The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) welcomes guidance published today by the Home Office, advising how protective security measures can be incorporated intelligently into both new and existing public access buildings and open spaces, whilst ensuring that they are of the highest design quality.
Working Together to Protect Crowded Places was published after a public consultation in 2009, to which the RIBA contributed. As part of the suite of documents released today, Protecting Crowded Places: Design and Technical Issues features design and technical counter-terrorism protective security guidance of particular interest to architects and designers and their clients.
The following recommendations in the report were of interest to the RIBA:
Counter terrorism measures should not be designed in isolation – they should contribute towards creating places that have a good range and mix of homes, services and amenities, that are well designed and maintained, that gave high quality green spaces and are sensitive to their surroundings
Ensuring a standard approach is taken across the UK by ensuring risk assessments are undertaken by a local police Counter-Terrorism Security Adviser (CTSA) using guidance issued jointly by the Home Office and the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO)
Recognising that each site is clearly different, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Different sites present unique challenges and considerations that will often require bespoke solutions.
The local CTSA will distinguish between those measures needed to mitigate risk in the two highest risk severity categories (high and medium-high) and those in the lower two categories (medium and low). The local CTSA, and in some cases other specialist advisers, will advise applicants on specific counter-terrorism protective security measures that would mitigate the level of risk they have identified
As part of the RIBA’s continued interest and commitment to this important area of work, the Institute will shortly be publishing its own guidance for architects and built environment professionals, informing them of the practical changes taking place in the planning system, which will require them to consider counter-terrorism in design. The RIBA guidance will cover the complex issues involved in designing for counter-terrorism and demonstrate the many ways architects are already responding to the challenge of designing safe, high quality places.
Speaking today, RIBA President Ruth Reed said:
“This new guidance published by the Home Office today, is a highly valuable resource for architects and other design practitioners working to create public access buildings and open spaces that are safe, and uphold the principles of good design. In particular we welcome the guiding principle that designing for counter-terrorism cannot be done in isolation from other concerns of the built environment, or detract from the overall aim of the Government in its strategy to create 'World Class Places'. It is important that our built environment reflects that we are an open and inclusive society, and that in interpreting these new guidelines, our buildings do not convey that we are driven by security measures."