We catch up with Lyn Poole, Secured by Design development officer, to learn about building safer homes and neighbourhoods.
Here, she tells us about the official UK Police flagship initiative that combines the principles of designing out crime with physical security, the rigorous tests products are subject to, and where to find the best safety and home security advice.
SBD is a national initiative aiming to reduce crime through design.
It was created in 1989, after the housing boom from the previous decades had led to building estates quickly, and often cheaply, without consideration given to security.
Crime increased within these developments, as there were issues such as escape routes everywhere and corners facilitating hiding spots.
To change this, the Police Service launched this scheme with the goal of creating safer neighbourhoods and homes.
We work with national and local government, British and European standard authorities, as well as trade associations in the construction industry, manufacturers and other organisations focused on design.
Working with local authorities and communities, our Designing Out Crime Officers (DOCOs) provide guidance on crime prevention through environmental design.
For instance, we recommend building homes positioned with windows overlooking the street, vehicles or surrounding footpaths as it helps to maximise natural surveillance – such as your neighbours seeing unusual activity.
Similarly, railings at the front of dwellings help define a boundary, while rear fencing and robust gating restricts access to back gardens.
Working closely with architects, developers and town planners, DOCOs look into designing out crime at the drawing board stage. A number of authorities have gone as far as to introduce SBD standards as a planning requirement for new builds in the area.
In addition, we seek to improve the physical security of buildings. We award the Police Preferred Specification to products such as doors, windows and locks that are sufficiently robust to resist physical attack by casual and opportunistic burglars.
Products are assessed by the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS), an independent certification authority.
This is done through initial testing of items and regular reassessment and product audits to ensure standards are maintained over time. In other words, certification provides a formal system of checks to ensure the product is of the same quality and robust strength today as it was when first tested.
Firms whose products achieve UKAS certification can approach Secured by Design to become one of our member companies, as it means the relevant items comply with the Building Regulations as well as the safety requirements outlined by us.
The SF55 aluminium bifold doors from IDSystems are Secured by Design certified
So, when you go to our website to look for a product, you know that all the checks have been performed and that the standard is exactly as the company states it is. In many cases, these tests are far more stringent than other authorities require.
People embarking on a self build or renovation can follow the specifications from the Secured by Design Homes standard.
It incorporates the latest security standards addressing new methods of attack, as well as references to the regs. Anyone following the SBD guidance can apply for their scheme to be recognised.
The Homes guide has Bronze, Silver and Gold accreditation.
Single self builds and refurbishments, such as listed buildings and changes from offices to apartments, can achieve the Bronze award.
The other two categories are for larger developments (including bespoke ones). Silver is the physical security of the building such as the doors, windows and garage doors.
The Gold award takes all that into account but also includes the external environment, such
as landscaping, car parking, lighting, highways reducing the amount of permeability and boosting natural surveillance.
On our website you will find our Homes 2016 document – soon to be 2019, once updated – where we cover the recommended design (perimeter, fencing and gates heights) and product standards.
We also have an interactive page showing the various scenarios where design often lacks appropriate safety consideration and how to effectively change it.
More importantly, there is a list of our DOCOs, who are happy to advise members of the public over the phone.
It’s an initiative we have recently launched that looks into making building security compliance much simpler, quicker and cheaper for companies and organisations commissioning new build developments and major refurbishment schemes.
The key benefits is that SBD takes on the administrative onus of carrying out due diligence on the member company’s supply chain. This is to ensure security standards for products are compliant with Building Regulations and SBD standards.
So community self build groups, for instance, could liaise with SBD and achieve recognition – either Silver or Gold – through this route.
Fore more information and to use the interactive tools visit the Secured by Design website.