09th August 2010
When embarking on the planning stage of new social housing development, there are many issues to consider to ensure future tenants are adequately provided. Alastair Henman, Managing Director of Zaun Limited, looks at security and how fencing can help create a secure environment while being aesthetically pleasing.
Housing associations are major players in building and nurturing communities, not just as developers and landlords but also through their social investment role. The requirement to create a safe and secure environment for people to live, work, and play is key. Working with experienced manufacturers and suppliers, housing associations can fulfil their commitment to providing this.
Research has shown that developing and maintaining a positive image of an area can have long term benefits by creating a sense of pride and enhancing the lifestyle of those within it. Known as the ‘broken windows theory, people obtain their cues from the environment about how well cared an area is. One broken window left unfixed leads to another, and so continues the downward spiral. Fixing that first broken window will go a long way to reinforcing a positive image.
If security measures can be subtly and positively incorporated at the early planning stages, then it is more likely that it will tick all the boxes in terms of functionality, practicality and cost-effectiveness. Initial considerations include deciphering exactly the security requirements for the facility in question: residential, commercial, or leisure.
Just as fencing can be used to secure many different buildings and open spaces, it is not a case of one fence fits all. The variety of different solutions available to specifiers is wide. It can be tailored to suit the application whilst avoiding creating a ‘fortress’, often a stereotype associated with perimeter fencing.
Whether a fencing system is installed to keep people in or out, the available products can transform a fence into a feature, contributing to that all-important positive image. Through softer lines and an injection of colour, Zaun has a diverse product range that offers the benefit of being attractive yet safe.
For communal areas such as children’s playgrounds, schools, and gardens, Bow Top Play is an attractive system that follows RoSPA guidelines to make it as safe as possible. Bow Top Play safety features include carefully spaced bars and optional self closer gates so children can play safely whilst parents are given an unhindered view.
An alternative perimeter fencing solution for schools, playgrounds, parks and shopping centres is Zariba. Combining the robust Duo8 platform and a ring top design provides an extremely durable segregation fence with a contemporary feel. Available in a variety of eye-catching colours, Zariba
can be customized with its unique lettering option designed to bring names, mottos and logos to life.
In line with improvements to building quality standards, housing associations are also looking to raise the bar when specifying security measures such as fencing systems. Instead of purely focusing on British Standards, more and more are now looking at testing procedures in line with the Loss Prevention Council (LPC) to ensure high performance and quality.
The Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) can help manufacturers like Zaun work towards the 1175 standard that provides a rigorous vetting process for security fencing. Once products are approved, they are given an internationally recognised ‘mark of trust’ and are listed within the LPCB’s ‘Red Book’ to highlight their effectiveness against security breaches such as burglary and vandalism.
At Zaun, we believe close attention to detail, high-quality manufacturing, and the ability to provide a first-class service offering, including all design and the management of installation work, are essential for providing a secure solution.
We go through extensive product testing and approvals to ensure our solutions meet the highest performance standards and conform to all the requirements, including Secured by Design (SBD). By guaranteeing national Police approval, SBD gives everyone involved in the specification process complete peace of mind that products awarded the SBD logo provide a realistic level of resistance to criminal attack.
In addition to the aesthetics of the specified fencing, another key consideration for housing associations is the environmental impact of the chosen design to ensure they are doing all they can to meet the Code for Sustainable Construction and the Code for Sustainable Homes.
As part of the code, housing associations need to consider and assess tenants preferred method of travel. If people intend to travel by bike, adequate provision must be made to ensure bikes can be parked safely and securely.
Initially developed in response to an enquiry from a headteacher, Zaun offers individual bike lockers that can be delivered and installed at an affordable price and feature tamper resistant fixings to ensure individual bikes are kept safe.
By installing these lockers and encouraging people to travel by bike, housing associations will not only be seen to be promoting a healthier lifestyle whilst reducing the number of cars on the road, but they can also achieve additional points towards the Code.
When looking at new build developments in the future, housing associations should aim to work closely with experienced manufacturers such as Zaun, who, based on their knowledge, can deliver tried and tested solutions that will secure a safe environment for years to come.