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Security Information

Security Overview

Increasingly the security of a building is becoming part of a standard specification and you can access an array of products and suppliers for security equipment and installation in this section. From swipe card entry and CCTV, to disabled alarms and security ironmongery, you will be able to find everything you need for your security requirements....more


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Security Explained

Security is an important feature of any modern residential, commercial or industrial building. Security has become more essential due to the ever increasing value of possessions held within most buildings, especially residential buildings. Security solutions have developed with advances in electronics to become more sophisticated.

Security measures generally fall in to the two main categories of active security solutions and passive security solutions. Active security solutions have been around for hundreds of years with locks representing a classic example. Also known as physical security measures as they provide protection to properties and possessions by offering a 'physical' deterrent. Passive security solutions, also referred to as non intrusive security solutions, tend to operate in a background capacity and do not usually provide physical barriers to potential thieves. Instead a trigger mechanism is used to activate the system. Examples include CCTV installations and burglar alarms, which can also be made more obvious to deter to potential thieves.

Physical Security

Physical security is generally regarded as the most effective form of security protection available for property and processions. One reason for this is that once installed security systems require little or no maintenance, compared to electronic devices, and can remain effective and functional for decades. Basic security solutions include door locks and padlocks, which provide a visible deterrent and physical obstacle to passers by. Traditionally locks have been manufactured from brass to provide corrosion resistance and to increase durability. Locks can be purchased from lock suppliers or Locksmiths and are manufactured in a number of forms and styles. The most common lock types are lever locks and cylinder locks, both having the added advantage of being recessed in to the woodwork of the door for added security. Lever locks can be purchased in various complexities, as the numbers of levers increase the security of the lock increases with commonplace specifications being for between 2 and 5 levers. Locks are manufactured to suit most applications, whether it is a bathroom door lock or a cabinet lock, there will be a lock to suit every application. Other door furniture, such as bolts, deadlocks and hinge pins can be fitted to most door types for extra security. Door hardware finishes range from contemporary finishes like stainless steel, with more traditional finishes of brass effect and antique black being widely available to create different effects. Installation of a safe could be considered to secure small valuable items, such as jewellery.

Other physical deterrents can be purchased to protect building weak points, such as windows and doors. A wide range of security products are on the market to satisfy both industrial and residential needs. In high crime rate areas it is worth considering the fitting of window accessories in the form of window bars or window grills, often generically known as burglar bars. These features are permanently attached to the external surface of the dwelling, over the window aperture, and may also provide window protection from projectiles, such as bricks, depending on their design and bar / mesh spacing. They are generally manufactured from steel and finished with paint or galvanised. Certain window grill designs allow the full opening of the window for ventilation, however this should be confirmed prior to purchase. Most architectural metalworkers will be able to provide an architectural metal work service for the fabrication of bespoke window grills. Where a more traditional look is desired hinged wooden window shutters could be custom made to fit each window, however they will only be effective when shut and will deny the rooms of light.

Where the appearance of conventional window bars or grills are unacceptable drop down shutters could be considered as an alternative. Drop down shutters are available in the two main formats of roller and concertina operation. Roller shutters, also known as industrial roller shutters, have been used to secure the doors and windows of industrial buildings for years. Often manufactured from steel and galvanised or finished with a plastic powder coating for durability. Roller shutters are now a popular fitment to residential windows and doors as they can be customised to fit most door shapes and sizes. Roller shutters retract to a discreet position above the window or door and can be quickly operated by electric motors. Concertina operation shutters, also known as folding shutters, can also be used to provide the same protection measures. Folding shutters used on residential buildings are typically mounted above windows and doors, and unfold to the base of the window or door. Within industrial settings industrial doors are often designed to fold back to the side of the doorway to save room. Folding shutters and roller shutters are usually produced in steel. However for retail applications, where they are to be positioned in shopping centres or behind shop frontage glass they are available in plastic and often contain perforations to allow the viewing of goods when the shop is closed. Lattice shutters, also popular within retail situations, are a form of folding shutter. They are lightweight, can be seen through with minimal obstruction and can be purchased in either metal (aluminium or steel) or plastic. Metal lattice shutters are sometimes used within external environments to provide secure removable partitions or as security doors.

Trespassers and potential thieves can be deterred and often physically stopped by security fencing, particularly where perimeter fencing is installed. Security fencing is available in many different formats with steel mesh supported by concrete or steel posts being one of the most common types. Fences are designed to be difficult to climb and are often topped with razor wire to hammer an intruder's descent. If installing a security fence it is a good idea to consider security gates. Security gates can be customised to suit their location a match existing security fences. They can be supplied in sliding and hinged formats. If no vehicular access is needed steel turnstyles can provide a secure solution for pedestrian access. Where vehicular access is a major problem and pedestrian access can be tolerated a security barrier can be used. Security barriers can be reinforced to withstand vehicular impact and can be specified in a variety of spans to suit all accesses. Bollards can also be used to block vehicular access with designs also available to withstand direct vehicular impacts. Removable bollards are a useful installation where occasional access is needed and can be purchased in telescopic form. Applications include domestic driveways and loading bays.

Temporary security solutions are often necessary on construction sites. Lockable steel storage containers provide secure storage for tools and small plant and can be hired or even purchased from a number of container companies. Temporary site fences such as hoardings can also be hired or purchased to construct a perimeter fence. Where expensive plant is to be left overnight a security guard is the most effective line of defence against theft.

Electronic Security

The field of electronic security products is large and has become increasingly diverse over recent decades. A basic and now commonplace form of electronic security system is the burglar alarm, also known as intruder alarms by many. A standard burglar alarm system uses PIR (passive infra red) sensors located within every room or only in key rooms (e.g. entrance rooms) of the building. The sensors are connected to a central control unit, used to activate and deactivate the system, which is connected to an external alarm box. Once motion is detected by the PIR sensors an electronic trigger signal is sent to the control box which then activates the burglar alarm. The central control unit is often referred to as a key pad as it contains a numbered key pad for entering the alarm activation code. The advent of wireless technology means that PIR sensors with modern alarm systems do not have to be connected to the control box with wires. More elaborate alarm systems can be connected to window sensors and door sensors, also known as gap detectors, to trigger the alarm should the forced opening of doors or windows occur. More upmarket integrated alarm systems use different sensors, such as temperature sensors, to provide the function of a smoke alarm. Innovations in home security have given rise to commercially available smoke screen security systems (smoke screen generators), capable of flooding a room with harmless disorientating smoke within fractions of a second, thus preventing burglary.

CCTV surveillance systems can prove an invaluable tool to obtain evidence against criminals. The treat of CCTV (closed circuit television) also acts as a massive deterrent and can be used to record vehicle number plates. CCTV systems can enable a single security guard keep watch over large industrial areas and town centres, which hugely reduce labour costs. If a problem is observed further security guards can be deployed to prevent crime and thefts occurring. Intelligent CCTV surveillance systems have been developed using integrated motion sensors to trigger recording and alarm systems, should an intruder be detected.

Within large commercial buildings where there is a need for enhanced security levels companies have adopted access control systems. Access control systems typically allow building access to only those possessing a swipe card or fob containing a registered data chip. Newer alternatives to data chip recognition include face detection, iris scanning and finger print scanning, all of which can be used for security access control purposes. Access control systems can also be used for pay role applications.