Proper guardhouses essential for security


  • Community
  • Friday, 05 Mar 2010

metro@thestar.com.my

WHILE the debate on gated and guarded security schemes goes on, and with the Selangor state government expected to issue a set of standard guidelines soon, StarMetro takes a look at an important element of any such plan.

Guardhouse structures are built or placed at key entry-exit points to enable the security guards who are stationed at these locations to monitor the traffic that goes in and out of a residential area.

A quick check around Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya and Puchong revealed that these guardhouse structures vary in shape and size — from well-designed brick-and-mortar structures to simple cabins, or even just an umbrella and a table.

A proper guardhouse is essential to provide shelter for the guards, especially to shelter them from the downpours that frequently occur in the country.

One of the most impressive guardhouse structures is the one located in Jalan USJ5/4, which serves as the main entrance for those staying in Jalan USJ5/3 and Jalan USJ5/4.

USJ5 Residents Association (USJ5RA) deputy president Ong Chong Swen said it cost an estimated RM100,000 to construct the three guardhouses, fencing and boom gates around the residential area.

“The contributions came from the residents, who chipped in the money in addition to the RM1,200 yearly fees per home to engage the 24-hour security services,” she said.

“The main guardhouse in Jalan USJ5/4 includes an attached toilet and bathroom for the security guards, while the other two guardhouses are simpler structures with roofs,” she said.

According to Ong, most residents responded well to the scheme and contributed the funds as they realised it was necessary to have a proper scheme to protect their families and homes.

“The USJ5RA residents conceptualised the gated and guarded security scheme three to four years ago, but the idea only materialised in 2008. The guardhouses, fencing and boom gates were constructed by the middle of 2008.

“Since we were one of the pioneers in having such a scheme, a number of residents associations have also approached our committee to share our experience and better manage the security system, among other things,” said Ong.

Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) public relations officer Azfarizal Abdul Rashid said the guardhouse structures were among the elements that needed the council’s approval with regards to the gated and guarded scheme.

“For the guardhouse structures, the council also has a set of guidelines that have to be met, like size, location and TOL (temporary occupation licence) for a temporary structure,” he said.

While in Petaling Jaya, we noticed most guardhouses provided just enough space for the security guard working to shade from the rain.

Guardhouses were also built wherever there was enough space for one, but for well-planned housing areas, it was placed at the main exit and entry points.

Those areas which have multiple roads leading to their housing area chose to have less fancy guardhouses, usually it is a one-room cabin seen at construction sites with electricity provided.

Not all security guards were lucky, though, as some only had a makeshift tent as shelter and used furniture to rely on.

We do not know where these guards run to hide during a downpour but since most of them were equipped with motorcycles to go on patrol, a nearby shop or restaurant could be the best spot.

Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) public relations officer Zainun Zakaria said at present, the council was following closely a set of regulations from the Selangor Housing and Real Estate Board.

Residents who wish to build guardhouses for their gated and guarded security scheme would first have to get the consent from at least 85% of residents in the area.

“The guardhouse can be built as long as it does not obstruct the traffic flow in the area, and is not built on a road shoulder,” said Zainun.

She added that each shelter’s size should not exceed the given size of 6ft x 8ft, however, those that the local council felt appropriate would also be given approval.

Residents must also obtain approval from the local council on the location and design of the guard- house before constructing it.

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