Commercial Building Security

Fresh out of college, I was assigned as a project engineer on a large waste water treatment facility outside of Washington, D.C. It was a great opportunity for my career – and also great for touring our nation’s Capitol. Back then, you could walk straight into the Capitol Building and the Library of Congress, and stand in line for a White House tour.

Twenty years later, following the 9/11 attacks, Washington became a fortress. Overnight, concrete traffic barriers were installed around our national treasures. Today, the concrete traffic barriers are gone – yet Washington is just as secure.

We want our homes and places of business secure, but we do not want to look out through bars on windows and doors. There are several ways to accomplish this.

It starts with limiting access to your place of business. Multiple access points in and out of your property after hours makes for a more inviting target. Thieves want to be able to escape from one access point if the police come in another. Limit access by installing steel gates on entry points into your property.

Windows are vulnerable. To keep out thieves, use laminated glass windows – windows with a plastic layer between the double panes of glass. Add security film to the window, and it becomes almost impossible for a person to get through.

A few years ago, we converted a small office building into a daycare center. The entry needed to be inviting while providing security during and after hours. Our solution was double-paned glass with one layer of double thick laminated glass and a layer of security. Add thorny bushes outside, and thieves will walk past your windows.

Your building entry is the first area thieves examine. If it is easy for you and your clients to enter the building, then it is easy for thieves to enter, too. Place heavy planters in front of the entry doors so that it is easy for a person to walk in, but not for a vehicle to knock down your front door. Make it as hard to walk out the front door without a key as it is to walk in without a key. But at all times, maintain emergency egress from your building.

The garage door or warehouse door is the quickest way in for thieves. To prevent “drive throughs” – thieves using their vehicles as battering rams – we installed a steel bar that drops down on the outside of our overhead garage door.

Taking these building security measures will keep the people and contents inside your building safe, without your feeling imprisoned.




Mick Rich Builds School Addition in Albuquerque, Transports It to Taos

Mick Rich Contractors Inc., an Albuquerque-based commercial building contractor, has completed construction of an addition for the Anansi Charter School in Taos.

The addition is a 1,836 sq. ft. third-grade classroom. The 27’ x 68’ unit was constructed at Mick Rich Contractors’ Albuquerque facility and later transported to the Taos school. Mick Rich deems this type of building as “off-site conventional construction.”

Professional structural movers loaded the addition onto two giant steel beams for transportation. Once loaded and with escorts in tow, the caravan headed for Taos. 

The building, at a little less than 18’ tall when loaded, does not fit under most overpasses, so the movers must take every exit then reenter the freeway on the other side of the bridge.

A one-piece building, as opposed to a two-piece, offers better quality, more design flexibility and shorter construction time.

Off-site conventional construction projects such as this are the best method of providing economical classrooms without the stigma of “portables,” which is why Anansi proceeded to order a second building to be delivered in 2010.

Mick Rich Builds First Platinum Certified LEED Building in New Mexico

Mick Rich Contractors Inc., an Albuquerque-based commercial building contractor, has completed construction of its Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (SSCAFFCA) office building expansion project.

The expansion includes a one-story 4,415 square-foot addition to the existing government office in Rio Rancho. It features a 13,000-gallon cistern system to collect the buildings’ rainwater for irrigation and a 16kw photovoltaic shade structure array that will provide power for the expansion.

These features are part of the objective of becoming platinum-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.

To meet LEED certification requirements, 75 percent of all waste from the site must be recycled and 20 percent of all installed materials must be made of recycled content. Also, all paints, adhesives and composite wood items must have a low volatile organic compound content, meaning they are low on environmentally harmful solvents. 

The Forest Stewardship Council has certified all the wood framing material used on the project, which is also one step closer to LEED certification. 

The LEED applications for design and construction will be submitted for the certification process in mid-February.

Mick Rich Receives Patent for Soft Wall Anchor

Mick Rich Contractors Inc., an Albuquerque-based commercial building contractor, has received a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its “soft wall” anchor.

In 2007, the parish of San Felipe de Neri Church selected Mick Rich to renovate and restore its 250-year-old building.

During the project, Mick Rich found the sanctuary’s 150-year-old altar was separating from the adobe wall. The parish requested the altar be fixed without compromising the existing wall. In order to avoid changes to the existing wall, Mick Rich developed a unique solution by designing and fabricating an anchor that holds the altar to the adobe wall without the use components that would be visible to church visitors.

The new “soft wall” anchor developed by Mick Rich uses “butterflies” to hold anchors in place, rather than a large metal plate attached with a nut.

We Are Fortunate To Work with Heroes

Some people stand by and watch an emergency event that calls out for help, but never take action nor tell anyone. Other folks jump in to help, then tell the world of their great deeds. Perhaps the smallest category is people who jump in to help, but say only, “Yesterday was an interesting day.”

This story is about that last, rare category of people.

It was the end of the workday at San Martin de Porres Church in Southwest Albuquerque, when all the workmen were gathering up their tools, ready to head home. One of those workmen was our Vice President, Bobby Jaramillo, who had just completed his site inspection.

As Bobby stepped into his truck, he noticed smoke pouring out of the garage of a home across the street. He yelled to one of the workers to call 911, and ran to the home. Bobby pounded on the front door and called out to anyone inside, but no one answered or came to the door. Bobby concluded no one was home, and for his own safety, started to walk away.

Just as Bobby cleared the garage, there was an explosion inside it. The “kaboom” was enough to stir the resident inside the home. Bobby turned and saw a mother holding her infant while standing at the front door. Smoke swirled behind her. Bobby ran up to her to help her get away. But she was confused, unwilling to leave her front door.

Bobby took the infant and tried to persuade the mother to leave the front door. She would not leave. He then realized another child was in the home. Two other workers, Sylvester Gallegos and Jacob Jaramillo, came to help, took the baby from Bobby, and ran to the opposite side of the street.

Another worker, Jacob Aguilar from Anderson Air Corporation, ran into the home to rescue the second child. Moments later, Jacob emerged with the child and ran to a safe difference away from the home. However, the mother still would not move from her front door because there was a pet dog in the house. Jarred Lavato from Anderson Air called for the dog, and it came to the front door. Finally, the mother left the front door with Bobby to stand at the street near her home.

The fire department arrived and assessed the situation. Who was the father? One man held an infant, another held a child, and a third man was comforting the mother.

None of them was the husband and father – they were just our guys. They handed back their wards to the mother, loaded up their trucks, and headed home.

The next day: “Oh, yesterday was an interesting day.”

Was I surprised? No.

I have known Bobby for more than 25 years. I remember many years ago, he came into my office and said, “Oh, yesterday was a tough day.”

He related the story. There had been a car accident on his way home. Of course, Bobby stopped to help. It was clear that the young occupants of the car had just moments left to live. He climbed into the car and held the young woman’s hand, so she knew she was not alone. Bystanders stood outside peering in. He yelled to one of the bystanders to hold the young man. The end came quickly for both of them. Bobby climbed out of the car and headed home.

“Last night I told my family, ‘Wear your seat belts. I love you.’“

Now you know why I feel grateful to have known Bobby Jaramillo for a quarter century.