Decision Making – Evaluating a Building to Secure


The Zombie apocalypse has begun. The outbreak has taken over the city. Your team has managed to overcome the first hurdle – getting the team together. It’s only been a few days, so some of the utilities are still up. Electricity is out, but water is still running to a degree. But of course, this will not last either. Your team’s initial position is precarious. It’s just a one story house, but by laying low and barricading the windows and doors, your team just survived the initial panic and chaos. Most of the Zombies have worked their way outwards from your area, moving in the direction of human traffic. It’s time to find a better spot for your team.

Moving several blocks your team stumble across a building that has been abandoned. Entering the building methodically, you and your team see evidence of the horrors that had filled these corridors and rooms. There are body parts everywhere. The floor is patched with dried blood. Everything is smashed. This is an apartment of some kind. People used to live here. But this is no time for reflection. It is time to take control of what is a relatively advantageous position.

East side of building

East side of building

In this article, you will learn how to examine buildings and evaluate whether or not they are suitable as a base of operations and what kind of decision making should go into prioritizing tasks and resources.


North side of the building

North side of the building

West side of the building

West side of the building

South side of the building

South side of the building

The exterior is the first place you examine when you find a new building by virtue of it being the first thing you can see. As much as the exterior, the environment or terrain is just as important of a factor. In this case, the four man team is in an urban environment that is surrounded by Zombies heading outwards. Moving outwards is not a real option so staying put is the best thing they have. Evaluate the Pros and the Cons. Start with the Cons. Some disadvantages may be deal breakers so it makes sense to start there.


– Multiple access points on the ground floor with glass doors.
– Balconies on the 2nd floor of the east side of the building may be easy access to human threats and may be scaled by Zombies if attacked in the hundreds or thousands.
– Fire escapes on the north and south side may make it accessible to human threats.
– 2nd floor courtyard means threats can go from one wing to the other if 2nd floor is breached.
– No windows facing west or north above ground floor level.


– Three floors high with an easy to access rooftop.
– Rooftop with low brick walls allows for water catchment potential.
– South and east facing balconies and fire escapes provide some limited food growing potential.
– Roof allows for 360 degree visibility of the area.
– The split in a north and south wing of the building can make defending easier. If one falls, there’s another to fall back to.
– Building is not too close to other buildings, making risk of siege via neighboring buildings minimal.
– Fire escapes with retractable ladders means team has relatively Zombie safe access to the road to search for supplies.

Make a decision: Is the building worth taking? In this case, the group agrees it is as it is the most suitable building and nightfall is approaching in about 2 hours. There’s no time for more recon. Only one wing can be secured with a four man team. The south wing will be taken and the north wing ignored for now.


Each wing of the building only has one stairwell from the ground floor to the roof. This is good because it makes securing them from ground floor access limited. Once a building or a part of a building is chosen, take these steps in this order:

1) Do a search for any Zombies in the building. Neutralize Zombies if found. Do not engage Zombies found outside unless they move to enter the building.
2) Quickly search the ground floor for useful items. Bring them up to the first secured floor (in this case, the 2nd floor).
3) Use heavy furniture from the first and second floors to block the stairs to the second floor. Block it completely and use the heaviest furniture as possible.
4) Delegate one person to block all drainage and turn on the water in bath tubs, sinks, buckets, etc. Delegate another to find suitable containers to fill water in. Delegate another to go to the roof and provide security.
5) Have the two who were collecting water to fill found containers with water. The person not pulling security is to partially block the remaining stairs so that people can still move up and down, but can be blocked quickly if need be.
6) When done, look through the secured areas and list an inventory of items available.
7) Organize a watch schedule.
8) Building is now secure.


Now that the building is secured you are ready to settle in, rest, and formulate a plan based on what resources you have on hand.


Take a closer look at the building by downloading the file HERE. You can open it with Google Sketchup which is a free 3D program.

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