Want to reduce crime and improve whole-life performance of components? Secured by Design standards can offer a win–win option

The Secured by Design initiative is a strategic solution to improve crime prevention. Local authorities have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to prevent crime and disorder under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

Many councils now include the Secured by Design standard in their Urban Design guidance, and the National Housing Federation recommends Secured by Design as a standard requirement for regeneration developments.

The standard for new homes includes the key components of entrance, back, side and garage doors; windows; security lighting and intruder alarms. Specifying these provides improved resistance to burglary.

Higher initial costs …

First impressions of Secured by Design components might raise fears over:

  • Higher initial component costs due to enhanced levels of robustness
  • Higher whole-house costs for extras such as intruder alarms and additional locks over and above a standard specification
  • There is also the increased maintenance costs associated with servicing these additional locks and intruder alarms.
… against lower lifecycle costs

A little reflection on the broader cost implication of crime reduction and component quality may lead to the conclusion that whole-life costs will be lower for the following reasons.

  • Reduction of costs associated with crime. Research evidence suggests that Secured by Design schemes reduce burglary and criminal damage typically by 40%, and more than 80% in some estates. The average cost of a burglary is £2300
  • Insurance costs may be reduced
  • Secured by Design components last longer as they tend to be more robust than standard products.
An informed decision

When considering Secured by Design options, a cost-benefit analysis based on comprehensive whole-life performance will help specifiers make an informed decision. Although Secured by Design offers many cost benefits, other standards exist if higher levels of security are needed. Secured by Design is not a standard intended to address durability issues.

Door assemblies

Standard door specifications typically rely on the contractor buying the component parts separately and fitting on site. There is always a risk of component substitution, which may increase lifecycle costs because of more frequent repair and maintenance. The solution is to specify Secured by Design door assemblies as the doorset is tested as a whole. These must meet the general performance requirements of PAS 23-1 or PAS 24-1 if enhanced levels of performance are needed.

Tests on doors adhering to the PAS criteria confirm that the door remains operational after assaults such as the attempted forcing of a shut door, vertical loads on an open door, slamming, closure against obstructions, abusive forces on handles, soft and hard impact and a cyclical test of 50,000 full locking, opening and closing operations representing 22 years of simulated use.

For even higher levels of security the Loss Prevention Standard LPS 1175 may be specified. Six security ratings are defined. Doors that meet the highest rating have been tested for resistance to professional attack using power tools and cutting blow torches.

Window assemblies

To receive Secured by Design accreditation, windows must meet the security standard BS 7950:1997 and should be used in vulnerable areas. To ensure windows are weathertight and will operate satisfactorily, ensure they also meet the relevant standard for the frame material used. These are:

  • Aluminium windows to BS 4873:1986
  • PVCu windows to BS 7412: 2002
  • Timber windows to BS 644 or BWF timber accreditation scheme
  • Steel windows to BS 6510:1984.
For information on durability characteristics consult the Building LifePlans BLP Construction Durability Database. This provides a ranking value that can be used for lifecycle cost assessments.

Further information

Help about Secured by Design and associated components is available from the Association of Chief Police Officers at www.securedbydesign.com. Information about the Loss Prevention Standard LPS 1175 may be found at www.brecertification.co.uk.

Building Performance Group has an established whole-life cost appraisal and assessment process with an expert software tool to enable decision-making based on lifecycle costs, payback and cost-benefit analysis.

Durability information is available on the Building LifePlans building component durability database at www.componentlife.com. For further information contact Peter Mayer at Building Performance Group on 020-7583 9502 or at p.mayer@BPG-uk.com.

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