Creating secure outdoor storage areas

Outdoor storage has a wide range of uses for different types of sites, from providing a secure area for school equipment to protecting a commercial building’s air-conditioning units. Outdoor storage areas are often vulnerable to threats such as theft and vandalism; with this in mind it’s important to consider a number of factors when designing one, including safety, security, aesthetics and lines of sight into the storage area.

Why install secure outdoor storage areas?

There are many benefits to incorporating secure storage areas on a site. As mentioned above, one popular application is securing school assets, which relieves pressure on internal cupboards, freeing up indoor space for educational purposes. There is a wealth of school equipment that can be stored outdoors, such as sports and play equipment.

Bin storage is another common form of outdoor storage, especially if there are hazardous or potentially dangerous materials on-site, such as within hospital grounds, industrial plants and factories. These types of buildings often require secure outdoor areas for a variety of high-capacity units too, such as fuel containers, storage tanks and air compressors.

The installation of outdoor storage areas for bicycles is becoming increasingly common; cycling as a commute mode choice continues to grow, while 2018 was a record year for cycle-lane usage in the UK. There is a growing demand for multiple-bike external storage that protects these often highly valuable vehicles from weather conditions, and affords them robust security too.

Protect against risks with secure outdoor storage

It’s arguable that there are more risks now that demand the installation of outdoor storage areas; last year, for example, the Office of National Statistics reported a rise in overall theft. Before designing an outdoor storage area, we recommend undertaking a thorough risk assessment to ensure that a risk appropriate solution is installed. For sites that are identified as being high risk, accredited products such as those Secured by Design are proven to reduce the likelihood of criminal damage and can be a cost effective choice thanks to savings in insurance and damages over time.

Outdoor storage areas are not just at risk of criminal activity, wild animals and pets also have the potential to get into vulnerable areas and cause damage or untidiness. Containing equipment and sealing off entry makes it more difficult for wildlife to get in to reduce the chance of this happening.

Secure outdoor storage is also essential on sites where children have access. External storage can safely prevent children from getting into potentially dangerous areas or gaining access to harmful materials.

How to create a secure storage area

Once risks are established, it’s important to check that any prospective outdoor storage solution is fit for purpose. For most outdoor storage applications, we recommend any intruder-resistant solution that has been approved by the Loss Prevention Standards Board and Secured by Design, the police initiative committed to ‘designing out crime’.

Aesthetics should also be considered, it is often better for the fencing to match the appearance of the surrounding area. Specifying ‘fortress-like’ storage may mean you’re unintentionally creating an obvious target for crime on-site.

To reduce the risk of break-ins and vandalism, it is important that, where possible, the storage area isn’t located in an place where there are climbing aids such as trees and lamp posts. The perimeter of the storage area should use anti-climb fencing and be high enough to deter attempts at scaling. The fixings on the gate, fencing and posts must be secure and resistant to tampering.

Finally, lines of sight into the storage area should be kept to a minimum. Our EuroGuard® Combi is an ideal solution for sites that require outdoor storage with a pleasing design. Privacy is guaranteed with closely spaced timber slats, and built into the design are unique, vandal-proof panel-to-post fixings and customisable post toppings.

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