Start with HK Electrical Engineers
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HK Electrical Engineers is a leader in security electronics and electrical retrofits for justice facilities. We specialize in detention electronic system renovation, upgrade and replacement projects. We can assist you in defining your objectives, and present technological options along with the pros and cons of each to assist you in determining what best fits your objectives.
The first steps are to evaluate your existing systems by interviewing your operations and maintenance staff, reviewing the service reports, reviewing the physical condition of the field equipment and head-end components, research and document any systemic problems, and compare the system elements and system topology to the latest standards, best practices, and codes.
We then develop a list of equipment that can be retained, and determine where the systems stand relative to their reliability, maintainability, salvageability, and remaining economic life.
We will meet again with the Owner’s key personnel to document their short and long term security objective and compare these to the existing capacities and technologies currently used.
We will provide a draft Concepts Document for Owner consideration. This effort will result in a report suitable for presentation to commissioners, stakeholders, or other interested parties which document the existing conditions, objectives, and proposed system modifications that can be used to secure funding for the project. HK often prepares this report for little or no cost.
In many facilities, even during tight economic times, our report has been used to justify the appropriation of capital for a security upgrade through emergency operations funding.
With proven expertise, rely on us to be your partner
HK Electrical Engineers understands that safety and security are the top priorities for criminal justice facilities. All members of our staff have an engineering or technical degrees in electronics design which is key to understanding these systems. Most of our staff also have military backgrounds.
HK Electrical Engineers is a licensed engineering firm whose primary focus is in the design, construction administration, and commissioning of security electronics systems. Our principals have over 40 years of combined experience in the field. Whether you need to upgrade or expand your system, with HK Electrical Engineers on your team, you instantly gain:
Specialty expertise in upgrades and replacements: With scores of major facility upgrades, our system retrofit expertise distinguishes us as the engineering firm that cities, counties, and states rely on for this highly specialized service. In all phases of the work, we team with you to minimize disruption in your operations.
A committed partner: Our staff are all trained to make your job easier by helping plan the project from conception through installation and final delivery. In addition to design and construction, we can assist in training, periodic software upgrades and preventive maintenance to keep your facility up-to-date and secure at all times. Throughout the entire process, you can expect from us reliable, responsive, professional and knowledgeable service.
Knowledge of leading-edge technology and standards: We are the technical leaders when it comes to applying electronics technology to criminal justice facilities. Our engineers have been instrumental in advancing industry-wide standards for security systems. Because of our expertise in video surveillance television and intercom systems, numerous manufacturers consult with us in their research efforts.
We understand that each facility is unique and we will help you choose the most appropriate technology for your specific applications and situation.
We lend a hand in all phases of the project
1. Project Planning:
The first step in any renovation is to assess the condition of the existing security systems and develop a security evaluation report. We provide a thorough evaluation of each system from remote devices to the headend equipment to define the project objectives by:
Establishing the Scope of the Upgrade: We are usually able to limit costs by reusing cable, conduit and select field devices such as cameras, intercoms and door locks. We also interview your operations and maintenance staff to gain their perspective and buy-in to the upgrade.
Budget Preparation: With over 150 justice facilities completed, HK’s staff has the experience and tools to quickly prepare accurate budgets (often within 2%), well before the start of the design phase.
Justifying the need for funding: As an independent source, our evaluation report can be used to document the security risks and safety code violations, which can then be presented to the funding agency to justify the need for the upgrade. Also, we can assist in this presentation.
2. System Design:
We are experts in designing security and specialize in upgrades and replacement projects. We believe strongly that system design should respond directly to your operational needs and your facility’s short and long term security objectives. For new facilities and major renovations, we work with the overall architectural and engineering team to provide design detail and craft the contract documents so as to reduce expensive changes later during the construction phase. During the early stages of design we will assist you in documenting your objectives and then develop detailed designs targeted to meet these objectives. During the design period we will present a variety of options for consideration along with the pros and cons of each, and present our recommendations for your application. At strategic points in the design process we will formally present our designs to you and your staff for discussion and feed-back.
Upon design completion, we provide assistance during contractor bidding and negotiations.
We can also prequalify contractors to ensure they have the requisite licenses, experience and staff in the installation of security systems in justice facilities for the success of your project.
3. Off-site Fabrication and Building Preparation:
In most projects HK can pre-qualify potential contractors and require them to have a UL-508 shop for off-site assembly and software, equipment necessary for preliminary testing and debugging of the systems at their shops prior to delivery to your site. We witness this factory test and system mock-up, and require the contractor to include in its bid, all costs for your specific members of your staff to attend the shop-test. This allows your staff to observe testing, learn the operational elements of the system, and have another opportunity to make programming changes prior to final debugging and delivery to the site. At this test we review the system for fabrication techniques, code compliance and conformance to the specifications. Corrective actions of programming issues to be proactively addressed and can then be efficiently implemented at the contractors’ shop where labor is less expensive and materials and tools are readily available, rather than at your facility during the 11th hour when the project is being closed out. The contractor will also be required to power the systems up 30-days prior to the test to allow sufficient “burn-in time” to allow any out-of-box failures to occur in the shop rather than on site. HK’s engineers have successfully used these techniques for over 25 years in hundreds of buildings. This allows:
- In new projects the contractor, who is frequently the last to leave the site, can have the systems debugged and tested ahead of the general construction schedule. This also allows the electronic and control rooms to be cleaned, sealed and climate controlled before equipment delivery.
- In retrofit projects, a hot cut-over from the existing system to the new systems without shutting down the existing systems.
HK Electrical Engineers monitor the installation of your system so that you get the highest workmanship for a maintainable and long-lasting system. Our Construction Administration services include our review of the contractors’ installation and wiring techniques and inter-system coordination, shop drawing and equipment submittals, RFI’s, and final system test procedures, test check lists and reports, spares inventories, as-built drawings, O&M manuals, training session video tapes.
5. Transition and Maintenance:
The projects’ success depends on a smooth transition to your new security system. In retrofit projects we often help create a temporary control room to use while your new system is being installed. When the new system is in place and tested, we manage the “cut-over” to your new system and monitor the demolition of the old equipment. HK Electrical Engineers is your partner during this transition and beyond. We provide testing procedures, checklists, and assist the contractor in acceptance testing. We also provide startup assistance, training assistance, post occupancy evaluation and maintenance recommendations.
We design for the future in Justice facilities
HK Electrical Engineers’ experience in designing justice facilities allows us to quickly design systems that are easy to maintain, upgrade and are reliable. All of our designs focus on reliability and require uninterruptible power sources, redundancy in mission critical components, and the products we specify are based on functionality, Mean-Time-Between-Failure statistics, and availability to the site of both the equipment and the contractor, as well as cost. We design with an eye on flexibility so future upgrades can be inexpensively implemented.
We constantly evaluate the industry for trends as well as equipment and software revisions. We frequently attend trade shows hosted by the AJA, ACA, and other security oriented professional organizations to remain technologically current and aware of technology which allows us to help you decide on the solutions that meet the needs of your facility.
Whether a Courthouse Courthouse security designs need to maximize the safety of the judges, staff, public, and detainee population while still allowing segregated movement through the building. We are experienced in the design of weapons detection, alarm annunciation and personal duress alarm systems that reduce the potential for violence within the courtroom and expedite incident response times.
Our courtroom designs include voice and sound reinforcement, evidence and document projection, and A/V systems which can be part of a full-court recording system and provide them for remote audio-video witness deposition and video arraignment.
Or a Juvenile Facility With populations changing toward increasingly violent offenders, today’s juvenile facilities are facing increased security needs. Even in these more program intensive environments, integrated electronics systems improve staff and public safety, and staff efficiency. Our designs typically include integration of card access, door control, intercom and paging, surveillance television, and duress monitoring through custom graphic touch screen systems distributed to the staff control stations.
Or an Adult Detention Facility Including jails, prisons, correctional, and mental health facilities for sexually violent offenders; reliability and maintainability of the security and life safety systems are the key factors in our designs. In addition to integrated monitoring and control of doors, intercom and paging, CCTV, and duress through graphical touch screen computers, we provide video visitation, card access, and where necessary video arraignment, and perimeter fence detection using a variety of technologies to reliably detect escape attempts, while limiting the number of nuisance and false alarms.
Engineering partners for security
Making Informed Decisions Many of the decisions made in selecting systems and equipment will be based on issues that will be discussed in detail with the Owner. These include:
Reliability: Expressed as the Mean-time between-Failure (MTBF) and the Mean-Time-To-Repair (MTRR) which will be explained to a level which will allow open discussions to explore:
- Which systems should be equipped with redundant elements and/or communications paths.
- Which products need to be provided in a hot back-up mode or simply be provided in the spares inventory, and what level of spares is adequate.
- We will describe the differences between electromechanical failure rates and those of silicon-based systems and how that affects the designs of the project.
Maintainability: In assessing system or component maintainability we will discuss how the following affects the issues listed above. These include:
- The ability of potential contractors to respond to requests for maintenance. Issues include the remoteness of the facility to the contractor and/or major airports. Note that while we can specify spares inventories and minimum response times that the Contractor has to meet in response to a call for assistance, the owner may want our help in specifying extended warranty contracts with other contractors after the initial warranty period.
- The owner’s abilities are in trouble-shooting and correcting issues as they arise. This will also be the point wherein we will discuss the owner’s potential desire to have the operations and maintenance personnel trained by the contractor and to what level this training is to be taken. Our base specifications require the contractor to:
- Provide training seminars in 4-hour segments.
- Provide a training syllabus in advance of all training seminars.
- Train operations and maintenance staff separately,
- Stipulate the specific number of hours operators and maintenance personnel are to receive training for each specific system. e. Provide detailed and accurate As-Installed drawings, Operations and Maintenance Manuals, completed test forms, copies of all software.
- Videotapes of all training sessions.
Replaceability: This discussion will be conducted to establish the owner’s tolerance for the potential of having to replace the entire system at one time at the end of its life cycle versus designing a system that can be up-graded in phases. This discussion will include the cost differential as well as the liabilities inherent in these options.
Expandability: In defining the need for expandability, we will discuss the need for initial built-in expandability versus the built-in space for future expandability and what the potential exposure to the Owner may be relative to the manufacturer’s lack of capacity to provide backward compatible equipment.
Salvageability: This will be an open discussion regarding HK’s opinions as to what existing equipment can be retained in the system versus what components can be salvaged for future needs as opposed to those that should simply be demolished and/or replaced.
The provision of proprietary systems versus non-proprietary systems will be discussed and the misconceptions of these systems will be revealed as well as which of those are relevant to the discussion of the project. We will provide examples relative to this project and show ways to mitigate most of the potential problems associated with proprietary systems.
We'll team with you
The average economic life of most justice facilities is from 30 to 50 years, while the security electronics systems within them often only last from 10 to 15 years. Typical signs of a facility in need of a security system upgrade, modernization, or renovation are:
- Maintenance Costs Becoming Excessive.
- Frequency of Failure Starting to Affect Security or the Confidence in the Systems.
- Outdated Technology or System Problems Affecting Efficiency or Job Performance.
- Mandated Increase in Recording of Surveillance for Litigation (Risk Management). Any of the above can both be costly and put the safety of staff, public and detainees at risk.