We all know the saying about first impressions.
I know I marvel every time I walk into a really grand hotel. Something about the large doorway just makes me feel I’m are entering another world. Shop fronts help creating favourable first impressions; you can say they help set the mood for the customer experience.
Unfortunately, shopfronts are also the primary entry route for thieves and miscreants.
With each passing day, the need for better security is becoming more prevalent. In recent months, the rising threat of theft, vandalism, terrorism and racially-provoked attacks have given police forces all around the country, a grave cause for concern. As a small business owner, the logical conclusion would be to install necessary security measures. Unfortunately, it is rarely as straightforward as it sounds.
Most councils in the UK have strict requirements regarding the use of certain security measures, particularly solid roller shutters. They claim shutters have a detrimental effect on the appearance of many buildings. Richmond Council goes as far as saying, “If a row of shops has these solid shutters, they create a ‘fortress environment’”. In effect, they are saying, the appearance of a security measure is more important than its effectiveness.
In the light of these stringent laws, how can you protect your business and have a minimal effect on the environment and street scene?
The top five security measures recommended by experts are:
- Window and Door lock reinforcement;
- Alarms linked to the police;
- Manned CCTV;
- Prevention of access via roof, side and back doors;
- Improved shop front security.
In keeping in line with the particular requirements of your Local Authority or Council, you need to asses the impact your preferred security measure on the appearance of the shop front, the building and the entire street scene as a whole. The following are four of the most common options for shopfront doors:-
1. Internal Lattice or Retractable Grilles.
Being inside the shop and perforated, these have a limited impact on the appearance of the shop and thus do not usually require planning permission. To install them though, you require Listed Building Consent. Retractable grilles are commonly used by larger retailers as they allow customers to peer into the shop even when the grille is closed and locked.
2. External Brick Bond Grilles.
These are more visible as they are fitted outside the main doors and thus have an impact on the look of the building and the street. These require planning permission, especially on listed buildings or in conservation areas. In some exceptional cases, external grilles can be installed if painted to match the shopfront and the guiding rails do not obscure any of the building”s features.
3. Solid Shutters.
These are considered as the ‘pinnacle of safety’ in roller shutters, but the worst for looks by the Councils. It is almost impossible to find a solid roller shutter that matches the exact colours of the building it is located in. This leads to an aesthetic clash of colours, producing a ‘dead, featureless frontage’. Its monochrome look also tends to attract graffiti artists.
4. Perforated Shutters.
One way to get around this, and get the best of both worlds is to install perforated or punched shutters. These have holes ranging from 2mm to 8mm, punched at strategic intervals. This gives a degree of visual control, whilst preserving the safety element.
Familiarizing yourself with the planning permission given by your Local Authority will help you choose the door that fits your needs and comply with their guidelines. Failure to do so can lead to prosecution, fines and possible jail time.
Don’t be a cheapskate and put your business at risk. Call the professionals at SRL Limited. They stock a broad selection of roller shutter doors, brick bond shutters, perforated doors etc. They offer speedy fitting and repairs. Contact them today.