England is home to many historic, period and heritage properties and sites. The National Heritage List for England contains details of all listed properties in England as well as historic monuments, protected wrecks, parks, gardens and battlefields.
Securing a listed property or site needs to be done sensitively, so that the unique characteristics of the building are not compromised. Unfortunately, many properties of historic interest have outdated or inadequate security systems which, coupled with the fact they are often situated in remote locations, means they may be seen as an easy and high value target for burglars.
Historic buildings also tend to be more prone to the elements, particularly fire and flooding. This is because most date back to well before any sort of fire safety regulations or modern flood defences were introduced.
Due to their special nature, listed properties are subject to very stringent planning regulations. So when it comes to their security it stands to reason that the same special care and attention must also be applied.
Modern security solutions for historic homes
One of the ongoing challenges of maintaining and protecting a listed property is balancing alterations with aesthetics whilst meeting the strict planning regulations that apply to homes of this nature.
It is often thought that CCTV systems and other, visible, security equipment may spoil the ‘look’ of a listed property but it is possible to install security measures that can act as an effective deterrent whilst still being sensitive to the aesthetics of your property and its environment and location.
Wireless technology in period properties
Wireless security systems are an ideal choice for period properties as you don’t run the risk of damaging any original features during installation or have to hide ugly wiring. It also offers the added benefit of providing a fully operational security system even in the event your phone line is cut.
Remote monitoring, no matter where you are
Remote monitoring means that property owners with buildings and sites in remote, rural areas can use a smartphone or tablet to view their security system and reassure themselves that all is as it should be, without have to be there in person. With a smart security system, it’s also possible to programme in additional security measures such as lighting and door and window locks, and control and monitor these over a secure internet connection.
Protecting your listed property – a basic guide
The aim of any security system is to deter potential intruders by making it more trouble than it’s worth for them to break into your property. Perimeter fencing, security gates, and subtle signage all give a visible impression that you take security matters seriously. It may sound obvious but even the most hi-tech surveillance system is a waste of money if you don’t use it correctly or if you put yourself at risk of a security breach in another way. So here are our top five tips for protecting your period property:
- Make sure your security system is switched on and set to the correct mode at all times. Have your system serviced regularly so you don’t run the risk of an operational failure.
- Regularly review all the entry and access points to your property and ensure windows and doors have strong locks and catches, which are compatible with your traditional fixtures and fittings. Don’t forget to cover coal chutes, ventilation ducts, and skylights in your security checklist, which, if left unsecured, can make the property vulnerable.
- Follow police crime prevention advice and keep any valuables out of sight or locked securely away. If your home or any items of property are open to the public then you may want to consider a forensic asset marking system such as SmartWater which is a traceable liquid that can be applied to items of value to identify thieves and deter theft. The liquid leaves a long lasting and unique identifier, whose presence is invisible except under an ultraviolet black light.
- If your listed property or site is vacant for any period of time look ‘beyond the building’ and make sure the grounds are also well maintained – regularly cutting back trees and shrubbery and mowing grassy areas. Neglected gardens send a signal to would be thieves and vandals that a property may not be well cared for and can make it a target for criminal activity.
- Choose a professional security team who has experience in listed building security and who will be aware of the specific criteria heritage sites must meet, such as compliance with listed building and safety regulations, reversibility and minimal intervention.
Meeting the costs of securing a listed property
Don’t bank on it, but you can qualify for grants for repairs and VAT reductions on building works with some listed buildings. Visit the Historic England website for further details.
If you’re looking for advice about securing your listed property, whether it’s a private home, or a property that’s open to the public, contact us today for a free, no obligation quotation.