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All About Steel Security Screens and Steel Sheet

All About Steel Security Screens and Steel Sheet
All About Steel Security Screens and Steel Sheet

While we’re not in the business of alarmist statistics, we know that the facts speak for themselves. 

In the previous 12 months, figures from the 2022 Commercial Victimisation Survey show from show that an estimated 28% of business premises experienced some sort of crime, with 9% of this percentage being victims of burglary and vandalism, and 3% subjected to robbery and vehicle-related theft.

Your commercial property, if left vacant – even for a relatively short period – is a compelling prospect to burglars, intruders and squatters. Highly compelling, in fact. Whether it’s offices, shops, warehouses, factories or any other type of business, commercial properties can be good news for criminals.

Why exactly?

A key reason is that thieves know and understand the value of copper pipes, for example (in fact, we’ve already written about this: link ), aluminium (heating and air conditioning systems), and in lead flashing from roofs, particularly in older properties. Equally, it almost goes without saying that this type of harvesting can cause extensive damage.

Plus, there is an ever-present risk of arson, general criminal activity, wilful damage and inhabitation by squatters.

To mount a robust, forceful defence, Clearway offers a range of highly effective services for powerful physical and visual deterrents to anyone considering your building as an accessible option.

However, we’re narrowing our focus here.

This article concerns steel screens and steel sheets – a practical commentary on how and why they could meet your needs.

First, some facts that may surprise you:

The Most Common Entry Points for Burglars Are…

…Not necessarily the ones you may think.

You may think that the front of a property is a lower risk. It’s more visible, yes? The problems lie with the hidden points at the back, or perhaps even a scalable fence.

Actually, not so. According to Nimble Fins, nearly 59% of burglars enter through the front, either through an unsecured window or door. That’s nearly two-thirds. The figures also show that doors are destroyed in only 1.1% of cases, with just 0.6% smashing the glass to gain access. You can read more about common entry points for burglars here.

It appears that locks are simply not enough. Deadbolts can be stronger, and pin locks are more secure for windows, but most properties come equipped simply with the original locks provided. Also, most criminals snap the lock, rather than pick them.

According to current figures from Estate Agent Today, 14 per cent of retail unit space and seven per cent of office space is vacant.

To maintain the terms of your commercial insurance – often much higher for vacant properties – viable security measures are a must.

The answer is clear:

Steel Screens and Steel Sheets

What Are They?

Steel screens are made from high-quality, zinc-coated, perforated steel that is folded to create a rigid box shape.

Cut perfectly to size, Clearway fits them to the outside of your commercial property to cover completely its windows and frames. As they’re secured to an internal steel frame, they cause very little, if any, damage to the property.

Where possible, steel screens are fitted within the opening. Otherwise, they sit over the opening and flush the building so that there are no openings or gaps for objects to be pushed through. It’s extremely difficult to remove them. So, fire-starters are a non-starter.

In addition, anti-tamper screws play a key role in limiting attempts from intruders.

Security screens are relatively quick to install, so they’re an obvious solution in an emergency – far more secure than wooden boarding, and perfect for longer-term requirements because of their extreme resistance to weather.

vacant property security screen

Regarding steel sheets, there’s a slight difference. The prefabricated, painted “box-folded” screens are made from the same 3mm galvanised, perforated sheet steel. But where required, the sheet steel is hand-cut to fit difficult or awkward openings, such as arched or lancet windows in churches.

Where the opening is larger than a standard sheet size, they are riveted together to create a rigid steel sheet. Only the largest pieces possible are used rather than a patchwork of smaller pieces – this increases the sheet’s integrity and strength. Re-used steel sheets from another de-installation are avoided where possible for this reason, too.

The Steel Screen Solution

They’re impressive, impenetrable barriers.

In security terms, they’re a pre-emptive strike in the war against trespassers and can make a vulnerable building significantly less susceptible and exposed.

It’s worth knowing that steel screens and sheets blow conventional timber boarding out of the water. With the latter, using the right tools, determined intruders can often quite literally lever them out of the way. With grit and determination, it’s really not too difficult to do this.

Wooden boards also add fuel to the risk of arson.

Where wooden boards can be removed and damaged easily, steel screens are super-strong and almost impossible to take off; timber is often fixed with removable fittings, as opposed to the anti-tamper type ones used with steel.

Typically, the prefabricated steel panels are fitted with bolts that attach to a steel framework from the inside of the building. So, it’s impossible to undo them from the outside. Steel sheet is typically attached to a handmade wooden frame with anti-tamper or irreversible/clutch head screws.

The construction and fitting of steel screens make them a winning choice; resilient to corrosion, steel screens and sheets can be a temporary or permanent option, and they’re resistant to arson, too. In the case of hand-cut steel sheets, they can be customised to fit your windows, and as they’re perforated, they let in light and ventilation, which reduces the risk of damp and mould.

Importantly, they’re a visual deterrent. They put criminals off. Timber boards, well – not so much.

And, consider your neighbours and the wider community: a properly secured empty property makes everyone’s lives more comfortable. Quite simply, it makes people feel safer. Not to mention dramatically reducing the risk of attracting criminal activity, and other anti-social behaviour.

In other words, everyone wins.

laminated steel screens

When Would Steel Security Screens Be Used?

The following scenarios are ideal, offering peace of mind – and security in more than one sense of the word:

  • Vacant rental properties
  • Empty properties between tenancies
  • Sites awaiting demolition
  • Buildings about to be sold
  • High-risk sites during events or disturbances
  • Properties undergoing renovation or re-development

Recap on the facts

Property crime is not going away.

  • 28% of business premises experienced some sort of crime
  • 9% of this percentage being victims of burglary and vandalism, and 3% subjected to robbery and vehicle-related theft
  • Nearly 59% of burglars enter through the front, either through an unsecured window or door
  • Doors are destroyed in only 1.1% of cases
  • Most properties come equipped simply with the original locks provided
  • Most criminals snap the lock, rather than pick them
  • 14 per cent of retail unit space and seven per cent of office space are vacant
  • Steel screens are an excellent visible deterrent to criminals
  • Steel is resistant to arson attacks and is tailored on-site to fit almost any shape and size opening

And… Did you know?

Greener Security is Here

Steel screens are an environmentally-aware option. How, exactly?

In line with European-wide targets, the UK is trying to reduce the amount of resources that end up in landfill every year.

Steel does not biodegrade, therefore, it can be re-used and continually recycled – and it never deteriorates in performance or quality. This reduces the need for primary resources to create new steel, and the amount of energy used as a result.

The steel security screen that protects your vacant property today can be melted down and incorporated into other steel products or components in a year’s time. Perhaps even a different size screen to protect another business, or who knows – one of the properties that make up your expanding property portfolio of the future.

If you’d like to know more about steel screens and sheets, get in touch with Clearway for more information.

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