Securing Empty Premises

Securing Empty Premises

With the UK’s furlough scheme being extended into October, many companies are continuing to work remotely where possible. As a result, their regular working premises will be left empty much longer than they probably anticipated. While cyber and data security are top of the agenda, particularly for remote workers, the physical security of buildings must not be forgotten. Vandalism and burglary remain very real threats.

Below we outline key things to consider when evaluating your company’s physical security strategy.

Maintaining quality

Conducting regular maintenance is essential, especially while premises are left empty, as any issues are unlikely to be identified in a timely manner.

Regularly inspect your fencing for disrepair or damage as this can compromise the perimeter’s integrity. Alternatively, choosing high quality galvanised and preferably powder coated steel fencing with a 25-year guarantee will last longer and offer greater protection against rust and corrosion.

Inspecting the fence line may seem obvious and straightforward, but it needs to be a deliberate, scheduled event. From our experience that’s rarely the case. According to research we recently conducted, 63% of companies admit to never testing physical security.

The perimeter needs to be checked on both sides. Look for attempted breaches and note if foliage, weather conditions or topography changes have affected security integrity. Check all fixtures and fittings, looking for damage and corrosion, and clear all litter and debris.

Long term value

Poorly executed design or cheap, low quality products can lead to costly, long-term remediation or worse, significant loss to the business. Specify solutions based on your organisation’s security needs, rather than its bottom line.

While generic steel palisade is a popular option, owing to its intimidating aesthetic, it is easily compromised. It’s a common misconception that it offers an adequate perimeter security solution and has inherent weaknesses that belie its capability. Its wide pales can hamper surveillance, while the bolted construction is a security risk. Simply removing or breaking the lower fixing on one or two pales would allow them to swing aside to give repeated access to the site without leaving an easily visible sign that the perimeter had been breached.

It’s a false economy, as the initial lower price is offset by the costs and inconvenience incurred by regular repairs. Specifying a higher quality product that’s fit for purpose makes more sense both in the short and long term, adding little to the original cost.

Fortunately, there are a number of security accreditations that facilities managers can refer to when specifying security measures at their site, helping them choose solutions commensurate to the risks they face.

Proven performance

Certifications and approvals, such as The Loss Prevention Certification Board’s (LPCB) LPS 1175 and the British Standards Institution’s (BSI) PAS, prove a product has been thoroughly tested to a specific standard. They demonstrate the item’s strength and durability in various situations. Investing in effective perimeter protection can actually deliver a positive return by reducing the incidence of burglary and vandalism, and their associated costs.

LPCB conducts extremely thorough technical evaluation work and rigorous quality audit processes to ensure the security products tested by BRE deliver proven levels of protection. All LPS 1175 rated products are vigorously tested before receiving an accreditation. The recently revised standard defines a new performance classification system, recognising the increasingly diverse relationship between the tools that a hostile actor might use and attack times.

By predicting a likely toolset, specifiers can construct multiple defensive layers to maximise how much time a facility has to respond to an attack. Different levels of security are crucial for the ‘5D defence’ concept, whereby a quintet of security assets work together to prevent access to your site, resulting in a strategy that will:

  • Deter – Dissuade potential intruders from making attempts to breach
  • Detect – Make it easier to detect intruders
  • Deny – Refuse entry to a site, or its most sensitive areas
  • Delay – Maximise the time your security team has to respond to a breach
  • Defend – The innermost ring of security which leads to successfully apprehending intruders

360° security

There is no single solution when it comes to securing a building. Every situation must be considered on an individual basis, starting with a full risk assessment.

We recommend an integrated approach where appropriate. Along with a secure perimeter, this might also include effective lighting in shaded areas and at doors, gates and vulnerable windows, Perimeter Intrusion Detection Systems (PIDS) and well-placed CCTV. These measures can hinder entry and escape, or increase the chance of discovery and detection.


Securing Empty Premises