Exclusive: Specifying the correct doorset solution

November 12, 2021

Alfie Hosker, Technical Manager for Secured by Design outlines the importance of choosing the right doorset.

Physical security is an essential consideration when protecting against a range of threats and vulnerabilities within the built environment, from burglary through to things such as terrorism and organised crime. Incorporating appropriate physical security measures such as security doors into buildings and developments can either prevent an attack or reduce potential damage and injuries should an incident occur.

Interviews that have been conducted with criminals suggest that they take security into account when deciding on a property to target. The 2018 study ‘Burglars take on crime prevention through environmental design’ consisted of interviews with 22 prolific burglars who were asked to look at 16 images of residential housing and to describe what would attract them to specific houses when selecting targets for burglary. The images were taken in a variety of locations and consisted of a mix of old and new properties, from private and social housing.

In the interviews, all offenders made reference to quality of physical security being a primary determinant in deciding whether to burgle a property. This thought process is also true of an adversary planning to carry out acts of terrorism.

Other research, such as that cited in The Economic Journal in 2011, found that when legislation in The Netherlands enforced the use of ‘burglar proof’ doors and windows in all newly built homes from 1999 onwards, the burglary rate in newly-built homes reduced by 26%.

Things to consider

Doorsets form a critical part of physical security and are normally required to be able to carry out a number of duties. These can range from controlling access and preventing unauthorised admittance, providing a barrier to delay and restrict the movement of a criminal or attacker or to work in association with another security system to form a more thorough integrated security solution; other performance requirements of a doorset can include protection from fire, smoke and/or to provide a means of an escape in the event of an emergency.

However, when planning the installation of any physical security measure, it is vital that both safety and emergency responses are taken into account. It is essential that, from the outset, consideration is given to what the building is going to be used for operationally and what the doorset function requirement is – for example, is it simply security or are there other performance requirements? This is particularly important at the beginning of a new build project or refurbishment.

There is also the need for an in-depth understanding of the security threat; a thorough, well developed risk assessment should be carried out to determine what types of incidents the door needs to mitigate against and what its performance requirements are. Is it to mitigate against a surreptitious entry, whereby the attacker tries to infiltrate access through the door leaving no trace that is has been compromised? Is it to mitigate against a blast? Or is it to mitigate against manual forced entry by a criminal using tools and who pays no heed to any damage to the door whilst attempting to force entry? Is the doorset in a restaurant, retail premise, a venue within the night-time economy or another building that needs protecting from a particular threat or identified risk?

A significant consideration recently has been Marauding Terrorist Attacks (MTAS), whereby an attacker may attempt to force entry to a building as part of the attack. Further information on this can be found through the CPNI (Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure) as they have introduced a new standard that focusses on this type of attack.

It is essential too that all features are taken into account when specifying a doorset. One such consideration would be glazing; a significant number of injuries are caused by flying glass. This can be via objects being deliberately thrown at or through a glazed doorset or, in more extreme circumstances, by a blast. Obviously, this factor is an essential consideration in locations where large numbers of people are going to congregate or gather. When a premises is assessed as being at significant risk to the effects of blast from a terrorist attack, blast resistant glazing or anti shatter film will be required to mitigate the risk of death or injury from the effects of flying glass.

Working to make a difference

Secured by Design is currently working across a number of sectors to improve the security of not only new build residential and commercial developments, but schemes where high physical security requirements are needed within a commercial or retail environment.

From a Secured by Design perspective, the focus is on the critical factors that combine to deliver a product’s performance – design, use, quality control and the ability to deter or prevent crime. It is therefore required that products are successfully tested and fully certified by an independent third-party, United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) certification body, or tested and certified by an approved body such as Sold Secure or Thatcham. Secured by Design requires regular re-testing and annual inspection of the manufacturing facility to ensure quality and performance are maintained. This provides assurance that products have been produced under a controlled manufacturing environment in accordance with the specifier’s aims and minimises misrepresentation of the products by unscrupulous manufacturers/suppliers.

Organisations such as the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB), Warrington Fire, British Standards Institution (BSI) and BM Trada have the relevant expertise and specialist skills to formally test products to a particular security standard required to ensure that it actually does what it is supposed to. Examples of such standards, which can provide higher levels of security protection include LPS1175 and STS202. At the lower end this includes the products being attacked with a set of hand tools. The higher rated products are tested with equipment that includes a range of high-powered tools, with test time being increased dramatically, which they must pass in order to be successfully certified to a particular rating. This gives the specifier comfort that the product does what it says on the tin, with the correct product being specified for the assessed risk.

If a doorset is to be upgraded or refurbished it is important to take into consideration that these additional or replacement components may have a detrimental effect on the performance of the doorset. When making any changes to a doorset it is essential that expert, qualified advice is sought so that the effectiveness of the doorset is not inadvertently compromised.

A strong layer of security

If improvements are to be made to a door then it is also essential that the components replaced are specification-led. For example, the lock or handle which is being replaced must meet a recognised security standard like TS007 or higher where applicable.

An excellent example of security doors being utilised to mitigate a threat is in the Metropolitan Police’s Youth and Community Centre Security Scheme, which has seen four youth clubs – one in Haringey, one in Westminster and two in Lambeth – receive physical improvements to security features to help reduce violent crime in and around these facilities. Whilst the installation of heavy duty doors helps mitigate violent attacks, they also allow staff to remotely lock and unlock the doors to prevent passers-by entering the venue freely. Further funding has been secured indefinitely to ensure more youth clubs and community centres across London can also benefit from similar security overhauls.

Physical security is best achieved by layering a number of measures; this is sometimes, referred to as ‘defence-in-depth’. The notion is based on the belief that should one line of defence be breached, the additional layers of security can assist in deterring, delaying and detecting the criminal/hostile threat from encroaching further into a building. Examples of this could be things such as alarm systems, CCTV systems, fogging systems or security rated walling, roofing and glazing. All of these measures can create a precious amount of time for a suitable response to the threat, be this a police response, a security guard team response or simply allowing time to escape or hide, depending on the nature of the incident.

To find out more information, visit: www.securedbydesign.com

This article was originally published in the November edition of Security Journal UK. To get your FREE digital copy, visit: digital.securityjournaluk.com

Read Next

Security Journal UK

Subscribe Now

£99.99 for each year
No payment items has been selected yet