The security systems in the PETRONAS Towers are probably the best in the world. Using the latest technology and layered in redundant back-ups, all key components are coordinated by an intelligent building system that monitors constantly and allows for great flexibility without reducing security. The building structure employs the most advanced fire, access, communications, earthquake and wind protection systems known to engineers, and flexibility is again the key safety feature.
The building security system was developed by the Malaysian branch of the international firm Magnetic Control Systems and uses badges, pass cards, voice intercoms and photo identification systems in combination with conventional closed circuit cameras and audio alarms, proximity readers and air gates that register passing vehicles and pedestrians. Access security is also assisted by the division of the towers into public and private areas, with the floors above the 42nd floor all being private.
The fire safety system is managed by the Central Fire Command Centre in the towers where human personnel are present 24 hours a day. The computerized LAN system connects a network of smoke and heat detectors, emergency call points and sprinkler system monitors, and includes a public address system and a special fire-fighter intercom. In the event of a fire, the pressurized towers have the advantage of being able to more effectively close affected areas and expel contaminated air while allowing extra air to flow into the fireproof stairwells and elevator shafts. Water sprinkler systems are installed in all areas of the towers and all of the structural concrete is painted with fireproofing paint. The evacuation plan uses the shuttle elevators which run in special shafts with openings only at the top and bottom as a key part of the program.
The international electrical and mechanical engineering firm WSP Flack + Kurtz designed the chilled water, electric power, natural gas and telecommunications systems that serve the towers.
All of the systems were designed to maintain constant functionality using a network of redundant, parallel and looped pathways. A Central Telecommunications Office in the building manages the network of fiber optic cables that serves communication needs within the building and connects residents to external phone and web systems via multiple exchange routes and carrier providers in such a way that connectivity is always assured despite high traffic.
Although Malaysia is an area that experiences frequent seismic activity, the PETRONAS Towers are designed to be extremely earthquake resistant. In addition to lateral flexibility, the ability to bend but not break is a key feature of new earthquake resistant structures. The PETRONAS Towers sit upon friction plates that can move under pressure and the structural columns are connected with sheaths that allow movement while retarding disconnection. The reinforced concrete construction also absorbs impacts better than conventional steel beam constructions and experts theorize that the PETRONAS Towers would have been able to withstand an attack such as destroyed the World Trade Center in New York.