The 3 Key Differences in Residential vs. Business Security Explained

Sep 20, 2019

What is the difference between a commercial and a residential security system?

  
Commercial real estate is a property type that is only for business or retail purposes. While residential real estate is a property type specifically designed for living purposes, as long as it is less than four units – anything larger than that is considered a commercial property.

Commercial and residential property are subject to different laws and regulations, and that includes rules for security systems. Commercial property and business owners run the risk of liability claims and exposure to lawsuits if they do not maintain adequate security measures. In general, security for commercial properties is much more complex than for a residential dwelling.
 

The biggest threats to life or personal property are from a fire or theft.

Identifying Security Risks

 
Risk identification in a residential property is relatively simple, especially since the main people going in and out of the home are the homeowners. The biggest threats to life or personal property are from a fire or theft. The most vulnerable parts of your home are the front door, garage service door, or any sliding doors on your property. Windows can also be a possible entry point for thieves, especially if they are covered by large shrubs or low lighting, which can give a crook good coverage. When assessing fire risks, any areas where there are cooking appliances or heating elements, sleeping rooms, and basements all need protection.
 
Risk identification at a commercial property is much more complicated. First, commercial buildings are accessed by a wide variety of people–employees, vendors, and patrons–at varying times throughout the day. Next, there often is valuable merchandise, technology, or cash that is visible and easily accessible in a commercial property. If a commercial property is an industrial facility, there are environmental factors to consider, as well as more complex safety issues.
 

Complex Commercial Security Considerations 

  • Who has access to the building and when.
  • How special areas such as storerooms, restaurant cooking facilities, or cash registers are protected.
  • What special regulations need to be met for securing elevators, stairwells, or parking lots.
  • How will data storage and playback issues be handled to address theft, employee disagreements, or customer complaints. 

Residential properties are generally not subject to certifications and inspections of their home security equipment

Certifications and Inspections

 
Residential properties are generally not subject to certifications and inspections of their home security equipment. A home security system isn’t required at all, outside of working smoke detectors and possibly carbon monoxide detectors depending on what city or state in which you live.
 
Commercial properties, on the other hand, are required to use certified security equipment and undergo regular inspections based on the local and state ordinances and building codes. Fire alarm system design and installation are driven strictly by code. Each jurisdiction has different requirements, and many times fire alarm systems may require the approval of multiple jurisdictions (local, state, and joint commission) before installation.
 

There are varying accessibility needs that must be met in commercial property

Accessibility

 
Another significant difference between residential and commercial security systems are accessibility needs. In a residential property, the homeowner is not required to make any accommodations for people with disabilities.
 
With a commercial building accessibility is always a consideration. There are varying accessibility needs that must be met in commercial property – both for entering and working inside of the building and exiting it during an emergency. 
  • Do you need to have audible-visible appliances to alert occupants of a building in an emergency?
  • Does your elevator have a recall function or two-way voice assistance?
  • Is your building required to have an area of refuge?
  • Do you have an appropriate Emergency Action Plan
With over 45 years of experience, FSS Technologies is an industry leader in providing security systems and life safety solutions appropriate for residential and commercial applications. All our technicians are NICET certified, and we understand the nuances of installing security systems in most jurisdictions. For more information on designing the right solution for your home or business, contact us today.

Speak with a security expert

Share this post