One of a homeowner’s primary concerns is building security, yet not much is said about it during the design of most houses. Afterwards, when the building is finished and occupied, the typical homeowner rushes around, adding security devices like accessories. The fence, the dogs, the cameras, the dusk-to-dawn lights, burglar bars, all after the fact. These concerns are fundamental to the design of the building and should be part of the decision-making process when choices about the home’s details are being made.
Businesses, especially those with high security profiles, refer to the “layers” of security. The outer layer filters the weaker (usually nuisance) threats, while the inner layers respond to the more serious threats. It is a good idea for the homeowner to plan the layers of security for their home in similar fashion
Layer 1 – good lighting
The most important factor affecting security for the home is exterior lighting. The main entrance to the site and the major openings must be well-lit, and landscaping that creates dark spots (for hiding) should be trimmed or removed. In well-populated neighborhoods, it should be possible for neighbors to see intruders approaching the house or attempting a break-in.
Layer 2 – perimeter fence or wall
Perimeter barriers for both privacy and security are created by a wall or a fence. Whether wall or fence is a matter of preference, but the height is subject to regulations, especially on the front.
Layer 3 – patrol services
For most homes, this means dogs, although security guards are an option for some homes.
Layer 4 – quality doors and windows
It is said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Poor quality doors and windows, or cheap hardware, are often the weak links in a home’s security, as homeowners risk their safety to save up-front cost. The selection of doors, windows and hardware is one of the most important activities of the design process, and should not be left to others or compromised for the budget.
Layer 5 – surveillance
Technology offers many options, from doorbell and landscape cameras to contact, motion and pressure plate alarms, all of which can be monitored from the homeowner’s smart phone or iPad.
Building security for the homeowner begins when the homeowner first sits down with the architect and must remain a concern through the design process if the final product is to survive the onslaught of intruders.
• Patrick Rahming & Associates is a full-service design firm providing architectural, planning and design services throughout The Bahamas and the northern Caribbean. Visit its website at www.pradesigns.com, design blog at https://rahmblings.wordpress.com and like its Facebook page. The firm can be contacted by phone at 356-9080 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. The firm’s mission is to help clients turn their design problems into completed projects through a process of guided decision-making, responsible environmental advice and expert project administration.