Advice on types of physical security to reduce the risk of a break in
Lock Types and Standards
There are many forms of locks and related British, European and other security test standards. Hardfacts 3018 - Locks and Lock Standards provides further information.
Door Security - General
There are a number of factors that contribute to good door security, e.g.:-Condition - Doors and frames should be in good condition, of good fit, well secured to the building structure and any gaps around the frames filled with mortar or frame sealant (to conceal the frame fixings).
Any glazing needs to be well secured i.e. no loose or perished putty/beading.
Construction - Timber doors should be of external grade, i.e. a minimum thickness of 45mm (1 ¾ '') with hardwood generally stronger than softwood. For PVCu or metal doors, especially if glazed, the manufacturer's intended use should be observed.
Weaker doors, or specific areas of them, can be improved by adding secondary steel sheet facings/linings, or steel bars, grilles or mesh.
Door Hanging - Inward opening doors are less resistant to being kicked/barged open than outward opening ones, but can be improved by fitting a second lock or internal bolts or drop in braces. Outward opening doors can be made more resistant to hinge tampering by fitting two hinge bolts.
Glazing - If any installed glazing is toughened glass (despite its name, a safety not security material) security can be improved, and still meet safety requirements, by replacing it with laminated glass. Hardfacts 3006 - Security Glazing and 5024 - Glazing in the Workplace provide further information.
Key Action Steps
• Review current physical security at your premises, including any outbuildings.
• Check whether any insurer MSR's apply; and if so that you either do comply, or that you have their agreement for any alternative arrangements.
• Source security devices from competent suppliers/locksmiths, e.g. MLA members.
• Review security after any break in.
Door Security - Locking
Locks typically used on entry/exit doors vary according to the door type, e.g.:-
Hinged single leaf doors - Usually locked by:-
• Timber doors - a 5 lever mortice deadlock with boxed striking plate, or rim cylinder deadlock, in either case certified as meeting BS 3621. Note. Treat ‘stable type' doors as two separate doors.
• Metal frame doors - a pin cylinder operated mortice swing (MS) lock. Note. Security can be improved by fitting a reinforced striking plate in the hollow frame and a cylinder ‘rose' to prevent a wrench being used to grip and twist the cylinder.
• PVCu doors - a 5 pin cylinder lock, securing a system of moving boltwork having at least 3 locking points.
• All Types - a padlock; but choose a type with a closed shackle securing a heavy-duty staple with externally non-removable fixings, and ideally certified to a security standard, e.g. CEN Grade 4 or above.
Hinged double doors - Usually locked by:-
• The 1st leaf being secured at top and bottom by rebate bolts or robust surface fitted bolts (key lockable if adjacent to glazing).
• The 2nd leaf as a hinged single leaf door.
Sliding doors - Usually locked by either a mortice or cylinder ‘hook' or ‘claw' lock, cylinder lock and moving bolts or a padlock. Patio style doors should have an anti lift device in the top rail and may benefit from a key operated patio door lock at the base of the centre rail.
Roller shutter/panel doors - Usually locked by padlocking the internal operating chain in place, or fitting cylinder lock pin bolts through the side runners. Any wicket gate should be treated as a hinged single leaf door.
Doors not used for entry/exit purposes - Unless used as emergency exit doors, see below, these doors should be locked as above or by lesser locks supplemented by internal bolts (key lockable if adjacent to any glazing), padlocks or drop in braces, etc.
Emergency exit doors - These doors are often relatively weak. Subject to strict controls to ensure unlocking at all times when the premises are in use, extra visible security devices, e.g. bolts, or secondary protection (see below) may be appropriate. If in doubt seek advice from the fire brigade or your insurers, and record any such measures in your fire risk assessment.
There are a couple of factors that contribute to good window security, e.g.:-
Condition and Glazing - The points previously mentioned for doors apply to windows.
Locks - Accessible opening windows should be fitted with key lockable handles or retro-fitted window locks. Larger windows (an opening edge greater than 1m long) can be improved by fitting a second lock. Windows not required to open may be screwed shut.
Secondary Door/Window Protection
Where existing doors or windows cannot be readily improved/replaced, the fitting of a secondary barrier may be appropriate, e.g.:-
For doors - Consider internal or external lockable steel bar/mesh gates, roller shutters, or internal collapsible (folding) steel grilles.
For windows - Consider internal or external steel bars, fixed or removable steel mesh grilles, roller shutters, or internal collapsible (folding) or roller grilles.
Many security devices are suitable for DIY selection/fitting, but if in any doubt seek the advice or services of a competent contractor.
Security is dependant upon proper use, so:-
• All doors and windows should be locked whenever premises are left unattended, and in homes when the occupants retire to bed at night. (Keep keys close at hand in case emergency exit is required).
• Don't leave spare keys under mats, etc.
• Don't label keys with your address.
• Where premises are open to the public, don't leave unlocked padlocks or keys to doors/windows in their locks or otherwise unattended.
• After locking up, don't leave keys in locks or within sight or reach of glazing.
Insurers Minimum Security Requirements
When insurance is sought against theft it may be conditional upon the premises providing a certain level of physical security, often termed ‘Minimum Security Requirements' (MSR's).
MSR's tend to concentrate on the fitting and use of common locks on typical doors and windows. They vary according to the insurer, type of property, e.g. domestic/commercial or the type of insurance contract.
Sources of Further Information
Other Hardfacts in the Property Protection - Security series available from our Knowledge Store www.aviva.co.uk/risksolutions