Securing Unoccupied Premises

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Securing Unoccupied PremisesHere we look at the control measures for the security of premises – we examine fire protection, health and safety as well as property protection services.

Premises security

As a minimum, secure external doors with locks to BS 3621: Specification for Thief Resistant Locks or equivalent standard, or padlocks to Security Grade 5 or 6 of BS EN 12320: Building Hardware – padlocks and padlock fittings

Protect vulnerable windows by boarding with minimum 18mm thick exterior grade plywood, shutters or proprietary steel or polymer screens

Maintain perimeter security fencing

Existing intruder alarms should remain in service and be maintained. Where there is no alarm, consideration should be given to a temporary alarm system specifically designed for use in unoccupied buildings

Maintain any external security lighting

Existing remotely monitored CCTV protection should remain in service. Alternatively, a temporary CCTV system may be a cost-effective solution if visual evidence of activities at an empty building is required. The provision of manned guarding services by a Security Industry Authority approved contractor is an alternative

Fire protection

Existing automatic fire alarms should be retained in service and be maintained

Retain use of any private fire main or sprinkler system where practicable but subject to maintaining the temperature within all buildings above 4oC to prevent frost damage. If this is not feasible, sprinklers and fire mains should be isolated and drained down and Insurers informed

Health & safety

Unoccupied premises can present hazards to authorised visitors and to trespassers. It is essential a risk assessment is carried out and that appropriate safety precautions are taken, such as:

  • Securing the building and where necessary the site perimeter, especially against access by children
  • Providing suitable warning notices regarding specific dangers, such as fragile roofs, structural defects, isolated services and contamination
  • Strictly controlling guard dogs in accordance with the Guard Dogs Act
  • Providing barriers around dangerous and unsafe areas
  • On-going compliance with fire safety legislation

Property protection services

There are companies that offer specialist services including site clearance, physical security (including boarding up), monitored alarms, alarm response, manned guarding and property inspection. These services can provide a cost effective one-stop solution to vacant property protection needs.