Fire in heritage buildings
The causes of fire in heritage buildings are wide. The most common causes of damage are accidental, arson, blocked or damaged chimneys, cooking, electrical faults, hot works and lightning strikes.
Security advice for listed property owners.
Gaining consent to make alterations can be challenging if the measures proposed permanently alter the fabric of the building. There are many reversible and inconspicuous measures you can take to improve the security of your listed building which balance the needs of home owners and the authorities.
When speaking to your broker about the right insurance for listed buildings, insurers may take into account your security measures.
CCTV technology has evolved rapidly from analogue to digital systems. Many systems are now equipped with a range of fixed and roaming cameras, sophisticated motion sensors and night vision to catch potential thieves.
CCTV can act as an effective deterrent however; criminals know that many CCTV cameras are unmonitored. Identifying thieves after a burglary can also be challenging, as criminals will go to great lengths to avoid being identified by covering their faces such as with caps and hoods.
When installing CCTV systems it’s important to consider purchasing remote 24/7 monitoring services that will alert you to potential security threats in real-time. Monitoring and alerting the police can be far more effective than tracing thieves after a burglary has taken place. Some systems also have an ‘audible challenge facility’ that warns intruders that they are being watched and encourages them to leave the property.
Whichever CCTV system you choose, it should be professionally designed and installed. Visit the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) and the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB), for more information and a list of approved suppliers.
Similar to CCTV systems, remotely monitored intruder alarms can help to deter thieves from targeting your property. It is also important to change alarm security codes and passwords on a regular basis. Visit the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) and the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB), for more information and a list of approved suppliers.
Good outdoor lighting can help to deter thieves by making it more difficult for them to hide. Many security lighting systems have motion sensors to detect body movements. Installing automatic interior lighting or putting your lights on a timer when you’re away from your property, can help to make your property look occupied and therefore less attractive to potential burglars.
Restricting access to your property will make it more difficult for thieves to commit a crime. Well-designed perimeter security such as walls, fences and electric security gates help to prevent people from getting onto your property. Restricting vehicular access to your property can also limit what thieves can physically remove from your property.
Secondary glazing can improve security by providing a discreet second barrier of protection to the interior of a listed property. Secondary glazing is an independent internal window, which coexists with the original windows. When designed carefully, secondary glazing can be accepted as a reversible adaptation as it can be removed later without damaging the original fabric of the building. We recommend speaking to specialist secondary glazing companies, such as Selectaglaze, which have experience working with listed properties and the heritage sector.
Specialist insurers can offer advice and expertise to help you manage security risks at your property. Insurers can offer a combination of onsite and remote risk management services to support customers including security assessments and advice, alongside broader property protection and building valuation services.
Specialist private security specialists can also provide independent security reviews to assess the potential security risks at your listed building and provide advice and guidance. Experts such as Blackstone Consultancy, provide individuals and companies with bespoke, discreet and vigilant security arrangements. Blackstone Consultancy survey homes, ranging from country estates to apartments, to help improve and upgrade existing security features.
When the worst happens, it’s important to report the crime quickly. Historic England in partnership with Country Eye has made reporting heritage property crime, which includes crimes against listed buildings, quick and easy with a free app. The Heritage Watch app can be used to report a crime which is then viewed by a dedicated team of volunteers who will let the relevant authorities know. However, if it is an emergency or a crime in progress please report the issue by calling 999. Visit www.heritagewatch.co.uk for more information and to download the app.
If you decide to carry out alterations to improve the security of your listed building, you will require listed building consent through your local authority. Please speak with your insurance broker to find out more about the insurance implications when making security upgrades to your listed property.