Secured By Design Accreditation – Two sides to every story

As with everything in life, including a good Mills and Boon novel, one should always consider both aspects of the tale being told.  For all the wild passion of a roll in the hayloft there is the inevitable heartache when the ‘love of my life’ reveals their troubled past.  Well that is enough of a glimpse into my holiday reading so lets get back to the case in point.

Secured By Design is of course an invaluable and hugely sensible set of criteria that not only help improve the safety of the built environment but provide a benchmark for the quality of products used in construction.  There is no way you could argue that either of these things are anything but good practice.

What I will argue however is that the detail, in particular in relation to my own area of interest (aluminium glazing systems) can in some cases be less than adequate to provide a decision regarding compliance. It is not all bad, for example windows to ground and first floor or areas that are accessible can be easily identified and the security ratings required are clearly set out, even with the recent changes to bring testing in line with PAS 24:2012. And to be fair the majority of aluminium glazing system companies have products that comply with these security standards making it easy for designers to specify a workable solution that can come within budget and be delivered on time, criteria that come in second only to security on a developers list.

Not all areas of the SBD requirements are as clear cut and a good example of this would be main entrance doors. For our part at AluK we have a single door that has gained SBD accreditation on a number of schemes with either a manual multipoint locking system or with electric strike locking that can be linked to access control and/or the building management system. As I’m sure you will appreciate single entrance doors account for only a fraction of entrance does being specified by building designers, others include double doors, sliding doors, revolving doors, doors with sidelights, 3m high doors, multiple mid rails, bespoke furniture.  Coupled with these different types of doors they also have to perform a variety of different functions such as fire escape, disability access, remote controlled access and all the time meeting the security requirements of SBD. As you can see the amount of variation makes the job of classification and accreditation less than simple.

The issue is further compounded by different areas having individual Crime Prevention Design Advisor’s who are responsible for signing off the SBD accreditation for a scheme.  While all the CPDA’s I have come into contact with have been well versed in the regulations and reasonable in their approach human nature dictates that different interpretations of the standards can occur. Having said that where there is the potential for human error there is also the opportunity for common sense and compromise and I would rather see an CPDA making a decision than just a tick box compliance document.

My main bug bear however is one of development of our aluminium door systems and the regulations keeping pace with our R & D department. We currently have single and double swing doors, thermally and non-thermally broken waiting to be tested to SBD standards with manual, electric strike and panic bar gearing locking systems. All we are waiting for is someone to tell us what standard to test to!

Despite starting this by saying there are two sides to every story it may seem as if I am firmly on one side of the fence.  While I do take issue with some of the SBD inaccuracies I actually think it is a great set of standards and what I would really like is it fully developed in all the areas it covers.

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