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Burj Khalifa no tall order for security solutions expert

Cite Magazine
Online exclusive

Perth may be an isolated city, but that hasn’t stopped CCD Alliance Director Kerran Campbell from designing security solutions for some of the planet’s most recognisable structures.

Kerran Campbell

From 2002 to 2005, Campbell designed security solutions for well-known projects in Dubai including the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, Dubai International Airport and The Dubai Mall, which at 1.124 million square metres is one of the largest malls in the world in terms of total area.

Being given the chance to work in a city known for its incredible architecture and futuristic vision was extraordinary, says Campbell.

“I had the opportunity to work with some incredibly talented architects and engineers, as well as some of the world’s largest building contractors on projects that a consultant from Perth could only dream about,” he explains.

While Campbell can’t reveal specifics, he is able to disclose that his work on the Burj Khalifa was designed to protect the building from all types of threats from terrorism, cyber attacks and general criminal threats.

“People think that good security is all about having cameras in the right places, but you can’t computerise security,” he stresses.

“There are three parts to good security: management, physical security and technology. Technology and physical security are the easy bits. Management is actually the key, because you can have the best locking solutions in the world, but people tend to forget to lock the doors.

“The challenge is that every country has a different approach to management, but that is the intangible factor that makes security interesting.”

The Dubai Skyline

The Burj Khalifa rising above the Dubai skyline (photo: ventdusud/

Over the past 40 years, Campbell has worked on projects all around the world, including tall buildings, art galleries, airports, educational facilities, medical facilities, jails and bullion repositories, allowing him to meet a variety of clients. His recent work on towers in Poland and Malaysia, and hotels in Pakistan came from contacts he made in Dubai.

“My wife used to say my preferred address was Seat 1A on the City of Canberra,” he jokes.

“People just call up or email us with these types of jobs. It’s a very nice position to be in. We don’t chase much work; most of our international work just comes to us.”

Campbell admits the position is due to the fact he was one of the first professional engineers in Australia to adopt security engineering as a discipline.

Beginning his career in the early 1960s, Campbell studied electrical engineering at Perth Technical College, which became the Western Australian Institute of Technology (WAIT) by the time he graduated. While Campbell studied in the city, he journeyed to the Bentley Campus, where, as a public works department electrical draftsman, he worked on some of WAIT’s first buildings, including the early Hayman Hall, cafeteria, administration building, architecture building and library.

After graduating in 1971, the company Campbell worked for was commissioned by the state government to conduct not only the electrical and lighting design, but also the security for the new Art Gallery of Western Australia. It was during this time, when Campbell undertook a paid research trip to study the security of the state art galleries of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, that he decided to become a security solutions expert.

Now, at 71-years-old, Campbell is not ready to give up his job just yet.

“My objective is to work until I’m 80,” Campbell says.

“I still want a few months off in a year to caravan around and spend time on my boat, but I love what I do. I have friends who are working well into their 80s and they’re still taking part in specialist work, so why can’t I?”

Graduate snapshot

Name: Kerran Campbell

Studied: Associateship in Electrical Engineering at Perth Technical College/ Western Australian Institute of Technology

Graduated: 1971