Charles Hallatt, Chairman of Banham, gives us advice on designing out crime…
Q. When planning a house renovation, at what stage should the security company become involved?
A. The earlier the better, if you are able to involve a security company at the start of the build you should take their advice to help design out crime. Where wiring is required, getting a security company in as early as possible to liaise with your builders and advise of cabling routes will ensure decoration and aesthetics will not have to be compromised for security.
Q. What type of locks are available?
A. There are locks available for most security applications and the important thing is to ensure the lock meets your needs, whether it be for your doors or your windows. You should consider insurance approval and fire regulations where applicable. Many insurance companies require a dead lock with at least five levers to be installed on the final exit door. We would suggest fitting locks that comply with British Standard: BS3621 as these locks will have been put under vigorous testing and are of a higher quality. Another desirable factor to look for in a lock, is a registered patented key option. By having registered keys the householder can be confident that keys cannot be copied without their permission. At Banham, we run a robust key registration system and our keys are protected by patents, which sets us aside from other key registration systems. There are electronic locking systems on the market, the best of these use biometric technology such as finger print or retina recognition to control access, but on the whole these systems are not recognised by the insurance industry yet for final exit doors of residential properties but can complement physical locks.
Q. Why is it important to have monitored alarms?
A. An alarm system provides rapid notification that a crime is in progress, and unfortunately you cannot always rely on your neighbours or passers-by to react appropriately on hearing an alarm ringing. A monitored system will alert an alarm receiving centre (ARC) that is a manned facility, staffed 24 hours a day to specifically react to alarm activations. Once the ARC has received notification that an alarm has activated the trained alarm controllers will initiate a set protocol, this usually includes calling the premises to establish whether the activation was accidental and where appropriate offering assistance and calling the police, emergency services and/or dedicated keyholders for response. Monitored alarms can also be used to alert the ARC to a fire and if coupled with monitored CCTV, ARC controllers can verify alarm activations with visual verification too.
Q. When should home owners consider fire alarms?
A. The majority of home owners only opt for a fire alarm when there are external influences from agencies such as building control or insurance companies. In reality all residential properties would benefit from some form of fire detection and if home owners do not want to install a full fire alarm system, basic fire detection can be integrated with your intruder alarm system. Early detection of a fire can mean the difference between life and death. Home owners should also consider carbon monoxide detectors as part of their detection systems as well as connecting it to a monitoring centre providing piece of mind. Banham offer a full range of fire detection, from fire detectors, to fully monitored Insurance approved and graded systems. We also offer equipment such as extinguishers and fire blankets and can regularly check and service that. It is always recommended to have a fully competent Company install your fire alarm to ensure it meets required standards and the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) and BAFE are regulatory bodies you should look to for such companies.
Q. Where is the best place to hide a safe in a home?
A. Ideally a safe should be sited away from prying eyes, there is no need to hide a safe from a security point of view but they do however have to be bolted to the fabric of the building. The main consideration when siting a safe is practicality, the safe must be readily accessible, many valuable items have been stolen because the owner failed to put them in the safe due to the fact that the safe was in an inaccessible position.
It is imperative that you choose the correct type of safe – safes are graded based on their resistance to attack and therefore you should always seek expert advice on the model selection needed for your requirements. There is a wide range of safes from very simple key operated devices right up to high technology keyless units using digital and fingerprint technology. Insurance requirements should always be taken into account as cash and jewellery ratings will determine what safe you should install.
Q. What is the best type of window lock?
A. To comply with insurance requirements a window lock must be key operated and should ensure the lock is designed for the construction of the window. We would always advise for one of our surveyors to initially visit your property and assess the windows to ensure the correct locks are fitted.
Q. What additional security can you provide for high value UK properties?
A. There is no one solution to home security as each property and homeowners’ requirements will be different. For our clients with high value properties, we would look to design a bespoke security system specifically for their needs. One of our security consultants would look at the property holistically, considering its position in the road, where it sits in relation to its neighbours, its inherent weaknesses and provide solutions that best meet the client’s needs. Monitored CCTV systems with IP cameras offer the highest quality images and ensure your property is being watched 24 hours a day. A security door and frame rather than a standard door will offer an extra defence against attack and Banham can install made-to measure wooden doors lined with a hidden steel sheet to any design. We can install strong rooms or panic rooms as well as luxury safes that can be designed bespoke to include luxury items such as watch winders, gold handles and, made to the finish of your choice. In addition, we can also offer security services such as guards and keyguard response where our fleet of SIA approved and trained guards will be dispatched to check on your property in the event of an alarm or deliver your keys if you are locked out.
Q. What are your most important security tips?
A. Most people see security as a grudge purchase and all too often are put off buying it until after they become a victim of crime. Eighty eight years of experience also tells us that people become complacent and fail to use the security measures they have in place, often citing that they are too busy, or they ‘only popped out for a minute’. Criminals exploit these moments of weakness and most burglaries are opportunistic!
Even if you have a high level of security for your property you should review it periodically as technologies change, as do personal situations. If you are proactive rather than reactive, you will be less likely to become a victim of crime.
Banham Security can advise on all aspects of security from the fundamentals such as the type of glazing, lighting, both ambient and reactive, right through to physical security measures and high-technology electronic systems such as integrated intruder alarms and CCTV.
For other companies that provide security products and services visit TheHouseDirectory.com