6 Best Practices for Using, Storing and Maintaining Floor Plans

October 9, 2019 | 3 min read
Floor plan best practices

Where is your organization’s floor plan? When was the last time it was updated? Who is in charge of making those updates?

If your answer to any of the above questions is “I don’t know,” you’re not alone. When we visit schools, manufacturers, or other sites, we often find that about half of those clients don’t have a floor plan when we ask for one.

This is a problem, however. Floor plans are important security documents that help us keep you and your company safe.

What is a floor plan?

A floor plan is a scale drawing, showing the layout of a floor from above. It should show rooms, halls, and other spaces that accurately reflect the location of doors, windows, stairs, and critical safety information, like shelter-in-place locations and fire poles.

The security industry uses floor plans to conduct security assessments and to help us develop emergency plans. If there’s a fire, we need to know where the emergency exits are. If there’s a tornado, your employees need to know where to shelter in place, and first responders may need to know where they are in a building.

Below are some best practices that will ensure your floor plans are updated, accessible and protected:

  1. Have one: Your floor plan doesn’t have to be fancy, or overly-detailed. For example, if it’s a school floor plan, it doesn’t need to show where the desks or other furniture in a classroom are. What it should depict are the permanent structures, such as structural beams, exits, and windows. Factory floor plans should show where large equipment is. Emergency equipment, like fire extinguishers and eyewash stations, should also be depicted.
  2. Make sure it’s legible: The best floor plans are high-resolution documents that can be easily magnified during a security assessment. They’re laid out horizontally, in portrait format, so they can be easily read, and they include information that helps to orient the reader, such as a compass, a building name, or a key that explains the scale of the drawing. They also don’t have logos, overlays or any other design elements that obstruct the actual floor plan.
  3. Keep it updated: While furniture doesn’t need to be on the floor plan, any new construction does. If a school has built a closet in a classroom, for example, that new structure needs to be listed. After all, security personnel who don’t know the school will need to know (if it isn’t clear) which door is the exit and which is the closet.
  4. Know where it is and who has it: If you do have a floor plan, know where it’s kept or who is responsible for it. Often, floor plans are kept by maintenance staff, but sometimes there are legacy issues: the person who was responsible for the floor plan leaves the company and the plan is misplaced. Make sure you keep track of it, and that more than one person is responsible for knowing where it is and if it’s been updated.
  5. Don’t make it public: The flip side of a floor plan no one can find is one everyone can find, and that’s also a problem. Some organizations put their floor plans on their websites, or make them public in other ways; sometimes this is done to help visitors (a healthcare organization may want to guide visitors to patients’ rooms, for example) but if you can help it, don’t make your floor plans public. Floor plans are proprietary information and need to be protected.
  6. Take a look around: You may already have a floor plan, even if you don’t know it. Take the example of a school we once visited for an assessment: the officials there didn’t believe they had a floor plan, but there was a framed evacuation map on the wall. It wasn’t ideal, but for our purposes, it worked.

Circadian Risk’s software will ensure that your floor plan is always on hand and protected. Want to learn more? Schedule a demo today.

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