Jacksons Fencing, UK perimeter security manufacturer and specialist, has released insights into architects’ views on security design, from its report ‘Setting the Standard for Security’.
The report highlights the need for more thorough security awareness and education within the architectural sector, whether through degrees or equivalent programmes, or CPD courses. While some of the responsibility for this lies with industry leaders, the findings also suggest certification bodies have a role to play. Just 15% of architects say they have a thorough knowledge of physical security design, with the majority admitting to a limited or poor understanding.
Over half (59%) of architects say consideration of physical security belongs at the beginning of or throughout the design process, which is conducive to an integrated approach. There is still room for improvement, however; almost one in ten (9%) say security is not a consideration during the design process at all.
Despite 65% of architects having had training on designing physically secure buildings and sites, almost half (46%) admit to having a limited or poor knowledge of security design. While degrees, certifications and CPD courses may include security design, professionals might not be applying their learning on the job consistently enough to improve or even maintain their understanding.
At the same time, a third (34%) have had no training whatsoever in physical security design, suggesting that physical security isn’t seen as a priority in training programmes. This knowledge gap could be a barrier to thorough integration of security in architectural design, and a reason why physical security is often a victim budget constraints.
Limited knowledge is further evidenced by architects’ familiarity with independent security standards. When asked if they knew of some of the leading physical security standards such as LPS 1175, PAS/IWA and Secured by Design, 30% said they hadn’t heard of any of them. The most well-known certification was LPS 1175, though less than one third (29%) of architects were familiar with it.
Cris Francis, security consultant at Jacksons, commented: “Architects play a key role in ensuring security is integrated into building design. Our report reveals a concerning knowledge gap. There’s an opportunity here for manufacturers to help educate architects on certified products. By doing so, they could help contribute not only to public safety, but to a real and much needed shift in thinking around risk management.”
Jacksons also collected the views of physical security decision-makers within UK businesses, and found that 31% of companies have a reactive or passive approach to security, identifying and reviewing risks only after major incidents. A further one in ten (10%) have an indifferent approach, never prioritising risk assessments, suggesting that throughout the building lifecycle, from planning through to maintenance, security does not seem to be considered a priority.
Passive and indifferent attitudes also seem to be reflected in the design phase, where 76% of architects say that budget constraints lead to downgrading specifications with physical security, implying that the lessons from Grenfell around corner cutting have not been put into practice.
Security from the start
When designed with security in mind, buildings can help reduce crime rates by up to 67%. It is encouraging that the majority (59%) of architects agree that physical security should be considered at the beginning or throughout design. There are still a fifth (21%) of architects, however, who say security consultants aren’t brought in until near the end of the design process or after it is already complete. A further 5% say consultants are not involved at any stage.
Security design needs a systematic approach, which is reiterated by 61% of architects. 19% do not yet take this approach, but more than half of those would like to, indicating a willingness to put more effort into incorporating security into architectural design.
As part of the report, Erika Gemmell, director at AJ100 firm Scott Brownrigg, commented: “Security and high-quality building design ideally would be intrinsically linked, just as with sustainability measures over the past 15 years, creating an integrated aesthetic solution. In the past we’ve been very reactionary. This is starting to change, however, by designing security from concept, offering a much better solution.”
Cris added: “The combination of budgetary restrictions and a passive approach poses a threat to UK security. Architects are by no means solely responsible. Experts need to work with security consultants, government and the private sector to move risk management up the design agenda to ensure the safety of the UK going into the future.”
The report, ‘Setting the Standard for Security’, is available on Jacksons Fencing’s website: https://www.jacksons-security.co.uk/