03 September 2007

Where would you hide a state-of-the-art, multimillion high security vault, that contains 6 000 safety boxes? The answer is simply ingenious: right under people’s noses, in one of the busiest shopping malls in the southern hemisphere!

It’s a little known fact that one of the marvels of modern design and technologically advanced security systems resides within the heart of KwaZulu-Natal, the first ever bank vault initiated by an enterprising businessman. International Bank Vaults' (IBV) facility is the primary high security and safety deposit vault facility in South Africa, offering protection, confidentiality and convenient access to their client’s most valuable possessions.

This modern-day fortress, constructed of steel-reinforced concrete, and protected by a sophisticated, multi-tiered security system, utilises cutting edge security technology and is monitored by highly trained professionals around the clock.

So just how does one go about building a safety deposit vault that allays client’s security fears? You have to call in the best of the best within the local security market to deliver.

Strengthening partnerships

Fiona Jansen Van Rensburg has worked in Chubb’s Durban office as a Security Consultant for over 29 years. She was approached by IBV in 2004 to assist in the development of the pilot project that would serve as a case study for the construction of future vaults. “We were asked to come in and offer solutions and literally started at the drawing board,” says Van Rensburg. “The brief was that we present a security solution from beginning to end. Design was also important and we engaged in many hours in consultation with the architects to find creative options. Our client wanted the best of the best, that’s what we had to give him.”

Thus followed a close partnership with premier security distributor, Elvey Security Technologies. Senior Sales Consultant, Jonathan Moore, was instrumental in securing the contract with IBV and worked with Van Rensburg from the beginning of the project. “Chubb Durban is my biggest client and I was informed of their customer request, Van Rensburg and myself worked in close consultation to provide the best solution to meet the high security need,” comments Moore. “The highlight for me in this whole process has to be when we went up against our competitors to present security solutions and they specced Elvey’s equipment. This application is definitely a feather in our cap, as it is the combination of the superior performance of our products and focused client service that has earned our respect in the market,” he adds.

Top Technology

While the comprehensive solution cannot be divulged to the public, it is safe to say that the GE NetworX NX Panels, Optex CX502AM Detectors, Alarmcom Seismic detectors and Bentel GSM Communicators, which are available to all security product users, provide a tough first line of defense against possible intruders. The vault is also fitted with full CCTV surveillance and the Bentel GSM Communicators provide signals to base station without having to use a telephone line.

It is also worth noting that the seismic detectors, which are so sensitive that an alarm was triggered when an angle grinder in a shop on a floor above the vault was used, picks up frequencies that will immediately notify surveillance staff about possible penetration. This tool is therefore extremely important to the overall system and has been placed every few metres within the vault, including the roof, walls and floors to detect the slightest cutting or drilling. That’s if any criminal will be crazy enough to attempt to cut through category five concrete walls!

Another feature of the frontline defense is Optex's Multi Anti-Masking Technology, which prevents any detector disturbance. The CX-502's Anti-Masking Technology will detect virtually any attempt to mask the detector. Whether invisible spray, black spray, transparent tape, or even black paper is used, the Multi Anti-Masking Technology will detect the attempt. The unique design of integrated technologies provides the widest range of protection against masking techniques and produces a sensor with the highest degree of reliability ever offered.

Advanced Temperature Compensation will increase detection capability under high temperature conditions where the background temperature is similar to that of the human body. It maintains a high level of false alarm protection while providing accurate detection by automatically adjusting its sensitivity according to the environmental temperature. The CX series represents superior detection performance where high security is required, while eliminating false alarms, even in the most severe environments.

Customer is King

In Moore’s book, customer is king and his commitment to going the extra mile for his clients is evidenced in the warm response he receives when he services the Inland and Northwest region. “We do a lot of site surveys with our clients, attend product presentations and offer strong back up support,” states Moore. “The bank vault project is an ongoing one. If there are any new products that Elvey introduces to the market and I feel that it would be a worthy addition to the security system, I take the product to Van Rensburg and if she is happy with it, we then go to see the client together and offer the product updates to him. Fortunately, the owner of IBV places a premium on providing an optimum security solution to his clients, so we have developed a deep understanding of his needs.”

Future bank vaults are planned to launch in Johannesburg and Cape Town and the work that has been done on the original vault will no doubt serve as a tried and tested working model. There have been no incidents of attempted intrusions and the facility is constantly monitored.

For Chubb, this exercise has been a learning experience that has yielded great rewards. “Our client is confident that he made the right choice and even the control room has top level security,” explains Van Rensburg. “Jonathan works alongside me to cater to the clients needs and the owner is quite happy to keep abreast of product changes to ensure that the facility uses the best technology and the best equipment at all times. During the launch presentation, he mentioned Elvey’s provision of top technology. I always say: if you want quality, you use Elvey, if you want cheap, you go somewhere else.”

Elvey Marketing