Tall Building Security, Resilience & Protective Design

The field of Tall Building Security has become increasingly important in recent decades—as the number of skyscrapers increase, so too do the nature of threats that must be considered when planning for their resilience. The effects of climate change have increased the frequency and intensity of storms, while advances in digital technology have created new opportunities for automation that simultaneously increase vulnerabilities to hacking and cyber-attacks. Globally, the threat of violence in both public and private arenas must also be planned and prepared for both structurally and with appropriate evacuation strategies.

To efficiently and adequately anticipate, prepare for, and execute tall building security plans, a complex roster of factors must be evaluated from the outset of the tall building’s conceptualization. Within this guide to tall building security and resilience, factors including everything from site context to asset identification to access control restrictions and placement, are reviewed to offer a reliable reference for tall building stakeholders that wish to secure their building against a wide variety of threats.

This CTBUH Technical Guide is a product of the CTBUH Security Working Group which is composed of active professionals in the field, and aims to provide tall building architects, developers, contractors, occupiers, lighting consultants, security professionals, landscape architects and a wide variety of other tall building professionals with the resources to build a customized, step-by-step resilience plan for their respective projects that will empower them to understand, prepare for, and guard against context- and project-specific threats, with the ultimate aim of enhancing the security of the tall built environment in the most efficient and effective manner.

An output of the CTBUH Security Working Group

Authors: Sean A. Ahrens & Caroline Field
Coordinating Editor: Emily Torem
Layout: Jenny Worrell
Publisher: CTBUH, Chicago,

Price: $50