Getting properties secured is becoming a bigger issue, with potential issues from people wandering around to serious break-ins. And unfortunately people often don’t realise this until it’s too late, and you then have an insurance claim or repair to then resolve.
It’s then that the penny drops. It’s going to take more than a few keys and alarm codes to make sure things are secured correctly.
Plus you then have the possibility of actually making the property over secure. This may sound crazy, but it can be so well done that it and begins restricting others being able to suitably use the property.
This may affect others linked to the property, including authorised visitors and contractors like cleaners, but also any other people needing access. A classic one is a fire emergency exit, so on one side you may need to secure a door so that no one can enter the property but on the other side enable anyone easily leave the property in the event of an emergency evacuation.
Therefore here are a few top tips to get you thinking. These are from various different angles to mull over - in reality you do often need a good hard think through as to what the right solution is.
Ideally this security process is alongside others like occupiers, contractors, and risk assessors so you note all related issues and then begin talking through the best outcome. Without this thought process and brainstorming, a knee-jerk reaction can emerge afterwards to then end up being the wrong one, and therefore cost money and hassle to resolve afterwards.
So here goes, some tips on getting the right security at your property:
1. Fire & Power Quick Releases
In the focus on getting a building secure you can start coming up with all kinds of security measures on doors and barriers, from locks and digi-codes, to automated access control systems, to actual physical barriers.
All good and well for stopping people getting into the property, but not necessarily good for those trying to leave the property in an emergency.
Therefore make sure things can be overridden, or accommodated for elsewhere, for people to leave in the event of a fire or power-cut. This might be handles and keys to manually operate, or ensuring access control systems automatically unlock when, say, the fire alarm is operated.
2. The No-Lock Scenarios
In an effort to get doors automatically closing and locking, whether through self-closers to stop fire spreading, or just stopping people mistakenly leaving doors open and unlocked, watch out for when this can cause issues for genuine scenarios.
So quickly taking the rubbish out or going out for a smoke without taking your key could mean you literally get locked out of the building. As well as people’s frustration, they can begin sloppy measures like propping open the door with a fire extinguisher.
Therefore try and reduce this happening; communicate to people any risk, and consider back-up plans to get back in, for example spare keys locked outside.
3. Copies of Keys
When it comes to keys and any other fobs or access arrangements, make sure you have spare ones kicking around. These might be with other people, or even on site somewhere.
And note any special arrangements for getting these copied as well.
4. Logging the Details
When you do have the right keys and other things like fobs, make sure they’re correctly and safely logged.
These needs to be safe, correctly noted who has copies of them, and any extra information noted like alarm codes and the actual property address.
However, check this information with any risk assessment or even insurers, as they may try and deter all the information of a property on one key bunch in case they get mistakenly lost or stolen, and someone can easily gain full access to the property.
5. Non-Key Alternatives
Keys are the classic way to access a property, but think of others as well.
Digi-codes can be helpful as an easier way to install and circulate the code to people. Although the code can get circulated to others, you can always just re-issue the codes and re-circulate.
6. Internal Access & Security
Once you’re inside the property, don’t forget any internal doors and areas that need security, whether separate rooms and floors or storage and riser cupboards.
As above, they may need varying methods of security, not just bog-standard keys, and watch out for mistakes like mortice locks and holes in doors that then affect their integrity as a fire door.
7. Tradesman’s Buzzers
You often see these next to main doors in communal properties like communal doors, the idea being that anyone can override the lock by pressing a button between certain work-day hours. The idea is for a tradesman contractor to easily have access during the day, although they are often more helpful nowadays for online deliveries arriving directly at people’s home or workplace.
It’s important to bottom out if these are even needed, and if so the right time frames and procedures for changing.
8. External Gates & Barriers
This is a whole area in itself with resources here on it, suffice to say it needs thinking about. Having access within a property may all be well, but controlling who first arrives to site can be another thing altogether.
You might also need these linked to the property, so ways for visitors to call the property for access when first entering the site, which nowadays can be through wireless technology and straight through to people’s or business’ phones rather than needing new cables and intercoms.
9. CCTV Coverage & Monitoring
Another classic security measure is CCTV camera coverage to try and catch people in the act who shouldn’t be there.
In addition to the obvious issues of cost and how to install, make sure you correctly deal with the data protection issues of managing these.
Also, they tend to work best trying to catch people after an event rather than first stop them, although having these and signs on show can be a form of deterrent.
10. An Emergency Procedure
When you have everything all set-up, make sure everything is correctly documented and communicated.
There may be data-protection issues to consider as above, and requirements through, say, building insurers and involving other interests like managing agents and contractors.
And make sure a clear back-up procedure is in place for emergencies, including who to contact, what to do, and any individual lone worker and property issues.
Securing Your Property, Harnessing Your Fears
Therefore whatever situation you’re in, take a good step back and begin drilling down into what the security issues really are at your property. Involve others in this dialogue so you can begin whittling down the options to ones that everyone agrees with.
Some will be quick-and-easy wins, whether a simple lock change or new procedures, whereas others will need more planning and resources. But even if this does take time, having a realistic plan is half the battle to make everyone happy that things are getting secure.
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