What happens during CCTV installation in commercial buildings?

Do you require a CCTV system as part of your CAT A or CAT B fit-out project? Are you an FM service provider looking to enhance your client’s building security? We explain what is involved in CCTV installation.

Installing CCTV systems for commercial buildings can have many benefits for businesses, including deterring crime, monitoring on-site activity, collecting evidence for criminal prosecution and solving disputes. 

Here, we answer some of the common questions fit-out teams and FM service providers have about CCTV installation.

What are the laws around CCTV installation for commercial buildings?

Every business is permitted to use CCTV cameras. Planning permission is not required unless the property is listed. 

There are, however, three main pieces of legislation that all owner/operators must comply with:

  • The Protection of Freedoms Act 2021
  • The Surveillance Camera Code of Practice 2013 (SCCOP) 
  • The Data Protection Act (DPA)

It is therefore important that the business is made aware of its responsibilities regarding the use of CCTV. For example, they will need to:

  • Put up a sign to let people know CCTV is being used and why
  • Be able to provide images within 1 calendar month to anyone they’ve recorded
  • Share images with the authorities, such as the police, if they ask for them
  • Keep images only as long as the business needs them
  • Pay an annual data protection fee to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) - the fee is £40 or £60 for most organisations including small and medium-sized businesses, though can be up to £2,900 for large businesses with a high annual turnover 

What does the CCTV installation process look like?

A professional company specialising in business security will be able to carry out the CCTV installation. As specialists, they will be able to advise you and your client on the type of cameras you need and where they should be positioned to ensure the best coverage. Your security partner will also ensure the property is compliant with CCTV laws.

Once you have found a security provider, they will usually meet with you to view the premises and any existing security measures that are in place, before coming up with a detailed plan for the CCTV installation. 

A CCTV system is typically composed of four components:

  • CCTV cameras
  • Cabling/wiring - usually Cat5E or Cat6 cables, which transfer the large amount of data required at fast speeds
  • Network Video Recorder (NVR) - allows for video to be recorded and stored on a hard drive and transmitted to a computer or remote device for live recording
  • Storage

As well as the physical installation of equipment, the CCTV cameras may also be integrated with other security systems, such as intruder alarms and access control for enhanced protection.

The CCTV installation can take anywhere from a few hours to several days, depending on how many cameras you have and whether they are being integrated with other security systems.  

For fit-out projects, the CCTV installation will need to be carefully timed with the rest of the project. The installation of the first fix cabling may require the drilling of holes in walls/ceilings, which is best carried out before final finishes are applied. Second fix of the cameras can then be scheduled in, usually as a separate visit once the final finishes have been applied. All of which is prior to commissioning and handing over to the client ideally with training and a full O+M manual being issued.

What types of CCTV cameras are there?

A typical CCTV system will include a variety of different types of camera, including:

  • Bullet cameras
  • Dome cameras
  • Turret cameras
  • PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) cameras
  • Fisheye cameras
  • Multiple sensor cameras
  • Rapid deployment CCTV masts
  • Doorbell cameras

Where should CCTV cameras be positioned?

Your security partner will also be able to advise on the best positions for the cameras. Though here are some common areas that are likely to be covered.

Entrances/Exits

It is best to have CCTV cameras on all entrances and exits. This will give your client full visibility of who is entering and leaving the premises, with a clear view of people’s faces. Visible CCTV cameras act as a strong deterrent to potential intruders as it makes them aware they are under observation. To ensure the best quality images, cameras should be placed above the door and pointing away from light sources and windows.

Car parks

Secluded areas of the premises, like car parks, can be a target for theft and vandalism. Installing CCTV can help deter criminals, but also identify them if an offence does take place. 

Reception/foyer

The reception/foyer area of the building is likely to have a lot of people coming and going. It may also be one of the most likely areas intruders will attempt to enter. Having CCTV cameras installed will help your client keep an eye on the people who are using the area and pick out unrecognised visitors or anyone acting suspiciously.

Storerooms

It is a good idea to add CCTV cameras to any storerooms holding sensitive documents or servers that are critical to the business. CCTV cameras will help keep track of who is entering the space, including any unauthorised personnel.

It is worth noting that in dark areas, cameras with 2D or 3D digital noise reduction or infrared light will need to be used.

Should monitoring services be added?

Your client may also want to consider investing in a remote monitoring service. CCTV supported by remote monitoring services can give businesses further peace of mind that their buildings are protected. CCTV is monitored 24/7, 365 days a year from a centralised location.

What else does your client need to know? 

If you are an FM service provider having CCTV installed at one of your client’s buildings, you will need to let them know if there will be any downtime while the install takes place. 

Usually, there should not be any disruption during the physical installation of the cameras. Even those placed within busy areas like the reception can be installed without interrupting day-to-day activities. Any integration with intruder alarms or access control systems can also be carried out without causing any downtime. However, your security partner will be able to advise you if downtime is expected so that you can let your client know. 

CCTV systems are integral to the security of commercial buildings. Installation is best carried out by business security specialists who can provide tailored recommendations on the best solution for your client. It is important to find a provider you trust to ensure your project is completed on time with no delays, and so you can have peace of mind that your client’s building is fully protected.

Guide to Office Fit-Out

         
Dan Bradding
Written by Dan Bradding

Dan is a systems integration specialist and Director at Ace Fire and Security.

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