There are many reasons why boarding up your property for health, safety and security purposes may be essential. Perhaps your residence is undergoing extensive building works and you want to protect windows and doors from possible damage. Or your commercial premises may be unoccupied for a period of time and you want to prevent unwater intruders and protect your fixtures and fittings.
Regardless of the risk factor you’re trying to address, be it structural, criminal or accidental damage, the most popular options for secure boarding up in the UK use either steel or timber boards. But how do you know which is best for your requirements? Looking at the type of incident you’re trying to address is usually a good starting point.
Is your property structurally safe?
Structural damage may occur when a property is already in a state of neglect or on urgent need of repair, for example when awaiting consent for planning proposals. Environmental factors such as extreme weather conditions including flooding and high winds etc. may also lead to structural safeguarding being necessary. If a property is left unoccupied for a long period of time, minor wear and tear that is not resolved may lead to more extensive problems e.g. if a leaking pipe causes widespread water damage.
Boarding up a vacant property, especially if it is unoccupied for a long time, can help to counter the damaging effects of long term decay, such as broken windows causing weather damage to the property interior.
When structural repairs are underway, boarding up can also deter trespassers and prevent theft and minimize risks to the health and safety of those carrying out the work and those passing by the site.
In the event of structural incident both timber and steel boards can be used effectively. Solid steel barriers offer durability against extreme weather conditions and can be custom fit to secure other entry points such as garage doors. Steel screens can be installed inside a property so it’s still possible to protect your property even if there has been severe external damage.
Timber boarding offers a faster solution in the event of an emergency or to meet a short term safety or security requirement, such as misuse or illegal occupation of your land. They are ideal for both short term and temporary use.
Are you trying to protect your property from accidental damage?
Public events, processions and street parties attract visitors and encourage community spirit but may leave business and homeowners with a clean-up job if there has been any antisocial behavior or accidental damage.
A good example of when you should consider party-proofing your property is the Notting Hill Carnival. Whilst no one wants to knock this iconic festival of fun, culture and celebration, residents and commercial property owners have to deal with trespass, hazardous waste from urination and defecation and damage to their property and gardens.
Both timber and steel boarding can be installed on a temporary basis, deterring unwanted visitors and protecting windows, doors and other access points. Sitex steel security screens are also resistant to arson attack whilst and offer perforations that will still let in some light and ventilation. Other security measures such as temporary fencing can prevent unwarranted access to private driveways and gateways.
How can you crack down on criminal behaviour?
Burglars – Vacant properties are a prime target for burglars, whether it’s homes left unoccupied while the owners are on holiday or premises left empty in between tenants.
Once a thief has established that a property is empty they may often make a return visit to complete the job. If you spot any signs of a disturbance, such as a forced lock, broken bolt or damaged window, secure them immediately. Making good any wear and tear, be it deliberate or unintentional, will also ensure you don’t invalidate your property’s insurance policies.
Squatters – Squatting is a major concern for the owners of commercial premises. It is not illegal to squat in a commercial property and the process for removing unwanted visitors can be lengthy and costly. Boarding up your vacant premises can prevent squatters gaining access, not only stopping new tenants from moving in and making you money, but the cost of doing so may far outweigh the bill to remove and clean up after them. If you’re planning to shut up a property for a significant period of time solid steel screens are a highly visible deterrent and won’t allow any natural light or ventilation in which is very unappealing to squatters.
Illegal waste – Waste crime is estimated to cost the economy over £604 million a year. The Environment Agency has recently issued a warning to landlords, property managers and farmers about a growing trend which is seeing criminals using derelict buildings to store illegal waste. The bill to clear up this costly problem then lands in the hands of the landlord. The Environment Agency’s Prevention & Disruption teams are exercising new regulatory powers to lock up and block access to illegal waste sites but as a property owner you can also take protective measures. Timber boards can be quickly installed and, coupled with perimeter fencing, can prevent illegal fly tipping and unwanted occupation or trespass of the land. Anti-tamper screws protect against vandalism.
Working with the professionals
Choosing a reputable, experienced security team, means your timber and steel boards can be cut to fit and installed without leaving any lasting damage to your property. Depending on your boarding up requirements you also have the option to buy or hire timber or steel boards, which may be a consideration depending on the length of time your property will be vacant or needs securing for.