Securing your home
3 November 2016
Consider expert advice at the very beginning
When a country house is being refurbished, it’s normal to appoint either a building surveyor or architect, often an interior designer or garden designer will also get involved, but what is more frequently overlooked is a security consultant. Incorporating security design into a large construction project is relatively simple, whereas retro fitting security features is likely to be expensive, disruptive and obtrusive.
Improvements in technology have made sophisticated security systems much more affordable – CCTV is much cheaper and picture quality much improved, remote access through a smart phone or tablet is possible just about anywhere and automated gates and entry systems are common place, even in relatively remote areas.
There will always be new challenges to consider – the use of drones is perhaps an obvious example. Moreover social media can present its own issues, particularly for younger family members or to reputation or privacy. Taking advice can help prevent unfortunate decisions, ensuring the most appropriate systems and barriers are installed first time. Briefings and protocols for all in the event of an emergency are also vital.
Other methods can be very effective too
Notwithstanding the new technology, some of the more traditional methods still remain very effective. Good perimeter security is essential whether it’s fences, gates, signage or hedges. Hedge planting need not just be ornamental, it might also act as a deterrent as in the case of species such as hawthorn or pyracantha. If all else fails, a large dog is often very effective too!
Keeping it (relatively) simple
Prevention is much better than cure when it comes to security matters. An overall security appraisal will make sure any security measures are coherent and integrated, designed into the infrastructure and fabric of a building. While technology can definitely assist, over reliance is not the answer – it should be one of a series of measures. Last but not least, any systems should be user friendly and simple to operate. If the technology is switched off or not used properly, it serves no purpose and will simply be a waste of money.
Philip Eddell is a Director at Savills Country House Consultancy