Secured by Design outlines the physical security guidance set out in Part Q and highlights why this is as important as long-established fire regulations
Security is imperative in the building process. New homes and existing buildings being converted into new homes, such as barn conversions, need to include a minimum level of security following the introduction of Part Q of the Building Regulations, which came into effect in England from 1st October 2015.
Part Q applies to easily accessible doors and windows that provide access in the following circumstances:
- Into a dwelling from outside;
- Into parts of a building containing flats from outside;
- Into a flat from the common parts of the building.
Doors and windows will meet Part Q if they can resist physical attack by a casual or opportunist burglar by being both:
- Sufficiently robust;
- Fitted with appropriate hardware.
In summary, Part Q states: “Reasonable provision must be made to resist unauthorised access to any dwelling and any part of a building from which access can be gained to a flat within that building.”
The regulation has significant implications for developers, manufacturers, and installers who are now required to have their doors, windows and roof lights tested to PAS 24 standard or equivalent.
Physical building security vs fire regulations
It also means that physical building security now carries equal weighting to the long-established fire regulations which are contained in Part B of the Building Regulation.
This is important not only for manufacturers but also Local Authority Building Control Officers and Approved Building Inspectors, who need to consider physical security and fire security together for the first time.
The fire and security regulations will most typically come together in larger developments, such as flats, particularly on doorsets which give access to a main building, such as communal doorsets, a doorset from an underground car park, an emergency exit to an outside area or a doorset onto a balcony. Both regulations also apply to student accommodation clustered into groups of bedrooms (similar to that of an apartment) where they share a front entrance doorset.
Evidence based security
SBD National Operations Manager, Jon Cole, said: “Building Control Officers and Inspectors need to take care that the doorsets they approve for flat entrance doorsets, and for any other doorsets that are required, have been tested to the same specification for both fire and security.
“It’s not acceptable to be tempted to believe that ‘If a door looks secure, it will pass’. It must be backed by evidence that proves that the door is secure. We want to work with the industry, regulators and approvers to make this transition to meeting both requirements as straightforward as possible.
“By working in partnership with various authorities, organisations and companies in this way we will be helping to avoid a situation where the consequences of getting it wrong could result in serious injuries or fatalities and cases ending up in the Courts.”
He said the best way for officers and inspectors to meet the requirements for both was to check that the specification of the product tested is the same for both fire and security.
Part Q requires that products are tested to the applicable standards, but SBD has always required certification by an independent UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited third-party certification authority in addition to testing.
Independent certification ensures that every product produced meets the same standards and includes the same specifications as the one that was tested, ensuring continuity of production and reliable quality. Certification also requires regular audits of the production process, which ensures that this level of quality is assured over time. SBD attributes the use of products that have been independently certified with the impressive reductions in burglary rates achieved since the scheme was introduced.
The ‘Scope’ on the reverse of the certification is where manufacturers would specify a range of component elements, such as the size of glazing or alternative options for locks and letterplates.
Jon Cole explained: “The Scope from a fully-certificated doorset gives the manufacturer and the Building Control Officer a lot more information. Whereas a product that has only undergone testing, is what it was at the time it was tested.”
Doorsets should meet both security and fire requirements
Manufacturers are increasingly rising to the challenge and are becoming more proficient at producing doorsets that meet both fire and security requirements and that overcome the complexities of incorporating component parts like glazing and locks, which have traditionally been produced to meet either fire or security, to satisfy both requirements.
For example, glass manufacturers have been challenged to adapt the fire-rated glass, which meets the fire regulations, to meet the new physical security standards, which they have done by developing a fire-rated laminated glass to meet both requirements.
It is the same with locks, where fire doors traditionally have single-point locking systems installed while security doors generally have multi-point locking systems. Now, for example, some single-point locking doorsets have been developed to meet the security requirements.
Jon Cole said: “Part Q has required doorset manufacturers to do a lot of work because there are so many conflicting issues, but they should be given a lot of credit for becoming proficient and producing products that meet both requirements in a relatively short time period.”
Secured by Design has been keen to avoid being prescriptive about how fire and security requirements come together.
Jon Cole explained: “We don’t specify, for example, whether it has to be single or multi-point locking. It’s up to manufacturers how they develop their products. It is their choice whether to beef up the door leaf to make it stronger and use single-point locking or whether they use their existing door leaf and reinforce it in certain places and use multi-point locking. We don’t want to say that every flat entrance doorset has to have multi-point locking if it doesn’t suit certain door materials.” This non-prescriptive position has gained SBD considerable respect within the industry.
SBD is keen to help and support Building Control Officers and Approved Building Inspectors meet the requirements of both sets of regulations, which broadly define a dwelling in the same way.
However, while Part Q requires buildings to be secure, it only covers a limited amount of technical information. Jon Cole explains: “This means in many cases Building Control Officers are left thinking ‘what if’: there is nothing about communal entrance doorsets on blocks of flats, for example, there is nothing about fire and security, there is nothing in there about bespoke timber windows.
“Yet these are all included in SBD. What SBD can provide is a wider range of ways to meet Part Q than is actually listed in Part Q. We have a wealth of expertise and experience which we are happy to share.
About Secured By Design (SBD)
SBD is a crime prevention initiative operated by the Police Service of the United Kingdom, which aims to utilise design principles and products in the built environment that reduce the risk of crime.
SBD focuses on crime prevention of homes, commercial and other premises by designing out crime and target hardening using appropriate products.
According to independent research, this combination of principles and products has been proven to achieve a reduction in crime of up to 75%. This means significant cost savings for on-going site maintenance and policing resources as well as reducing the fear of crime for residents.
SBD’s membership scheme currently includes more than 500 companies, whose products have been awarded ‘Police Preferred Specification’ status across a broad range of categories, including doors, windows, bicycle security, perimeter fencing, mobile phones, roofing products, secondary glazing and many more.
SBD’s security successes include such iconic sites as the 2012 London Olympics, Wembley Stadium and the Welsh and Scottish Assembly buildings.
SDB National Building Approval
Secured by Design
Please note: this is a commercial profile