2005-07-25 : What a bunch of wazzocks !

Can't say I'm overwhelmed with confidence about our building security arrangements here… I know that in the main, the primary group inconvenienced by building security are in fact the day-to-day users of the building, however I can't help but think that the numpties in charge of this place have somewhat missed the point.

In my first week, I had to sign in every day at the ground floor reception. Name, company, and who I was visiting. At this point, I'm issued a visitor's pass and waved through the turnstiles – so there's no checking with the 'target' person that their visitor has arrived, or indeed that they're expecting a visitor. The turnstiles are permanently open, by the way. After this I get into the lift and go to my floor – I can of course choose any floor this lift services. Upon arriving, I step out into our floor's lobby, and am accosted by another receptionist (usually a temp), who doesn't ask to see my ground floor issued pass, but who does make me sign in with name, company, visiting, and time, and who issues me a numbered coloured bit of cardboard – my “floor pass”.

Upon leaving, I can leave through the other door and take my floor pass with me, or if I go via the receptionist, she makes me sign out again and hand the pass in. Then it's back into the lift down to the lobby, out through the open turnstiles, and out through the front door without any interaction with the desk staff.

If I come back in (say, I've just popped out for sushi or something), I don't need to sign in – I just flash my visitor's pass at the staff as I walk through the turnstile, on the off chance that they're actually looking.

Of course, as I'm here full time I'm issued with a permanent pass. A generic letter (without my name on) is required from the nominated person in this company, which I take to the security guard downstairs. He takes my photo, gets me to fill in my name and company on some card blanks, and says come back tomorrow. Tomorrow I go back, say I'm here to get a card, give my first name, and they hand it over – the pass being the cardboard blank I wrote on the day before, laminated.

Now the building entry process is made simpler by virtue of the fact I don't have to sign in any more. I can just walk in straight off the street, through the turnstile, whilst holding my building pass aloft for the 'guard' to see (from about 3-4 metres away). Up the lift, into the floor reception, flash the pass at the receptionist, and there we are, in !

The whole procedure leaves me wondering what the hell the point is, exactly ? I was chastised on my first day for not signing out and then back in again by the floor receptionist, as the purpose of that sign in is apparently to do headcount should the building get evacuated. That's all well and good, except that by providing a 2nd exit they've buggered that ability. And of course if you haven't signed in at all (i.e. you've shown your pass) then the headcount thing's not going to happen either.

And of course the flashing the pass at the guards thing is a WOFTAM, because they don't look half the time, and certainly not close enough to tell whether it's a valid pass or not. And of course as they don't check on the way out there's no reason you can't just wave yesterday's Visitor pass (or in fact one you've found outside).

Ordinarily I'd be reluctant to post this for risk of compromising our building, but let's face it – the arrangement sucks so much that it can be compromised perfectly well without my assistance.