Coincidentally with the implementation of the Bloomberg administration’s new construction codes, the Police Department on Wednesday issued a counter-terrorism handbook aimed at owners of medium- and high-risk buildings. The 130-page report is intended to provide guidelines, which are not legally binding, for existing structures as well as future ones. In a preface, Mayor Michael Bloomberg writes that the report “provides sensible guidelines for balancing the important need for security and the realities of urban development.
Prepared by the NYPD’s counter-terrorism bureau, the report, “Engineering Security: Protective Design for High Risk Buildings,” assigns the city’s buildings to either low-, medium- or high-risk categories, and provides recommendations for mitigating these risks. Although it does not identify any specific buildings as high-risk, the report says they’re structures which present several risk factors at once.
These factors range from location to structural design. They include: high-visibility, nationally recognizable architectural designs; proximity to other high-risk buildings or to major infrastructure; a lack of controlled access; the inability to withstand specific blast pressures at certain distances; maximum occupancy of more than 10,000 people or height greater than 800 feet; and key financial or government tenants.
During a presentation at NYPD headquarters on Wednesday, police commissioner Raymond Kelly told building owners that they could access a self-scoring system to determine their own properties’ risk levels. Most buildings in the city fall within the low-risk category, the report states.