HOA Security and Access Control — What to Consider

 

HOA-governed communities  — residential, condominium and townhome complexes — typically have several common areas like swimming pools, fitness centers, and clubhouses.

A private swimming pool run by a homeowners’ association is a very attractive amenity to current property owners and potential buyers. However, while they can be popular, pools create a number of liabilities for the association that need to be addressed to avoid safety and legal concerns. To retain the benefits that a pool brings to the community, the board of directors or association management will need to mitigate these risks of operating a pool by instituting proper safety measures.

There are basically four areas of risk to consider:

  • Someone getting hurt or drowning in the pool area
  • Chemical imbalances in the water that can cause illness
  • Overcrowding and unauthorized entry — people swimming during closed hours or unsupervised children and pets
  • Vandalism

Proper fencing and gating is the basic requirement to start addressing these concerns and is required by North Carolina State law. Check here for Wake County Pool Regulations: 

To control access, there are a couple of options available to HOAs ranging from mechanical coded lock systems, magnetic strip key cards to coded key fobs. Card and key fobs are top solutions to control swimming pool and fitness center access. Requiring proximity cards or badges to enter the pool gates keeps strangers or unattended children out while offering convenient access to members or residents. They can also be set up to open gates at specific times and coded so authorized personnel can review when keys are used for legal as well as illegal entry.

A perimeter fence and locked gate is a good start but will not always deter trespassers or vandalism and can’t help identify the perpetrators if this happens. So cameras are recommended to supplement fencing and gates.

Cameras serve two purposes. If they are openly visible to people entering your community, they will serve as a deterrent to vandalism and off-hours entry. They will also provide helpful evidence for prosecuting individuals caught in the act of committing crimes or in enforcing violations of an HOA’s governing documents. In addition, should the unfortunate situation arise of someone getting hurt or drowning, cameras offer the option to review the situation to ensure safety equipment was in place, and lifeguards and EMT followed protocol.

It is important to note that cameras are only effective if they are regularly maintained to ensure proper operation.

 

 Five Key Considerations when installing or upgrading pool surveillance cameras:

1) Fencing and camera line of sight

Angles and positioning are a major concern for which direction(s) you would like to aim the camera. Consider what type of zooming or panning capability you plan to employ in your surveillance. Be mindful of potential visual obstructions that could become a problem in terms of where the camera is positioned.

2) Height off the ground

If at all possible, cameras should be placed at least nine feet above the floor/ground, so that it will be more difficult for would-be intruders to tamper with them.

3) Image quality

Security Camera comparisonYour surveillance cameras should have “recognizable” image quality – could it be used to identify a suspect or clarify a situation?  

After all, what good is having video footage if you can’t use it when you need to? In addition to having the right camera, there needs to be enough lighting at night where the cameras are placed to produce usable images.

4) Camera angles

For example, a camera that is positioned in an area with seasonal trees could offer a clear view in the winter, but leavers may block the view in the summer. In addition, if you have a camera positioned to shoot into nighttime lighting or morning/evening sun, it could possibly hinder the camera’s field of vision for that span of time.

5) Hidden or Visible

When people (usually kids) want to “sneak into” a pool at night or commit vandalism,  they don’t want to be seen. Having the cameras visible and well out of reach seems to work well as a deterrent in the pool environment. Some HOA’s board prefer hidden cameras but at the end of the day, this is largely a matter of preference, and it’s up to the board to determine what they think will be the right move and at Secur-Tek we can help you through that decision.  

 

As you can see, there are quite a few important things for HOAs to consider when securing common areas. At Secur Tek, we can help HOA’s in the Triangle Area through the process of selecting and installing the right equipment given your situation, budget and homeowner requirements.  Give us a call at 919-387-1800.

 

Picture credit: www.versatech.co/analog-vs-hi-def-cameras/