13 Feb 2018

Crime prevention in new builds: getting it right first time

Safety and security are key considerations when building your own home, says Secured by Design (SBD), the national police crime prevention initiative, which works closely with police forces around the country.

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By fitting products which are sufficiently robust to resist physical attack from opportunistic burglars, you will not only make your home far less likely to become a target of burglary but also reduce your maintenance costs.

Products such as external doorsets, garage doorsets, windows and rooflights, have to pass physical tests to gain PAS 24 or equivalent in order to meet the requirements of Part Q (Security – Dwellings) of the Building Regulations in England.

However, SBD’s Police Preferred Specification accreditation goes beyond the one-off testing required by the Building Regulations. We believe our award has contributed to significant reductions in burglary in the tens of thousands of homes designed and built to SBD crime prevention standards.

Police Preferred Specification accreditation

Companies that want their security products to be SBD accredited have to receive certification from a UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited independent third-party certification authority. This requires regular production audits and retesting. The aim is to ensure that product quality standards are maintained over time and are current to the present day – as opposed to products that may have been tested only once many years ago. SBD has accredited more than 600 SBD companies in relation to their doors, windows, locks and many other security products. Using any of the products (all listed on our website) ensures Building Regulation compliance for security. We are the only way for companies to obtain police accreditation in the UK.

Academic research into the success of SBD techniques

Independent academic research from the Secure Societies Institute at the University of Huddersfield shows that SBD developments can reduce crimes like burglary year-on-year by up to 75% in new-build homes. SBD developments consider crime prevention techniques in the built environment, such as layout and landscaping, as well as the physical security of buildings, utilising SBD-accredited products to achieve such aims. In addition, the University of Huddersfield has found that providing extra security at the design stage does not add significantly to building costs, which range typically from £170 for a two- to three-bed detached house to £200 for a four-bed detached house.

Our crime prevention advice

We advise that crime prevention measures incorporated into the design of a new home include having accessible doors and windows to SBD-accredited standards. These include the doors and windows to the main residence, garage and conservatory as well as any outbuildings used as an office.

Main residences should have front doors with a spyhole and door chain. Letterbox security can be enhanced with internal cowls to prevent ‘fishing’ through the letterbox. Video doorbells with smart technology will enable you to see who is on the doorstep even if you are not at home. Dusk-to-dawn external lighting, CCTV and alarms would provide added security.

Outside, we suggest front walls or hedges are no higher than 1m to increase the view of your home from the street to avoid hiding places, and you may want to consider a gravel driveway so you can hear approaching vehicles and pedestrians. At the rear of the property, boundary fences of 1.8m can be topped with trellis of 0.3m to make climbing difficult; and defensive planting like pyracantha and climbing roses also help to discourage access. Sheds should have at least two quality and sturdy locks and ladders should ideally be locked away in sheds or garages.

SBD Development Officer, Emma Snow, says:

“Anyone building their own home will want to make it as safe and secure as possible, without turning it into a fortress. Look at your property from the perspective of a potential burglar and spot weaknesses. Then address those issues through good design and product choice.

“It’s all about getting it right first time at the planning stage using SBD-accredited products to give you peace of mind in terms of security. Fitting quality products will also help your money go further and reduce your long-term repair and maintenance costs.

“Getting it wrong could involve expensive retrofitting to replace inadequate products, which may have a detrimental effect on the overall look and feel of your home,” continues Emma.

VELFAC

Composite glazing specialist, VELFAC, is an SBD-accredited company, which designs and manufactures composite windows and doors. VELFAC composite frames combine external aluminium with internal pine to deliver excellent thermal and acoustic performance, and impressive security.

VELFAC Director, Andy Trewick, says: “To meet SBD standards, our windows can resist the attempts of a professional expert, using a ‘burglar’s toolkit’, to gain forced entry in under three minutes. Our SBD-tested doors can also withstand more serious attempts to buckle or deform the door or frame.

“Security is ‘built-in’ to the composite frame construction. Glazing beads – the parts holding the glass in the frame – are fitted internally, making it impossible to remove the glass from the outside. Our SBD-tested external hinged glazed doors all feature six-point locking systems, and we offer a range of additional hardware to our windows – such as lockable handles or restrictors. Speak to us to ensure the correct specification of SBD-accredited products.”

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