As we mentioned in our post last month about how to secure a property undergoing refurbishment, a home makeover presents the perfect opportunity to ensure a property is secured from the ground up, simply by the way it is designed.

There are various ways to integrate today’s cutting edge and standards compliant security and technology features into a property’s make-up and in doing so significantly seriously boost the level of protection offered.

In this post we are taking a look at the official UK Police initiative, ‘Secured by Design’ which combines the principles of ‘designing out crime’ with physical security measures. This post should make good reading for homeowners and landlords, but will be of equal benefit to anyone in the construction and refurbishment and property design business.

Secured by Design: The Background Story

Whist this is of course good news, the issue of security standards for non-new homes of course still remained. However, in the 2016 edition of the Secured by Design guidance for domestic properties, ALL properties have been considered.

The guidance is well worth a read as it incorporates the latest security standards which have been developed to address emerging criminal methods of attack. It includes references to the Building Regulations and other UK statutory requirements, all based on sound research findings.

What is ‘Secured by Design’?

Secured by Design (SBD) is a Police initiative supported by the Home Office designed to guide and encourage anyone involved in the specification, design and build of new homes as well as those carrying out minor or major property refurbishment – including homeowners, social housing providers and residential landlords – to adopt crime prevention measures.

The advice within the 2016 guide has been proven to reduce opportunities for criminal activity and in doing so promote safer, more secure and sustainable environments.

Who Stands to Benefit from Secured by Design?

A host of people and organisations could potentially benefit from the SBD initiative:

Homeowners: Guidance is provided regarding securing the outside area of a property and there is also detailed information with regard to physical initiatives that can be adopted within existing properties that could significantly improve security.

Landlords: If you operate in the private rented sector then you should be looking to enhance tenant satisfaction in order to promote better occupancy rates. Furthermore, reducing the potential for crime and decreasing maintenance will result in reduced headaches, and costs. Where a landlord is involved in a new development, there is guidance on how to comply with Part Q of the Building Regulations.

Social Housing Providers: SBD offers proven benefits to social housing providers, including lower maintenance costs; boosted tenant retention and satisfaction; fewer vacant periods and sustainable low crime environments.

Developers: All types and sizes of developer will be able to use SBD as a route to compliance with the section of the Building Regulations that deals with unauthorised access (Part Q: Requirement Q1) or any planning requirement.

How Does Secured by Design Work?

SBD is divided into three sections:

Section 1: Development Layout and Design

This deals with all the aspects of development layout and design that can in any way impact upon the creation of a secure, safe place to live. This will cover everything from car parking and lighting through to road layout, footpath design, dwelling boundaries and communal areas.

Section 2: Physical Home Security

This covers all physical security requirements within new or refurbished homes and provides a ‘Police Preferred Specification’ for such measures. We’ve included more information on this below.

Section 3: Additional Features

This section is related to additional features which will lead to the SBD Gold award (see below). It refers to enhanced additional / optional security measures such as external bin stores; secure bicycle storage and enhanced glazing, etc.

Grading has recently been introduced into the SBD initiative. The highest level is SBD Gold which is awarded to developments or refurbished properties that have reached a level of compliance across all of the above sections. SBD Silver and SBD Bronze follow, and the compliance levels for these are set out on page 5 of the guidance.

What is the Police Preferred Specification for Physical Security under SBD?

Section 2A of the guidance sets out the full details of the Police Preferred Specification for physical security which includes technical guidance related to new properties, those undergoing a material change of use and extensions to existing homes.

The guidance is very detailed and is split into separate areas for houses, bungalows, flats and maisonettes with dedicated access; and buildings containing multiple dwellings served by a communal entrance.

It covers the standards required for external doorsets and doorset installation; door glazing; locking systems; door limiters; caller ID systems; letter plates; windows; roof lights; conservatories; external lighting; door entry and access control and fire access and emergency doors, amongst other items. The guidance is exceptionally detailed.

What is the Process for Applying for the Secured by Design Award?

Anyone who wishes to apply for an SBD award should first read the relevant sections of the guidance document and then make contact with their local police Crime Prevention Design Adviser (CPDA), Architectural Liaison Officer (ALO) or Designing Out Crime Officer (DOCO). They will provide site specific information and guidance on the application process.

The Importance of Professional Security Advice

If you are considering renovations to your home, or are a landlord, housing provider or developer looking to incorporate Secured by Design guidance into your project with a view to an SBD award, you are going to need expert assistance from security professionals who thoroughly understand the scheme and can ensure your compliance with its requirements.

At Barry Bros Security we are able to provide this assistance, so if securing your property by design is something you are seeking to do, why not get in touch today?