Steel Screens and Boarding Up
Home Property Security Steel Screens and Boarding Up
The use of steel screens is a common response to the need for securing vacant buildings. This method of security is outdated and ineffective. Boarding up a property is expensive, causes damage and leaves a building vacant and vulnerable to a range of security threats. Steel screens also increase the risk of dilapidation and vandalism. Read about the reasons for this below.
Steel screens are notoriously ineffective at keeping intruders out. Their presence sends a clear sign to squatters, metal thieves and vandals that the property is unoccupied. Methods for removing steel screens are known throughout squatting networks. Once squatters or metal thieves have gained entry, any remaining steel screens can be employed by the squatters to barricade themselves inside and prevent forceful removal. The owner must then go through the laborious and costly process of establishing rights of possession and enforcing an eviction order. During this time the owner will still be liable to pay the weekly rent for each steel screen in place on their building.
Properties boarded up with steel screens present an image of a neighbourhood in decline. Even when the vacated building may be destined for redevelopment, ultimately reviving or improving a neighbourhood, in the short-run vacant properties can significantly depress local morale and discourage people from visiting the area.
This can negatively impact local businesses and property prices. Boarded up properties are also commonly associated with higher levels of crime.
Steel screens used to board up vacant properties are rented or purchased from security companies. On average renting steel screens will cost £7 per window and £15 per door per week. In addition, there will be installation and removal costs that have to be factored in. There is also usually a minimum contract term for which the screens must be hired, making it a less viable option for properties that are only vacant for short periods.
Installing steel screens nearly always causes damage to window and door frames. In many cases entire doors and windows have to be removed before the screens are installed. Alternatively, holes are drilled through window and door frames in order to fit the screens.
This creates the problem that door and window frames need to be replaced once the screens are removed. Steel screens also cause further damage while they are in place. They block out light and either significantly hamper ventilation or allow moisture and the elements to fully penetrate the building, causing erosion through internal condensation or mould respectively. Properties that are boarded up can face further damage caused by pest infestations or leaks that are unattended to, requiring additional repairs and detracting from the value of the property.
We provide our clients a superior alternative to steel screens and boarding up. By using live-in guardians and occupation by charities we occupy properties that otherwise would be left vacant. This protects the fabric of the building from further damage, prevents it from being targeted by thieves and vandals and completely eliminates the threat of squatters all at a fraction of the cost and without the negative stigma attached to steel screens. These solutions add social value instead of augmenting the damage done by vacancy.
We always advise against the use of steel screens and boarding up.
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