, Finish Strong

Top 6 Things to Know About Community Mailboxes

By Gina Stuelke, CEO of Kenton Brothers

Kenton Brothers has a long standing partnership with another Midwestern company in Manhattan, Kansas: Florence Corporation. Florence Corporation makes commercial postal boxes of all shapes and sizes. Selecting the right centralized mailbox model might feel like a drain when you’re trying to get a project done on time. Postal mailbox applications can be a process (and headache) for busy professionals. But a centralized mailbox system is a necessity that will be used by residents every day, so it’s important that design and construction professionals give it appropriate consideration to find the right solution for their customers.

Here are some guidelines to help you decide what type of centralized mailbox solution is needed for your project.

1. You’ll need to meet United States Postal Service (USPS) standards for mail delivery.

The USPS Sets Standards for Mail DeliveryThe USPS is responsible for establishing a method of delivery for all new residential developments. So it’s imperative to choose a USPS compliant mailbox system. The USPS has provided extensive guidelines for builders and developers when it comes to requirements for centralized mailbox selection and installation — it covers everything from safety codes to mail carrier accessibility.

Centralized mail delivery is required for any new residential and commercial development. While some residential communities still use curbside mailboxes, “centralized delivery is our preferred method of mail delivery,” according to the USPS. “Centralized delivery equipment improves delivery efficiency and provides space for large mail items, including packages, which is a great benefit for the customer.”

2. Think about how the model will fit into your design.

Centralized mailbox systems can be mounted on pedestals, in free-standing kiosks or installed in (or on) a wall. The different mailbox models offer developers design solution alternatives.

Residential developments have their own design standards and style. The mailbox system you choose should help to enhance that design aesthetic and keep that style consistent throughout the property.

3. Plan your mailbox installation before you choose equipment.

Florence Corporation MailboxesDetails can sometimes get overlooked, so plan the design and installation of your centralized mailbox system in a way that fits in with the community layout to provide convenient “flow” for residents, mail carriers and property management staff.

Mailboxes might not be the biggest priority on a developer’s checklist, but pre-construction planning for your centralized mailbox is a crucial step. If the mailbox units and installation plan don’t meet local requirements for mail delivery and safety or accessibility codes, this will create project delays and potential costs down the line.

NOTE: The USPS approves both STD-4C mailboxes and cluster box units (CBU) for multifamily communities and single-family neighborhoods using outdoor installations. The 4C mailbox systems offer more custom configuration and parcel locker options for developers and property owners if standard CBU mailboxes aren’t sufficient.

4. Is the space accessible to both mail carriers and residents?

Make sure there is a clear path for mail carriers and residents, and provide a walkway if necessary.  There should also be a five-foot diameter turn-around space in front of the mailboxes to meet accessibility requirements.

It is important to contact the local USPS office early in your project to discuss the location for the centralized mailbox systems for your new development. “Cluster boxes must be safely located so that customers are not required to travel an unreasonable distance to obtain their mail and so there is sufficient access to mailbox locations with adequate space for carriers to deliver and customers to retrieve the mail,” recommends the USPS. A centralized mailbox unit is usually within one block of residences.

5. Think about safety measures for resident packages.

Florence Corporation MailboxesKeeping all mail and packages secure (and protected from weather damage) is key.

The designer and developer will need to ensure that a mailbox system provides enough space for packages to be delivered for all residents. Alternate configurations using STD 4C mailboxes allow add-ons like parcel lockers that give designers more solutions for package delivery in a common mailroom when more package space is needed.

If an outdoor community mailroom is in the design, stand-alone Outdoor Parcel Lockers (OPL) matching the Cluster Box Units are an easy alternative to add more shared, secure package delivery space.

6. Think through how the mailbox units will be identified.

It’s highly recommended to use sequential numbering identification, as opposed to mailbox IDs that match residents’ apartment or house numbers. This gives property managers more flexibility for assigning mailbox compartments and gives residents more security and privacy.

Let Kenton Brothers’ mailbox specialists answer your questions and assist you in the process!

Call or email Kristal at 816-888- 5868 or email her at kristalb@kentonbrothers.com.