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  • Writer's pictureSam Wilks

Optimizing Security Through Exterior Building Design: A Comprehensive Checklist





In addressing the complexities of building security, special attention must be directed towards the design and access control of exterior components. This focus is paramount, as the outer shell serves as the first line of defence against intrusions.


External Doors:

The selection and design of external doors are critical elements. The choice of a final exit door, its style, and the materials used—whether glass, wood, or steel—must be scrutinised for strength and durability. The door frames should complement this robustness, ensuring they cannot be easily compromised. Additionally, door hinges should be designed to prevent removal from the outside, and a minimal number of entrances should be maintained to enhance security effectiveness. Specifically, fire doors need securing, and any tools or ladders that could provide unintended access should be kept secure, perhaps in locked garages, storerooms, or sheds.


Lighting and Hardware:

Proper lighting over entrances is essential, not only for visibility but also as a deterrent to unauthorised entry. The selection of locks and other hardware should prioritise high-security options, with a preference for steel in doors and frames. It is advisable to eliminate exterior hardware on egress doors to minimise points of vulnerability.


Building Line and Architectural Considerations:

In order to prevent intruders from taking advantage of hidden entrances, the building line configuration must permit clear lines of vision. Any architectural defects that could impact security should be addressed promptly. The roof, often overlooked, should be secured against unauthorised access, including securing skylights and adjusting the pitch angle to discourage scaling. External pipes should be either flush with the building or concealed to prevent them from being used as climbing aids.


False Ceilings and Service Entrances:

Access to and through false ceilings must be controlled to prevent them from being used as pathways for intruders. Service entrances present particular challenges; they should include secured service hatches, ventilation ducts, air vents, and service elevators. Any openings larger than 12 inches should have grills to prevent unauthorised entry.


The exterior access checklist for building design is a foundational element in a comprehensive security strategy. Each point of entry, whether intended for regular use or utility purposes, must be designed with a critical eye towards deterring and resisting unauthorised access. By fortifying these external facets, the building not only enhances its security but also its resilience against potential threats, ensuring a safer environment for its occupants.


From the author.



The opinions and statements are those of Sam Wilks and do not necessarily represent whom Sam Consults or contracts to. Sam Wilks is a skilled and experienced Security Consultant with almost 3 decades of expertise in the fields of Real estate, Security, and the hospitality/gaming industry. His knowledge and practical experience have made him a valuable asset to many organizations looking to enhance their security measures and provide a safe and secure environment for their clients and staff.

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