British Embassy, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
To develop a range of bespoke perimeter security solutions designed to meet the exacting requirements of a sensitive embassy site.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is located in Central Africa and represents the second largest country in Africa by area, and the eleventh largest in the world. With a population of over 71 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the fourth most populous nation in Africa. Kinshasa is the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (and second largest city in Africa), and home to the British Embassy. In addition to providing consular services to UK nationals and managing migrations to the UK, the embassy also supports trade and investment, and works towards consolidating peace and reducing poverty in the DRC.
The current embassy facility is the result of a major development project, which involved converting an existing site comprising a group of buildings, to evolve a new residence / offices for the British Ambassador.
The redevelopment of the site was spearheaded by Orostream, specialists in building refurbishments and development in the UK and overseas. The company has worked on British Embassy projects all over the world, and has regularly relied on the proven expertise of Jacksons Fencing to deliver bespoke fencing and access control solutions designed to cater for the specific security sensitivities of each site. Orostream and Jacksons combined forces on a number of similar embassy projects including offices in Podgorica (Montenegro), Brussels (Belgium) and Stockholm (Sweden) and it was this established working partnership which fuelled the decision for Jacksons’ involvement in the Kinshasa installation.
Effective perimeter security is of paramount importance for a vulnerable embassy which can easily become the target for extreme terrorist or militant activity. Crash rated gates had already been installed at the Kinshasa site (the client had been unaware of Jacksons’ ability to provide this product) to provide a ballistic resistant entrance, capable of withstanding the firing of shots into the main compound while vehicles enter through the airlock configuration. However, to prevent the efficacy of the gate from being compromised in any way, there was a requirement to incorporate a complementing anti-ballistic screen either side of the security gates. The agreed product of choice was a specially commissioned Barbican square pale security railing, which was clad with thick sheet steel to create a robust and impenetrable line of defence. A pedestrian gate crafted to match the same technical specifications was also developed.
The new gate represented a particularly complex aspect of the overall project since the security locks needed to be sequenced to ensure they complied with the exacting requirements of all the other locks within the site. Given the geographical location of the project and subsequent communication issues, this proved to be a significant challenge! Black polyester powder coated Barbican security railings were employed just inside the pedestrian entrance to provide a strong, secure but also aesthetically pleasing boundary. A matching standard Barbican gate was also installed to provide dedicated pedestrian access.
The ambassador’s private residence, which is sited within the embassy compound, had already been screened off using attractive louvered panels. Jacksons was tasked with designing and manufacturing a bespoke double and single louvered gate to blend with the unusual fencing, to ensure an unbroken ring of security around the diplomat’s home.
A short run of Tubular Chain Link fencing - which features a top rail for added strength – was installed to the side of the tennis court to complete the newly refurbished embassy. This ensured the protection of children within the embassy grounds from the dangers of the adjacent road. Finally the majority of the gates that were installed at the embassy were fitted with digital code locks to deliver an added layer of security.
Headed up by Chris Jones, manager of the Jacksons’ CAD team, from briefing through to completion, the entire project took just four months to finish. This assignment showcased Jacksons’ ability to accurately interpret a testing brief, working with a number of third parties to develop a range of bespoke solutions compliant with all current safety and security guidelines. In addition the project demonstrated the company’s commitment to adhering to strict deadlines and managing complex shipping arrangements to ensure a highly satisfactory outcome for the client.