Keeping on top of security risks

Security is always a hot topic, but with new tighter Building Regulations for windows it is at the top of the agenda for architects looking to specify rooflights as well as for manufacturers. ADF reports.

With new Part Q requirements making security an even hotter topic for architects currently, rooflight manufacturers are being asked to back up their marketing statements with accreditations that meet increasingly stringent regulations.

Approved Document Q is a recent addition to the Building Regulations which is tightening the focus on security performance of doors and windows. The new regulation states that easily accessible rooflights within 2 m vertically of an accessible level, balcony or flat or sloping roof, or within 3.5 m of ground level, must comply with British Standard PAS 24:2012.

Rooflights, depending on their type and position on a building, can be vulnerable to attack from intruders as a point of entry. British Standard PAS 24:2012 requires easily accessible rooflights to be sufficiently robust and fitted with

appropriate hardware in order to withstand a physical attack.

Secured by Design

As well as regulations and standards, another key driver is Secured by Design, a national police initiative established for over 20 years and designed to help support the Government’s crime prevention programme in homes across the UK. The scheme, which is owned and run by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), aims to ‘design out’ crime through the use of high quality, innovative products and processes. Research into the scheme’s effectiveness has shown a 75 per cent reduction in crime in new build properties.

Considering effectiveness of security is essential when selecting rooflights in vulnerable positions on a building or in areas with particularly high crime rates. Products endorsed by Secured by Design must be tested and certified by a UKAS-approved body. Rooflights which adhere to the Secured by Design standard LPS 1175 Issue 7:2010 (as well as other standards) are accepted as compliant within  PAS 24:2012.

This Part Q compliant test standard is a specification for testing and classifying the burglary resistance of building components, strong-points and security enclosures and offers a high level of security protection.

When specifying a rooflight that meets Secured by Design status, there are many different factors that should be considered, such as the value of goods or information with the building, how the loss of these items would affect the business or the home in which the rooflights are installed.

Secured by Design rooflights that meet the SR2 accreditation have been subject to testing using hand tools such as hammers and chisels for a period of up to 15 minutes. Those that are SR3-accredited have been tested to withstand up to 20 minutes of attack from battery operated power tools as well as the hand tools used in the SR2 testing.

Historic preservation

In 2010 the Rooflight Company manufactured 10 Secured by Design rooflights for The Keep, a new-build research centre in Falmer, east Sussex that holds important historical documentation. By combining the security rooflights with a glazing which shields the documents from harmful sunlight, the files contained in the centre will be safe for many years to come.

Due to the vulnerable nature of the content held within the building, the architect wanted to specify rooflights which would provide maximum security to the building. Kier, the main contractor on the project, comments further: “We worked with the manufacturer for over two years on this project and they were able to meet the specific brief of high security rooflights required. They offered a rooflight solution which matched the particularly demanding security level that was needed for the building.”

Secure banking

More recently, an order worth in excess of £100,000 has been dispatched to a European bank. A total of 33 Secured by Design rooflights were specified in order to satisfy the requirement for a high level of security for what is a highly sensitive building, and rooflights compliant to the LPS 1172 Issue 7 SR2 level of security were required.

Commercial director of the Rooflight Company Kester Harvey comments:

“Thanks to our investment in R&D we are able to provide a unique level of reassurance to our clients. With a long track record of providing roof windows in Europe and further afield, we can meet the needs of clients where design excellence and quality are of paramount importance.”