Keeping properties secure

Fitting a simple metal plate to a door has stopped homeless people from entering and sleeping in communal areas at a London apartment block looked after by Principle Estate Management.

The leading estate management company has highlighted the case as a prime example of how regularly maintained mechanics, simple fixes and clear communications can help keep properties secure.

Andrew Winstanley, property operations manager at Principle, said: “Our customers quite rightly expect to feel secure in their homes at all times, and the main entrance doors to the communal areas are their first line of defence.

“Sometimes we encounter challenging security problems that require some analysis and creative thinking to resolve, often with a simple but effective solution.

“In this case, homeless people were regularly sleeping in the communal areas of a high-end development in central London, which was causing a lot of concern for residents.

“The intruders were accessing the building by sliding a card or something similar to force open the door catch.

“By quickly assessing the issue and fitting a metal plate to the door jamb, we stopped this with a simple, cheap and effective solution.”

Mr Winstanley described another security issue at a converted warehouse development in central Manchester where a heavy entrance door failed to latch consistently, leaving the building exposed.

He said: “In this case, we identified that an automated actuator was the most effective solution and after obtaining planning permission, as this was a listed building, this was installed.”

Meanwhile, at a property Principle looks after in Birmingham city centre, residents and visitors had been regularly using an emergency door release when exiting the building, leaving the building insecure and resulting in call-out fees to reset the system.

Mr Winstanley said: “We solved this problem by installing simple signage directing residents to an exit button for the automatic door which wasn’t initially obvious.”

He explained that all three examples showed how effective it can be for property management teams to make quick site assessments and introduce what can often be simple solutions.

Mr Winstanley said: “There are so many examples of how regular and high-quality inspections can make life easier and more secure for everyone concerned.

“Another more general need is to regularly change codes on entry door keypads. Yes, this brings with it a certain degree of inconvenience, but it massively improves security, especially if there is a large turnover of occupiers.”

He added: “In short, simple fixes are sometimes the most effective security solutions, along with clear communication and direction to residents on how to access and exit their buildings.

“On top of this, the specific mechanics of any building must be fit for purpose and regularly maintained, and in this context it’s important to keep normal hydraulic or spring door closers and latches well maintained to ensure they all work properly.

“Further, in case of people gaining access to the communal areas, it is also essential to ensure that all services cupboards within communal areas are always securely locked.”

Launched in 2018, Principle has since grown from what was virtually a one-man band into what is now more than 30 staff looking after a portfolio of more than 7,000 units in 250-plus developments across the UK.


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Media contact

Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, Showhome Magazine

Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922

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