building regulations for security
Image: ©Natalie Lawrence

Secured by Design explains how it is working to make Building Regulations for security easier, quicker and less burdensome

Secured by Design (SBD) works closely with UK Police Forces and a wide range of other organisations, including National and Local Government, British and European Standards authorities, the construction industry, trade associations and manufacturers, to achieve sustainable reductions in crime. This is done through design and other approaches, to enable people to live in a safer society. We offer guidance on new-build developments and major refurbishments in sectors including housing, commercial, retail, mixed-use, transport, health, education, leisure and others. We have built up a wealth of experience through active involvement in local communities – adapting our advice over the years to keep pace with changing patterns of criminal behaviour. This knowledge and practical guidance, which is provided at the planning stage before building begins, has been captured in a range of building guides, such as SBD Homes and SBD Commercial.

How SBD works

SBD has a network of police staff around the country known as Designing Out Crime Officers, Crime Prevention Design Advisors, or equivalent. They have been trained by SBD to help the construction industry raise standards in the built environment and physical security of buildings and to support Local Authorities as part of their legal requirement under Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to do all they ‘reasonably can to prevent crime and disorder’.

Our advice on the built environment could include creating safer spaces through the use of natural surveillance, landscaping, lighting, fencing, gating and other measures. In addition, we provide guidance about the physical security of buildings and would want to see the use of products, such as external doors, accessible windows, and roof lights, meet our ‘Police Preferred Specification’.

Complying with Building Regulations

Manufacturers’ products, such as doors and windows, have to pass physical tests to gain PAS 24 or equivalent to meet the requirements of Part Q (Security – Dwellings) of the Building Regulations in England. However, SBD has been a staunch campaigner for developers going one step further to achieve ’Police Preferred Specification’ status, which requires manufacturers to have independent third-party certification from a United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited organisation – requiring regular audits to ensure that product quality is maintained over time.

Academic research

Independent academic research from the University of Huddersfield shows that SBD developments that incorporate crime prevention techniques in the built environment and SBD accredited security products can reduce crimes like burglary by up to 75% in new-build homes, and by up to 63% in refurbishments than comparable non-SBD properties. All the evidence suggests that these figures are sustainable year-on-year and represent a significant reduction especially as the vast majority of SBD developments are in social housing in deprived areas. Further independent research from the University of Huddersfield has found that providing extra security at the design stage does not add significant building costs which range typically from £70-£240 for upper and ground floor apartments respectively and £170 for a 2/3bed detached house.

More security, less maintenance

Jon Cole, SBD’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “Including crime prevention design features and physical security in the built environment reduces demand on police and council resources because there is less crime and anti-social behaviour. Also, using police accredited products means they are of consistently high quality, last longer, require less maintenance, repair and replacement over time, as well as providing a long-term legacy of safer, more cohesive and desirable communities where people choose to put down roots. All of this frees up capacity, resources and budgets to be allocated to more pressing issues and concerns. SBD is self-funded and does not receive public funding – so clearly at a time of shrinking budgets, it makes sense for police forces and Local Authorities to work together to keep their communities safe,” he said.

SBD’s latest product

SBD has launched a National Building Approval scheme to make it simpler and quicker for developers and organisations commissioning building work to meet the security requirements of the Building Regulations. Once SBD has carried out due diligence on the developer’s supply chain to ensure their products meet security standards, an SBD ‘Silver Certificate’ is awarded to recognise security standards have been met. Our work with the Department for Communities and Local Government, National House Building Council, Local Authority Building Control and the Building Control Alliance means that the Silver Certificate can be used by a developer as evidence to discharge their third-party obligations under Part Q. A total of 3,453 buildings over 46 building sites in 11 of the 43 UK Police Force areas have been registered under the SBD NBA scheme since it was launched last year.

Martin Conlon, Chair of the Building Control Alliance, said: “The Building Control Alliance welcomes the introduction of Secured by Design National Building Approval and acknowledges the award as one way of demonstrating compliance with Part Q of the Building Regulations (England).”

SBD film about how we work

We have produced a film to help explain how we work. It features the 3,000 home Lendlease development Elephant Park in Elephant & Castle, Central London. Development Director, Ed Mayes, commented: “Having police staff involved in the design teams from the early stages avoided abortive work and ensured we were reducing our costs, and more importantly, leave a legacy which is truly safe for years to come.” The film was previewed at the Police Federation Conference in Birmingham in May 2017 and can be viewed via this link:

Secured by Deign film - building regulations for security
Ed Mayes, of Lendlease, being interviewed at Elephant Park for our SBD promotional film which was shown at the Police Federation Conference in May 2017


Secured by Design

Tel: 0203 8623 999



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