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Home Security Doors… Do Yours Meet Minimum Protection Standards?

Can you advise me regarding home security doors? 

Burglary and theft from domestic property is a major concern for home insurance companies. Statistics show that 2/3rds of House- breakers gain entry or remove goods via the doors.

Insurers require their policyholders to maintain a minimum level of security to protect their premises, when they are unattended and even when occupied. Opportunist thieves carry out most burglaries. In 2 out of 10 burglaries, they don’t even have to use force.

To comply with the requirements of most Insurers, thief resistant locks used on external timber home security doors should be certified to BS 3621 or the equivalent European Standard EN12209 (five-lever mortise deadlocks). A rim latch cylinder lock (Yale type) on its own is not sufficient, though insurance companies will accept a rim automatic deadlock.

The selection of appropriate home security doors depends on a number of issues: –

  • The location of the property and high or low crime risk area.
  • The location and type of the door, front back or patio, wooden or glass panelled, etc.
  • The current use of additional security products, including intruder detection equipment, CCTV, etc.
  • Preference or need for minimum, medium or high security to comply with the requirements of your Home-Insurance Company.

These locks may not be suitable for modern aluminium, PVC and composite materials and new designs used in door construction. However some Non-British Standard locks designed specifically for a particular material or design, may be acceptable in consultation with your insurance company. 

Review Your Door Security Locks etc. Make sure the doors and frames are strong and in good condition. Wooden doors should be solid and at least 44mm (1 3 /4″) thick. You can make wooden doors stronger by fitting a steel strip and plates to the doorframe and around the lock.

Check that the door hinges are robust and secured with strong, long screws. For added security fit hinge bolts, they help to reinforce the hinge side of a door against force and are especially important if your door opens outwards.

Have a chain or bar fitted, and a door viewer, if you don’t have a window or other means of checking who’s at the door. Keep your doors locked even when you’re at home to prevent theft by slip in.

Glass panels on or around home security doors, are especially vulnerable as ordinary glass is easily broken. Consider replacing this with toughened or laminated glass, (two pieces of glass bonded together with a sheet of laminate). This will not shatter and delays any attempt at forced entry, a valuable deterrent.

In door security leaded windows are particularly at risk as they offer little resistance to force. Protect them by installing secondary glazing, or fit metal grills or bars. 

Patio doors are popular with burglars. A multi-lock system is recommended for patio door security, with mortise security bolts at the top and bottom of both doors and locks that prevent the doors from being lifted out of their runners.

Never hang a spare key inside the letterbox, thieves do check for this. Letterboxes should be at least 400mm (16 inches) from any locks. An internal cover plate offers additional security, as does a letter basket.

Flats and Apartments Providing your front home security door is less than 4.5 metres above ground level, the security advice given above is applicable. Statutory fire regulations dictate the level of security for flats two floors or more above ground level. The justification is that the Fire Brigade should never be hindered unreasonably in its job of rescuing trapped occupants.

These regulations specify that exit from the front/final exit door is achieved by the operation of a single action release, with a handle or thumb turn. If in any doubt, consult your local Fire Officer as well as your local police Crime Prevention Officer.

The most vulnerable part of your flat is likely to be the front door, which should be as strong as the main entry door. Fit a steel strip to the doorframe to strengthen it and fit hinge bolts that prevent the door being pulled off its hinges. Consider having a home security door telephone-entry system installed. Never automatically open the door for strangers, or hold it open for someone who is arriving when you are.

If you require further advice concerning door security locks, contact your local member of the Master Locksmiths Association. They have the skill and integrity to deal with most problems.

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