With break-ins still a concern for home owners across the UK, a new addition to the Buildings Regulations, Approved Document Q, has been implemented. The introduction of security standards for doors and windows is great news for buyers of new builds but it also highlights the need for stronger security in homes throughout the UK.
According to Approved Document Q, all doors and windows must be made to a design which has passed security testing, including a cylinder and hardware attack test, and all must comply with British and European security standards. While new build buyers can be safe in the knowledge that their homes meet these requirements, it’s also vital that current homeowners take action to bring their existing properties up to a similar standard of security.
Dr Steffan George, Development Director of The Master Locksmiths Association says that even before thinking about entry points, there are exterior elements that may not have been considered, yet some simple alterations to the outside of a home can make it far less appealing to a thief.
“Try to view the property as a thief might,” says Steffan. “The exterior is the first aspect they will consider when choosing a property to attack. Ensure there are no easy hiding spots, such as oversized bushes and trees, check fences and gates are in good condition – strong and unbreakable – as they could, and should, put a would-be-thief off.”
Other exterior deterrents which should decrease break-ins include a working alarm system with a visible alarm box to the exterior, outdoor lighting and a visible CCTV camera. What thieves can see through windows is also important – having valuables, such as a laptop, left in sight is another common cause for break-ins. Ensuring that a light is left on a timer (in particular upstairs), and perhaps a radio on gives the thief the impression someone is home.
“Finally, the entry points must be as fool-proof as possible,” says Steffan. “Ensure all windows, especially those which are easily accessible or on the ground floor, have secure locks.”
Something many forget but which is equally as important is to check the condition of the windows and doors themselves. Weak fences, a worn-out door or lock could be tell-tale signs that a house is falling short in the security-stakes. If the lock is old or the door frame is cracked, it may be much easier for a thief to gain access.