Home Office report says provision for terrorist-proof measures could be made part of a design review

Cabe-style design reviews could be carried out on new buildings to rate how well-protected they would be against a terrorist attack.

The move is one of a range of measures on the table after a review of protective security was drawn up by Home Office minister Lord West.

The report will not be released to the public as it could compromise homeland security.

If strategic guidance is not followed, then provision for security measures could be made a part of a design review to ensure buildings are “terrorist-proof”.

RIBA chief executive Richard Hastilow said: “I don’t that is excluded, but I can’t answer for the government. At the moment the emphasis is on guidance, but you can’t rule anything out.”

The RIBA played a key role in advising the government how to train architects to protect buildings from the design stage onwards.

A series of initiatives has been launched as a result. The most radical of these is a series of three-hour multimedia simulations of terrorist attacks, which architects will be invited to attend from January.

Run by RIBA and the police, the workshops – known as Project Argus – will examine how crowds react to terrorist attacks, and will “stimulate creative thinking” according to Hastilow.

He said: “We want to engage architects, planners and engineers. These multidisciplinary workshops will make them aware of the importance of these issues so that we can design out terrorism much as we aim to design out crime.”

But Cabe said designing counter-terrorism measures into buildings must not result in a “fortress aesthetic”.

Adrian Harvey, Cabe head of public affairs, said: “The Ministry of Defence was retrofitted to withstand a plane crashing into it and does so invisibly. But the security measures at the US embassy have turned Grosvenor Square into an impassable concrete block. Planners and architects should rise to the creative challenge of factoring security into the design process.”