Keeping period properties secure can be a tricky business for a variety of reasons, especially as you don’t want to damage any of their period features. It’s vital to keep up to date with security measures, not only for your peace of mind but also to ensure lower insurance premiums, and to remember that tailor-made solutions are key.
According to Justin Freeman, technical manager at The Master Locksmiths Association: “There are many things to consider in order to protect a period property, and it can often prove difficult to ensure your security system is just right. Period properties will most likely have traditional doors, which may be impossible to ‘retro-certify’ to meet the level of security necessary today.
“However, there are methods available to improve and maintain safety. It is advisable that external doors have British Standard five lever mortice locks or use a Sold Secure Diamond Approved cylinder; the best thing to do is to contact your local MLA-approved locksmith, who can provide you with an in-depth and customised analysis. They may also be able to restore some of the old locks on the property while adding additional modern security in an unobtrusive manner to make sure your insurance is valid.
“Ensure that ground floor and any other accessible windows have key operated locks fitted, and a period-style glazed front door can be protected by affixing a gate or grill and using the door itself as a secondary security measure. For any of these sorts of modifications however, it’s vital to check whether planning permission is required and whether the property is listed. Also don’t forget about any outbuildings, especially if attached to the property with an internal door as this can be used to gain entry to your home.
“The number of conceivable scenarios regarding the security of bespoke period features is too great and extreme care needs to be taken when dealing with such features. You may want to consider installing panic buttons in strategic places, for example in your bedroom or next to the front door. It would also be a good idea to integrate your intruder alarm with a smoke alarm, which would then be linked to both a central monitor system and your local fire station for quick responses in case of an emergency.
“You could consider investing in an under floor safe for your valuables, as period housing can be targeted by thieves expecting to find high value. It is also a good idea to mark your valuables with an ultra-violet pen, and keep a photographic catalogue of your items.
“A safety measure often overlooked in period properties is the assessment of old electrical wiring systems. A common cause of fires in period properties is faulty wiring, so do ensure you hire a qualified electrician to check your house every five years to keep your property safe. It’s also crucial to know the worth of your property. Do have an evaluation of your home and keep records in either a fire-proof safe or away from the property itself.
“Naturally, CCTV is a fantastic tool for keeping your property secure, but again with a period property you’ll need to check whether there are any restrictions on what can be placed on external walls, and also take into account the recent advice from Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe about ensuring cameras are able to capture facial images.
There are many systems available, and remote access programmes allow you to monitor your property from anywhere in the world via your tablet or smartphone but professional installation is vital. This is ideal when you are away on holiday; other things to remember if you’re going away include joining a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme and asking a trusted friend to call in regularly.
If you decide to fit additional security for added peace of mind, external motion sensor lighting and indoor light timers that give the impression someone is inside can be very useful. Make sure that they are of good quality and bear in mind that spending on security features now could save you a lot of money in the long run.
For more information go online at: www.locksmiths.co.uk. Security guidelines for domestic properties can also be downloaded free of charge from http://www.locksmiths.co.uk/security-advice/security-guidelines-for-domestic-dwellings/.