We recognise there is a fundamental need to secure your business critical assets, from vacant land, development sites and compounds, to plant, materials and fuel. As a leading provider of sustainable security, we are perfectly positioned to secure, monitor and protect your valuable assets.

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Why is a Risk Assessment so Important?

Why is a Risk Assessment so Important?
Why is a Risk Assessment so Important?

Looking for a free security risk assessment?

  • Fire Safety Assessments
  • Alarm Assessments
  • CCTV Assessments

Contact Clearway to arrange a FREE Site Security Health Check, with guidance from skilled construction specialists.

What do you think of when you hear the phrase bricks and mortar? Perhaps a solid, safe-as-houses building, resistant to all and sundry.

The truth is that your vacant bricks-and-mortar commercial property is anything but secure.

Theft, fire, vandalism, weather damage, and occupation by squatters – they’re all associated risks. Left unoccupied, the premises is exceptionally defenceless, becoming more so as the weeks pass. Equally, several vacant properties in one area can bring security concerns and, if poorly managed, can lead to reputational damage – and even environmental decline.

Reducing Your Risk

Clearway can mitigate your safety and security risks.

We provide a full range of services and products to safeguard unused commercial properties, however long they remain vacant. We aim to reduce the building’s exposure, protect your valuable assets, and help you fully comply with your insurance policy.

If you are a landlord, property investor or otherwise involved in managing an unused building, read on.

We’ve put together this article to explain how Clearway would engage with you in the early stages of our working relationship – with a comprehensive security risk assessment.

We’ll outline how a risk assessment works in practice, what “gaps” our consultants look for, and why meticulous initial appraisals like these are so critical.

The Clearway team offers a wealth of in-depth industry knowledge; from large multi-site businesses, public sector organisations and SMEs – and even for events. They know what to look for. Through a customised assessment, their unbiased recommendations will help you make an informed decision to help you look after your property portfolio.

Security consultants have specialist skills: an excellent understanding of how businesses operate, a sharp awareness of health and safety, and full technical knowledge of the materials and equipment they may find on site. Likewise, they recognise the fabric and structure of a building and how this may affect safety.

Important note:

It’s worth mentioning that this isn’t a sales process. Instead, it’s an independent review of findings and your current security provision – with resolutions you could or should take to mitigate threats.

What is a Risk Assessment?

In brief, it’s a thorough, formal analysis of your commercial property to identify any safety and security hazards and determine whether the controls that you have in place are strong enough.

The outcome will be an in-depth yet jargon-free written analysis and a list of actions to manage the uncovered risks.

Every property is different, so it’s a fundamental first step. Your consultant will factor in the location, the building’s use and function, its contents, condition, layout, the area’s crime profile, vulnerabilities, and much more.

The Importance of a Risk Assessment

Ultimately, a risk assessment can help you develop the best security strategy to help look after your investment. 

Within this point, consider the following:

Insurance is vital here. We’ve written an article about compliance, which you can read here. In brief, vacant commercial property cover is not easy to get; moreover, it’s expensive due to risk. It will come as no surprise that your insurance company will set the bar high and have exacting standards.

Clearway has developed an outstanding range of solutions to help you become and remain compliant. We work across the entire process:

  • Pre-policy quote survey
  • Point of claim services
  • Post-claim improvement consultancy services

Is your property going to be vacant for the first time? Then prevention will be better than cure with an assessment before deciding on security measures. However, they apply equally to annual or six-monthly checks so that your steps are still “working” – not only for protection.

Also, you may need a risk assessment to show that you’re eligible for certain quality accreditations and certifications or to meet industry-specific requirements.

Importantly, did you know you have a duty of care to everyone entering your building? And yes, this applies whether they’re authorised or not.

For example, as well as your obligation to estate agents, surveyors, potential tenants, and tradespeople, you are also responsible for the safety of unwitting children using the site as a playground. Likewise – and we know how unjust this may seem: trespassers, squatters and those who access the premises with harmful intent.

What’s Involved in a Security Risk Assessment?

All in all, a risk assessment will examine every part of your security; not just the “obvious” measures such as locks and high-functioning steel doors, but also your monitoring systems, safety responses and alarms.

Let’s look in a little more detail at a few of the key checks and balances for empty commercial properties:

Fire Safety

The damage caused by fire and smoke is nothing short of dreadful.

Simply put, it poses a grave risk. And, interrupts business continuity. If your vacant site is home to industrial vehicles, various hazardous materials or piles of uncollected cardboard boxes and paper, you could be playing a dangerous game of chance.

And, you may lose.

Of particular note is the life-threatening danger of smoke. An appraisal will analyse how effective your smoke detector is, and if it’s built into your fire safety system. If not, a combined approach could be critical to protect life and property equally.

We’ll look at your fire safety hardware, systems, and detection equipment. Also, what you have in place to put out or suppress fires. If you’re not up to par, they’ll recommend the measures you must take.

commercial fire extinguishers installed in an office


Are your alarms fit for purpose? Do they suit the size, location and function of the site?

A Clearway expert will know whether they provide adequate coverage and are reliable enough immediately to alert you or a remote monitoring centre (such as our NSI Gold Standard centre).

Should there be issues, you will be advised on the right tools for the job: alarms for development or construction sites, higher-risk businesses, open areas of land or empty retail units. Many of the options available are super-sophisticated and will meet your needs precisely.

intruder alarm system maintenance


Surveillance plays a critical role in preventing access but is also brilliant at identifying intrusion and enabling immediate action – either by the emergency services or by your authorised staff.

An experienced security consultant is your secret super-power here:

They’ll notice blind spots, assess whether what you have in place now could be tampered with, and assess its functionality. Contemporary commercial CCTV systems are high-tech; they can detect number plates (ANPR) and body temperature, have night vision, and even recognise faces. This is cutting-edge stuff that could make all the difference.

The assessment will be customised to your needs. Here’s a good example: you may have 100% super-secure access prevention measures, yet the building is still liable to fire or gas leaks.

In this case, your risk is still high; thus, the focus will be elsewhere.

Damage from Weather – and Water

Ah, yes, our unpredictable British weather.

Rain, wind and snow may harm your property. For instance, large slippages of snow could put a significant weight strain on a building. How strong is your roof? And did you know that hailstones are particularly dangerous?

Leaks, flooding and damp penetration spell big problems for empty properties, too. Draining down the heating system and turning off the water supply could help prevent damage – either deliberate or through dilapidation.

In addition, don’t forget about:

  • The property’s history of break-ins, arson, or vandalism. This may be about its location, current or proposed future use, or the safety measures you have in place at this time.
  • Isolated, empty buildings could be more rather than less likely to attract criminal or anti-social activity.
  • The structure may have copper, lead or other valuable materials. These metals are infinitely sellable and, therefore, catnip to thieves.
  • Consider what measures you are using to protect your perimeter. Once breached, getting into the property itself could be just a matter of time.
  • Overgrown vegetation should not be overlooked. Nature finds a way. Trees and climbing plants can impact the premises’ structural integrity over time.
escape of water

Key Take Aways

An initial risk assessment isn’t just a nice-to-have.

It’s an elemental aspect of your overall managed security processes and lays the groundwork for what will work best for your property portfolio.

Never underestimate the power of an experienced “newcomer”. Fresh, expert eyes will identify areas of risk that may have escaped your attention but could be your Achilles’ heel.

An unoccupied building may start to look uncared for. Highlighting the possibility of fly-tipping, graffiti, or broken windows means that would-be criminals may fail to see it as an attractive target.

Mind the gap. At the risk of stating the obvious, your insurance policy contains terms you must comply with. Reduce or manage your premiums and stay safer by knowing where the security holes are and how to fill them in.

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