In a maturing market, legislation forms the backbone of the building industry, and rightly so. Meeting standards is about more than compliance; it’s leading the way, choosing assurance over nominal cost savings, and most importantly, providing safe and quality housing.
Meeting Secured by Design
For several years, easily accessible doorsets (those on entrances to buildings or individual apartments) have been built around the PAS 24:2012 standard, which was needed if projects using them wanted to be recognised by the Secured by Design (SBD) scheme.
However, as of 1st October 2018, PAS 24:2016 (the updated version of the PAS 24:2012 standard) became a requirement within all new or refurbished developments that need to achieve SBD, and for products (such as doorsets) specified for SBD.
There are many parts to this, but one of the most significant – and one that social housing providers need to pay close attention to – are the standards surrounding the letter plate. As well as being affordable, reliable and visually appealing, these small but vital components must now be TS008:2015 accredited.
If any project is started after this date and doesn’t use TS008 letter plates on its doorsets, it will fail any attempt to achieve SBD. The only exceptions to this are for projects that had already been submitted for SBD sometime before midnight on September 30th 2018 and are considered to be sitting in the pipeline before the new standards were applied.
What does TS008 accreditation mean?
The TS008 technical specification was developed by the Door & Hardware Federation (DHF) and covers “enhanced security and general requirements for letter plate assemblies and slide-through boxes”. Its main purpose is evaluating how the letter plate performs against opportunist attacks from burglars and other criminals, though it also assesses its resistance to corrosion, water and fire.
The two types of attack tested on the letter plate are: Manipulation: The letter plate needs to prevent attackers from being able to reach through the door and access any locks or mechanisms mounted to the inside Fishing: The letter plate needs to prevent attackers from reaching and retrieving a small object set up on a table 90cm away from the door. This is designed to replicate thieves attempting to use a rod to ‘fish’ car keys from hooks and tables inside a property.
The importance of SBD
The Secured by Design (SBD) scheme was launched 19 years ago. It started out as a group of national police projects focusing on minimum security specifications for the design and security of new and refurbished homes, as well as commercial premises and car parks, and over the years has grown to encompass more and more of the standards needed to keep a building secure.
If a project is recognised by SBD, it has shown that it meets all these standards. As such, it has become an important part of quality assurance for social housing providers and is referenced in UK Building Regulations.
Increasingly, the SBD marque isn’t just recognised within the building industry, but the general public is becoming more aware of its importance too.
How effective is SBD?
It’s worth noting that SBD isn’t designed to turn every building into a fortress, but rather prevent the opportunistic attacks that make up the majority of burglaries.
Studies have shown that SBD-recognised developments are up to 75% less likely to be burgled and show a reduction of 25% in criminal damage, while the Association of British Insurers estimates that introducing SBD across the UK would save the economy more than £3.2bn over the course of 20 years.
Getting ready for new standards
Adapting to new standards can sometimes be difficult and costly. However, there’s no reason why the latest requirement to meet SBD should impose a heavy burden on any social housing provider that properly prepares for it.
In fact, the British Standards Institute (BSI) notes that: “the amended PAS 24 contains a number of improvements on the original text”. These include simplified test standards that make the assessment more user-friendly, which actually works in favour of industry, as well as the new guidelines for letter plates.
The advancing standards also ensure that schemes like SBD remain trustworthy and respected, which benefits all landlords and associations that strive to meet the level of quality they demand. Ultimately, clarity and uniformity across best practice will inevitably save costs in the long-term.
In order to keep up with these standards, providers must make sure they use products that not only meet the requirements but are also affordable and reliable.
For example, The Yale Postmaster Professional TS008 letter plate is proof that increased standards doesn’t always mean increased costs. It is designed to meet every requirement in the updated PAS 24 standard and will fit on any PAS 24-accredited door and is the most rigorously tested TS008 product on the market and comes from a brand that is trusted to produce fully compliant doorset components.
Opting for products such as the Yale Postmaster Professional TS008 letter plate ensures that doorsets will meet the new PAS 24 standard, allowing social housing providers to ensure they achieve SBD across all residences in order to continue to provide safe and quality housing to the nation.