Scope of Work for a Museum
Security Survey

What things might you do that will run up your costs? What must you know before preparing the RFP. Here are some thoughts:

  1. 1.Don’t ask for more copies of the report than you need. One government agency typically requires twenty copies of an initial draft report. Then they require a several week period to review all twenty copies of the report and comment. Each reviewer comments separately and there is no guarantee that their comments won’t be chicken scratched on the back of an envelope instead of submitted digitally as one submittal. In nearly every job of this type in 35 years, we have received contradictory instructions from reviewers so we need to build hours into our proposal to coerce a consensus. They then require that the consultant comment on each of their comments and state exactly how the consultant intends to comply. After a review period the consultant’s comments are commented on again and either agreed to or rejected. Then the consultant must modify the report and re-submit twenty more copies. This process generally adds a minimum of $10,000 to your costs.

  2. 2.Don’t hire an expert then tell him how to do his work. If you want to discuss methodology with the consultant, by all means do so. But we may reject this project and refuse to submit a proposal if you try to tell us how to do our work. If you are not totally satisfied with our work you do not have to pay for it. There is no reason to try to control the process, something procurement officers think they must do to control the quality of the work product.

  3. 3.Don’t tell us what NOT to look at. About half the time a client tries to limit the scope of work by saying something like, “You don’t have to look at our alarm system because our alarm company told us it is fine.”   Duhhh! Limiting the scope will not reduce the cost. Feel free to ask us to look at more, but never ask us to look at less than what we feel is necessary to do a good job. We’ve done this literally hundreds of times. This is like going to your doctor and telling her not to look at your heart because you think it is OK.

  4. 4.Don’t demand that the work occur on a specific schedule without discussing this with the consultant first. About half the clients who contact us with an RFP mandate an unrealistic schedule. Every one of the specialist consultants with any amount of expertise is always busy. We will fit this in when we can devote full time and attention to it. We can’t come next week and we can’t submit the report the week immediately following the visit. That isn’t how you work and is not how we work.

  5. 5.We appreciate your advice on where to stay, but if you insist on buying our airline ticket and booking our hotel it may run up your costs. Let us know if you have preferences but a good security consultant has reasons for not wanting to leave his computer with notes about your security in the Motel 6. Some clients have insisted that I fly out of Orlando instead of my home airport in Jacksonville so they can save $50 on airfare, not aware that making me travel to a distant airport three hours from my home to catch a 6:00 am flight adds to the time required to do the work, increases the cost of parking from $25 per day to $75 per day, and adds ground transportation costs.

Not every security survey is the same. Some require that we look at more aspects of the operation than others. But all should include more or less the same basic scope items. When you go to the doctor you don’t tell the doctor to skip the look at your heart and lungs just because you think they are fine. Similarly, we look at a wide range of topics because, as experts, we can see problems in one area only by looking at another entirely different area.

The scope of work below includes those topics we always look at. You may want to add a wider range of topics for us to look at and if you do, we urge you to call us to discuss your needs. We will gladly add them.

We strongly prefer that you allow us to offer a proposal BEFORE you issue an RFP to a group of competing firms. We prefer that you NOT solicit proposals using this RFP. Why? A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Procurement officers in particular can really screw up this process. In the vast majority of instances where a procurement officer or client attempts to offer an RFP to solicit quotes from security consultants, they make things so complicated with so many hoops to jump through that they run the cost up. The biggest mistake they make is telling us the methodology we must use and defining the form and format of our report, without ever having conducted a security  survey--or even seen one--they attempt to define the entire process. We know that this is done in an effort to get an “apples-to-apples” quote from multiple firms but it WILL increase your costs. A lot!

If you plan on having a survey done by a professional consultant, wouldn’t it be revealing to see the proposals from the various firms so you can compare them? Some people who call themselves security consultants don’t even know the questions let alone the answers. You’ll discover this by asking all of us to submit a proposal then comparing them.

So why do we include this sample scope of work here? First, we do it so you know what our basic scope covers. When you call, we can give you a very quick and very accurate estimate of the cost of doing this work. We can talk and if you need to prepare a formal RFP you’ll have discussed the issue thoroughly before you begin. The second reason we offer this is because some clients--mostly government--can only procure services through an RFP process and this document will guide them in preparing that RFP. Often they are prohibited from talking to any specific bidder prior to submitting the RFP.

Finally, I caution prospective clients about selecting a consultant on cost alone. While our fees are competitive, we will rarely be low bidder. Joe’s Locksmith Shop located in your home town may call themselves museum security consultants in response to your RFP but their knowledge about museum security may be lacking. If you want your problem solved you use a specialist and it is not likely that you have one in your small community.  Select your security consultant on experience, qualifications, and references, not low bid from an RFP. Unless, of course you are from the government. And we all know how that works out.

So with all of this said, let’s look at the sample RFP so you can 1/ understand the basic scope of work and 2/ prepare a better RFP if you must use one.

Request for Proposals

Proposals are solicited from qualified security consultants to conduct a comprehensive security survey at the following location: (Insert details of the project site. Also attach information on the size of your facility).

Submit a lump sum quote for conducting an on site survey of the facility. Expenses are additional and are to be billed as actually incurred without mark-up. Submit payment terms including requirements for an advance retainer and final payment upon delivery of the report. Propose a schedule for conducting the site survey and for submitting a final report based on number of days following delivery of a purchase order or letter of intent.

Submit a biography of the consultant who will be conducting the survey showing the consultants experience and qualifications to perform the work. Provide a list of past projects in a similar environment. Provide at least three references from previous clients including name, address, position, phone and email address. Previous clients must represent similar institutions as the one being surveyed. Submit a company brochure or other company information.

All of the following will be included and addressed in the final report:

1.  Tour the facility and observe conditions.

2.  Meet with appropriate staff members to discuss conditions and gather information. Conduct up to three 45 minute interviews with key museum staff such as but not limited to the Curator, Registrar, and Facility Manager.

3.  Evaluate physical security. Note problems with perimeters including doors, windows, ducts, hatches, and similar penetrations.  Evaluate lighting, locks, hardware, hinges, and similar security equipment. The conditions will be observed by day, and again after dark.

  1. 4. Examine and evaluate the security alarm system including alarm panels, detectors, the alarm line to the central station, and other pertinent components.

  1. 5. Evaluate the CCTV system and any other electronic security system in use.

5.  Examine security staffing for adequacy and performance.

6.  Evaluate the training program for security and non-security personnel on security and fire protection matters.

7.  Evaluate access and parcel controls in use on the property, in office areas, and in storage.

8.  Evaluate security and fire protection policies and procedures. Evaluate the policy manual that defines the security policies and procedures.

9.  Evaluate key control and retrieval in effect. In addition, determine the desirability of card access or similar controls for storage if none is already in use.

10. Evaluate internal and personnel security programs.

11. Evaluate security for objects on display and in storage including those in cases including any object protection systems.

12.  Observe and comment on other security problems noted or brought to your attention during the visit.

13.  Evaluate compliance with all prevailing codes and standards that may apply to our situation.

  1. 14.The project must result in an assessment of risks that the institution faces based on objective and subjective criteria clearly defined in the report. Provide a comprehensive report of your findings including detailed recommendations and suggestions. It shall also include product cut sheets for products mentioned or recommended, and cost estimates for implementing recommendations, where possible. Where appropriate provide recommendations for a phased implementation of the recommendations over multiple budget years.

To qualify as an approved vendor the security consultant must have true professional liability (error and omissions) insurance from an approved carrier in the amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence and $1,000,000 per year aggregate, and general liability insurance  in the amount of $1,000,000 per year and $2,000,000 per year aggregate. Submit a copy of your ACORD insurance coverage form as evidence of current coverage.

Crime rates within two miles of surveyed site.