If you’re a commercial property manager or a landlord, there’s one thing we don’t necessarily need to tell you but feel like we should:
At the end of a tenancy, as the last person leaves the building, without robust security measures waiting to take over, it could become a target.
Almost immediately, news of its unoccupied status could be silently yet extensively broadcast to those intent on criminal activity, especially when the tenant has left under less than favourable circumstances. These criminals are stronger, more security-savvy and more focused than we may realise. And they notice everything. Your (un)friendly local intruders, vandals, arsonists, thieves or squatters – even urban explorers, who most likely mean no actual harm – may all be super-keen for a share of the proverbial destructive pie.
Perhaps your factory, shop, office or warehouse is anticipating new tenants within a few short weeks or less. Don’t get comfortable.
You’re an experienced professional, and you’re taking nothing for granted.
Damage, vandalism and arson – in fact, any illegal activity – isn’t just hideously costly. (For example, potentially higher insurance premiums or an invalid policy if you’re not adequately covered.)
The local environment suffers, too.
Graffiti on buildings is unattractive and unappealing, and brings down the look and feel of its surroundings in one fell swoop. Arsonists cause immense destruction and engender fear. Squatters in empty buildings may leave behind eye-watering amounts of waste, including flammable rubbish or dangerous drug paraphernalia.
Everyone in the community pays in some way.
Expertise in Empty Properties
No matter what, the building will become vulnerable in super-quick time.
You deserve peace of mind between a business vacating and another taking possession. The excellent news is that high-standard security for your vacant commercial property is within easy reach, courtesy of Clearway. With over 30 years’ experience, we offer products and services that can:
- Prevent intrusion
- Offer a powerful visual deterrent
- Monitor and maintain premises
- Prevent property damage and deterioration
- Protect the safety of authorised personnel accessing the building: surveyors, estate agents or employees, for example
- Offer ongoing compliance with your commercial property insurance
Which Security Solution is Best?
It’s an age-old cliché, but there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
For instance, it stands to reason that a small, high-street retail outlet requires different types of security to an out-of-town warehouse – refer to our recent article about ShopShield One, for more information on the retail sector. Plus, other critical factors include layout, size and activities in the area. However, the goal is broadly the same. We always consider ways to: Deny access, deter criminal activity and detect intrusion or potential wrongdoing.
Our security solutions could include a combination of physical barriers, monitoring systems, access control systems, or manned guards. Or, all of them.
Clearway’s first step will be to consult with you to establish an in-depth risk assessment covering levels of vulnerability, your current security measures and the measures that will need to be taken.
What Are The Most Important Security Measures for Vacant Commercial Properties?
Stop Them Getting In
We believe a key priority will be preventing unauthorised access and other unlawful activity. Equally, these and the other measures we’ll mention act as strong visual deterrents
Steel Security Screens and Steel Sheets
As criminal intrusions often happen via doors and windows, we recommend steel security screens and sheets – especially where access is apparent and easily visible. We fit screens to the outside of the property, and each completely covers the windows or frames. They’re then secured to an internal steel frame, thus minimising damage to the existing one. Plus, they let in light and air, which is good for ventilation.
We’ll hand-cut the steel sheets with awkward or unusual shapes for the perfect fit.
Simple and, in many ways, surprisingly effective, concrete blocks are an excellent way to protect the property’s perimeter; no four-wheeled vehicle is ever going to get past them.
Keyless Steel Doors
These are wholly hopeless prospects for a would-be intruder, who, when faced with one of these, will probably go elsewhere. They are as they sound: Steel doors without keys that replace an existing one. They fit securely into the opening without causing damage. And they only allow access to authorised people via a keypad PIN code.
Access Control Solutions
Do you need only authorised personnel to gain entry to your vacant property?
These high-tech, contemporary systems allow or deny entry based on a range of metrics. For instance, facial recognition, secure key fobs, access codes, number plate detection – and even biometric scanning.
They do much else, including tracking and remote access. There’s also the option for 24/7 monitoring through Clearway’s Alarm Receiving Centre.
Security Guards and K9 (dogs)
Security guards are trained to exceptionally high standards. They are fully licensed by the Security Industry Authority, an exacting industry body which ensures that their guards continuously meet the criteria and ethics that are demanded of them.
They have the essential expertise, awareness and resilience to oversee a vacant commercial property.
Our security dogs are NASDU-accredited (National Association of Security Dog Users) – the regulating body in the use of dogs in security environments. These dogs are nothing short of perfection; they are obedient, agile, fiercely loyal and have an incredible sense of smell, hence their use in drug detection.
Man and beast together offer a formidable combination in vacant property security.
Detection Perfection – Identify Them and Act Accordingly
There’s nowhere to hide.
Wireless Video Alarm Systems
These high-tech, battery-powered alarms use mobile network technology, making them ideal for construction sites without Wi-Fi or mains electricity. There’s no need for power connections or phone lines here, and they’re ultra-effective.
Once activated by remote or onboard sensors, a video alarm takes pictures of the incident, pieces them together into a 10-second video clip and forwards it to our NSI Gold Standard monitoring centre or directly to you, our client, for further action if needed.
CCTV never sleeps. With pan, tilt and zoom functionality on moveable towers or fixed at a high level, they record activity in super-sharp definition. Plus, they emit a loud, startling alarm.
Also, they’re a great solution for perimeter security. Commercial buildings spread out over large areas may be harder to see. Therefore, CCTV can be placed precisely where it’s needed.
What Clearway Thinks
Sadly, the knock-on from the pandemic is still with us, it appears. Since 2020, London’s empty and unused office space has increased by 20% (see reference 1). If we extrapolate this figure, it’s not difficult to conclude that we have a UK-wide empty-office problem.
In addition, we’re always aware of the high levels of investment that our clients make – not least in managing and maintaining their properties as safe, comfortable places for those who work there. And, for the people who visit.
Therefore, it’s critical to protect that investment, whether empty or occupied, by safeguarding buildings, assets and people in equal measure. Damaged vacant properties can pose significant risks – and hefty repair bills.
Don’t allow any weak links in the chain. It’s not worth it.
There are practical, constructive security solutions with your name on, and we’d be happy to offer you all the advice you need.
Key Take Aways
- Deter criminal intrusion or vandals
- Deny them access
- Detect them on your commercial premises and act accordingly
- Security solutions must be tailored to individual needs, and these will depend on several business-critical factors.
- The physical presence of a security guard and a trained dog in combination of sophisticated technology, brings everything together to keep your property safe.