Security: creating secure, well-designed buildings
17 March 2017
Secured by Design’s National Building Approval process aims to create well-designed, secure buildings and minimise fear of crime, explains Michael Brooke
Secured by Design (SBD) is a crime prevention initiative run by the police that aims to improve the design and layout of new developments and create spaces that are attractive, well used and safe.
Supplemented with effective, appropriate levels of physical security for buildings, SBD will cause difficulty and delays for any potential offender. Independent academic research has consistently found that this approach reduces reported crime by up to 75%.
Meeting with approval
SBD's National Building Approval scheme has in recent months received considerable praise from many quarters, including housing associations, construction companies, local authorities and building control professionals.
At first seen simply as a means by which developers could gain evidence of compliance with Approved Document Q, Requirement Q1: Unauthorised access, of the Building Regulations (England), or with Building Standard 4.13 (Scotland), it now has the potential to answer many other prayers.
The traditional route to gaining SBD approval can be very time-consuming, with much form-filling, many meetings and a lot of paper-chasing to ensure that the development receives the award once it is complete.
Under the current arrangements, the award is only available at the end of the build programme – a situation that has been to the detriment of the applicant, community and police alike for the following reasons:
- the applicant remains uncertain that an award will actually be made, and worries that some unexpected costs may result from an inconsistent or alternative local approach
- the development's occupants and the surrounding community would benefit from knowing what efforts are being taken by all parties to prevent crime
- the efforts of the police, who work tirelessly to prevent both crime and the fear of crime, go almost unrecognised by others at present.
The new process is designed to alleviate all these concerns.
SBD National Building Approval deals not only with these concerns but many more. At its heart is a bespoke document, the technical schedule, which is prepared for each member. This describes how they intend to provide physical security measures and also lists their approved suppliers of doors and windows.
SBD conducts due diligence on all these suppliers to ensure that they comply both with the Building Regulations and SBD's own need for third-party certification. Once the document is complete, agreed and signed off, it becomes the template for security provision, and is acceptable to all UK police forces.
As a not-for-profit organisation, SBD's National Building Approval initiative is all about creating safe, secure buildings and environments, preventing crime and disorder and allowing the law-abiding to go about their daily business without fear
The document can be used time and time again, and on each occasion an SBD silver certificate will automatically be generated. Silver denotes that the physical security of the buildings fulfils the requirements of both the Building Regulations and SBD.
There are many benefits in issuing the certificate early, but chief among these is that it can be used as evidence to discharge third-party obligations or client requirements, and also demonstrates that security has been taken seriously by the member, thereby alleviating local fear of crime and future concerns on the part of the building users. The local police are on hand to assist members and will happily work with those who wish to obtain SBD's full gold award.
A technical schedule can be used in many different scenarios – not just new-build housing but developments of any kind, including commercial and mixed uses. Housing associations can employ this as a template for the refurbishment of existing properties or as an output specification to inform the tender process. They may choose to pass this on to their construction company as a requirement to be met, or indeed the construction company may wish to join the initiative under its own name for the sake of commercial advantage or to reap its own benefits.
Finally, there is a contract to be signed, which attracts a fee of £10 for 3 years' SBD membership.
As a not-for-profit organisation, SBD's National Building Approval initiative is all about creating safe, secure buildings and environments, preventing crime and disorder and allowing the law-abiding to go about their daily business without fear.
Michael Brooke is a development officer at Police CPI
Related competencies include:
This feature was taken from the RICS Building Control journal (February/March 2017)