An overview of the role project managers, site superintendents and SSMs play in site security
How do you know your building site is secure? Especially when you’re constructing a secure facility that’s housing classified or top-secret information, it’s extremely important to have the right experts in charge to ensure you meet all the necessary safety and accreditation criteria and avoid the stress of having to rebuild or redo work.
Here’s a look at three key roles and how each one is vital to keeping your construction site secure.
A project manager (PM) works with the design-build team, leads the design process and manages the project’s execution from an office offsite. The PM occasionally goes on site to check in and ensure everything is going smoothly, but they leave the day-to-day responsibilities to the Site Superintendent.
The PM communicates regularly with the Site Superintendent to ensure all milestones are met and everything is going smoothly on site. As they are typically managing a few sites at once, sometimes up to five, they depend on their Site Superintendent to keep them in the loop and oversee the daily operations.
A Site Superintendent is basically the “captain of the ship” onsite, so to speak. Whereas the PM is offsite and managing the site operations remotely, the superintendent is fully physically present and dedicated to overseeing all the day-to-day operations.
They manage check-in, ensuring all individuals who are allowed onsite complete the proper identification process before they’re admitted, tracking that only authorized personnel are allowed to enter.
The Site Superintendent also ensures the space is built per the plans and specifications up to the minutest details—from safety to quality control, material selection and site security. You can trust them to oversee the overall building process, making sure no one is cutting corners and everyone is on track and doing their job properly.
Site Security Manager (SSM)
Perhaps the most important role when it comes to site security is an SSM. An SSM is crucial, particularly when constructing a secure facility, such as a U.S. government-accredited facility where Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) can be stored, discussed or electronically processed (SCIF).
Because SCIFs have specific accreditation regulations that many general contractors or even customers may not be aware of, an SSM’s expertise is critical to ensure the building process meets all the necessary standards. The SSM serves as a subject matter expert (SME) on all things accreditation and performs quality control, ensuring the construction site remains secure throughout the building process. An SSM is required to have an accredited SCIF or Special Access Program (SAP) facility. Read more about SCIFS and secure facilities.
In addition to the normal code, fire marshal and ADA rules, an SSM is the expert on ICD 705 and TEMPEST requirements.
Some of the responsibilities of the SSM include:
- Ensuring construction meets ICD 705 Tech Spec requirements and customer needs
- Ensuring compliance with the Construction Security Plan (CSP), including documenting and photographing the process and security features
- Implementing procedures to control site access
- Performing periodic security inspections
- Documenting security violations or deviations from the CSP or the ICD 705 and reporting those findings to the Accrediting Official (AO)
Problem solving is a huge part of the SSM’s job description, but most of the problems they face are minor issues, such as inspecting the penetrations at the perimeter of the facility or making sure dielectric breaks are installed on metallic objects coming to the facility. No matter how good the construction documents are, you need the SSM functioning as quality control, reviewing all the security features to make sure they’re incorporated into the project.
What Our Consulting Services Offer
That’s where we come in. From lending design expertise and crafting required documents to providing almost all the services of a full-time SSM during your construction process, we’ve got you covered.
Our SSM support team can help with everything from development and implementation of a custom Construction Security Plan (CSP) for your project, inspections, design review, site visits and more. As we mentioned above, the last thing you want to do is make the mistake of hiring a general contractor without the specific knowledge or experience needed to ensure your secure site is actually secure.
Partner with us on your next SCIF/SAPF project. To get started, contact our SSM Support Services team today.