Evaluation of Security Considerations in the Design of Public Buildings in Abuja

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The primary purpose of buildings is to provide occupants with conducive, safe, comfortable, healthy and secured indoor environment to carry out different kinds of activities ranging from work, study, leisure, business and family life to social interactions. (Olagide and Bello 2007).

Benjamin and Lawrence, 2007 noted that in order to achieve this purpose, buildings are designed, planned, constructed and managed based on standard specifications established by government’s professionals and experts who are supposed to have adequate knowledge of user’s needs and expectations, among others. (Webster, 1966), state that security is the state of feeling of being free from fear and danger or the elimination of threats. Security is one of the basic needs of humanity. Human security is about shielding individuals and communities from any form of violence or insecurity. Human security sought to highlight new concerns about global security and needs to address a threat to human life. (Ogboi and Eze, 2013).

According to (Gilbert et al. (2003) as cited by Benjamin and Lawrence [2007] Terrorist attacks as a threat to buildings are a threat that most design codes have not addressed in the past, and which have clearly become more important. (Benjamin and Lawrence, 2007) opines that especially for certain types of buildings. These has become an issue that cause fear, anxiety and worry in the minds of the public. As building codes are existing for the benefit and protection of the public and properties, it seems reasonable that codes should be taken into account the perceptions and fears of the general public when designing for all hazards, including terrorist threats.

Philips, (2010) states that the security breach by the terrorist group at the force headquarters and the united nations office in Abuja in 2011 had thrown up various security issues and brought about fears in the mind of publics.

Aziza, (2011), noted that public buildings in Nigeria today seems to have been the focus of terrorist attack. Building security and safety took on new meaning on September 11, 2001. Unprecedented terrorist actions that day at the world trade center in New York City and the pentagon in Washington. DC, made building owners and users think as they had never thought before about secure and safe, they are-or aren’t-in the buildings they use every day. (Anderson, 2008, as was cited by Muhammad, and Asmau S, [2012]. Architects, engineers, security and technology consultants define the architect’s role in the relationship between security and building design.

Aziza, (2011). Noted that building security considerations is not just about installing the latest electronic gear and software package. Nor is it just a consideration for building types with highly specific occupancy considerations. Increasingly, buildings of all sorts are candidates for the kind of careful security planning that proceeds hand-in-hand with the architectural design process. To ensure an appropriate and cost-effective level of security, architects need to acquaint themselves with the range of security factors that affect the design.

Safety, threats to buildings are addressed by building codes. By laws, architects and other designers must conform to design and construction standards applicable to the jurisdiction in which a project is located. Mandated requirements in building codes are intended to protect the health and safety of building occupants, firefighters, and emergency personnel, and to maintain the structural integrity of buildings in the event of fire and other adverse condition. Although safety threats relate to security threats, building code do not contain security requirements. Safety threats, which are unintentional, result from natural phenomena (e.g. Lighting floods, hurricanes and tornadoes) or through human negligence and ignorance (e.g. Improper use, accidents, equipment failure, and system flaws). Security threats are intentional and originate in human actions. Angry individuals, vandals, criminals, and terrorists can carry out intentional threats. However, heather threats are intentional or unintentional, they may have similar outcomes, ranging from nuisances to disasters of the major scale (got from security and planning in the design).

Nimma, (2007). Stressed that with the recent upsurge in terror attacks comes the need to reconsider building design considerations to safeguard lives and property and minimize risk and probability of attack. The ease at which security was beaten at the United Nations building in Abuja raise new questions as to the appropriateness of the entire complex in view of its status. Granted the building exhibited resilient structural integrity in withstanding impact, it ought to be more difficult to evade security. (Fatima, 2004) opines that the bombing of Lois Edet house-Nigeria’s police headquarters was also an indication that today’s design security considerations are clearly inadequate. The following anti-terror building design considerations are recommended for complexes that can be targets for terror attacks. There is the need to secure buildings in Nigeria.

Since the September 11, 2011 terror attacks in the United States, the need to prevent or respond to acts of terror has radically transformed the policing and security landscape of countries. This is often marked by the enactment of new legislation, creation of new security agencies or departments, fostering inter-agency intelligence sharing and technology provision of new resources, development of technologies, and intensification of bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation on policing and security. In many jurisdictions, however, these measures have been taken at the expense of cultivating the citizenry and communities in affected regions whose support and partnerships are crucial in acquiring actionable intelligence against terrorist threats and responding effectively to the menace. Nigeria is unfortunately no exception.


The problem of insecurity is now a major trend all over the globe. Insecurity affects human life and existence, the concept of insecurity has usually been ascribed different interpretations in association with the various ways which it affects individuals. Security considerations remain its values for investment safety.

The frequency of terrorist attack on building structures in Nigeria in the past few years had become very alarming and worrisome. Many lives and properties have been lost in the collapse of buildings mostly in Abuja. Many property owners have developed high blood pressure and some have been sent to an early grave. (Ogboi and Eze, 2013).

Beland (2005), defines insecurity as “the state of fear or anxiety stemming from a concrete or alleged lack of protection”. It refers to lack or inadequate freedom from danger. This definition reflects physical insecurity which is the most visible form of insecurity, and it feeds into many other forms of insecurity such as economic security and social security.


The primary aim of this research is to evaluation of security considerations in the design of public building. The specific objectives of this research is to perform the following

  1. To identify and evaluate various security considerations in maintenance strategies adopted for public buildings;
  2. To determine the effectiveness for security considerations in public buildings;
  3. To assess the level of security challenge in public buildings;
  4. To assess and evaluate the relevance of security consideration in public buildings in Abuja;


  1. What are the considerations for adopting and maintenance strategies for public buildings?
  2. How effective is the security consideration in public buildings?
  3. What is the level of security challenges in public buildings?
  4. What extend is the level of security challenges in public buildings?
  5. What is the relevance of security considerations in public buildings in Abuja?


The scope of this research is focused on security considerations in the design of public buildings in Abuja.

The status of Abuja as the capital city of Nigeria means the city is going to keep building physical structures and expanding in scope and size. Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital city, is a fast developing one. Abuja has a sprawling and unprecedented population growth, far more than the official figures. This is largely due to ensuing urbanization in the city following the relocation of the federal capital from Lagos, and to the economic opportunities that the city seems to offer. This has put enormous pressure on the city’s infrastructure, particularly housing, as well as other services many government establishments, embassies, international agencies and several corporate conglomerates are headquartered in Abuja. The city has seen the development of major Constructions of structures and infrastructures to meet up with the demands of accommodation for office, residential and recreational spaces. The research is to focus on some major buildings, and will ineptly look into the security consideration of central bank of Nigeria and National house of assembly which are both strategic buildings in Abuja Nigeria These are essential elements of our economy and life, and are therefore attractive targets to terrorist groups. This research will focuses on the protective preparations of some public areas, and provides relevant information to professionals and others who are concerned with these issues. The research will evaluate the accessibility, external structure, materials and internal safety.


This research intends to address and fill in some of the gaps that approaches to security of lives and properties in developing a means of safeguarding occupants and buildings especially the causes of terrorist attack and show how to maintain effective security policies.

Protecting the occupants and contents of a building from the results in the results of a natural or human assault, the final goal of physical security design is to minimize damage to a building and its systems so recovery may be possible. This is, of course, a challenging task because the effects of earthquakes, windstorms, floods, and explosions are difficult to predict.

Joseph.A, (2003) believed that the vulnerabilities of an existing building can be evaluated against a threat analysis for the structure. Methods for retrofitting the building to address these vulnerabilities are then examined. Technology has provided many materials and techniques that make it possible, though not always economical, to protect existing buildings against extreme duress such as bomb damage.


The study adopted a survey research techniques, and is supported by Marshall and Rossman (1989) that collection of data and analysis in a qualitative research is a simultaneous process. Random sampling method was adopted for selecting the sample size using a well-structured questionnaire, which was self-administered to the respondents. The secondary data were sought through a careful search of different materials. The major source of data was obtained through literature survey of books, reports of dailies and periodicals, government publications, conference papers and seminar reports among other. Descriptive analysis was employed to analyse the data gathered which was presented in a narrative. The positivist perspective also known as the scientific method is based on reliable and objective data, measurable experiments, tests, as well as statistical procedures. It derives its strength from the notion that better understanding of human experience can be gained through experiments and observations, positivist perspective to evaluation draws basically on the method-based theory and focuses on developing Methodological framework for verifying the internal validity (causality) and external validity (generalization) of programmes, evaluation research is focused on the generation of hypothesis, collection of quantitative data, and using the data to test hypothesis and also evolve theory as it is done in scientific experiments.

The main instruments of data collection were interviews, focus group discussions, questionnaires, reviews, observations. Relevant secondary data, and the positivist orientation for the research. Most importantly hypotheses are developed through the discussion of the conceptual model and constructivist approach.