A recent survey carried out by the Fire Protection Association found that fire, theft and malicious damage to empty buildings costs the country more than £100 million every year.

The recent economic downturn has led to an increase in the number of abandoned buildings, whilst landlords are faced with the prospect of their properties being left empty due to a lack of renters.

In addition, the trend for stealing fixtures from empty buildings is on the increase as items such as copper roofing, plumbing, boilers and electric cables are being targeted.

The average unoccupied building is chock full of valuable building fixtures like these and if left unprotected it’s likely to become a target for thieves and vandals.

Protect your Building, Protect Yourself

The owner of any building is responsible for ensuring the correct insurance is put in place to afford them protection in the event of a fire, break in, theft or other damage being caused.

When insurance is first set up, it’s essential to find out what types of security measure you need to put in place in order for the policy you choose to be valid.

For example some insurers will require all doors to be fitted with deadlocks, depending on the type of building, or will request that hatches or upper level windows are fitted with locked metal grilles. If you need to make an insurance claim and it’s discovered you did not have the agreed security measures in place, it could make your claim void.

It’s also a good idea to find out whether you can take steps to reduce the amount of insurance you pay by increasing the security provision you have. In some cases insurers will offer a better deal if you have secure perimeter fencing, metal grilles across doors and windows or metal roller shutters to protect large openings.

They may also offer perks for those who install CCTV on the premises as this can act as a strong deterrent to potential thieves. However, it’s worth noting that in most cases CCTV evidence cannot be used in court.

To properly protect your property and get the best insurance premiums, provide your building with the highest possible level of security:

  • Use grilles or mesh over windows and fit an alarm system. If possible incorporate perimeter fencing such as palisade fencing, which is practically impenetrable.
  • Perimeter fencing will also make it difficult for thieves to reach areas where valuable items can be found such as the roof.
  • Make sure you let thieves know your building is protected with signage.
  • Use anti climb spikes or barbed wire on fence tops and roofs.
  • Paint fixtures and downpipes with anti-vandal paint.
  • Mark the joints and underside of metal roofing, copper piping and so on with a forensic compound that shows up in ultra violet light.
  • Fit window locks or screw shut windows.
  • Use close shackle padlocks or mortice deadlocks on doors.
  • Quickly repair or board any broken windows.
  • Fit perimeter fencing where possible.
  • Seal letter boxes and accessible windows.

For more information or helpful advice on securing a building, occupied or otherwise, please get in touch with us here