RIBA Launches New Guidance on Designing for Counter-terrorism

RIBA Launches New Guidance on Designing for Counter-terrorism

The Royal Institute of British Architects launched practical new guidance for architects and planners on designing for counter-terrorism, ensuring they are better equipped to think about designing in security features from the outset.

Published as part of the RIBA's ongoing work with the Home Office and the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) on protecting public spaces, the guidance aims to raise awareness of the importance of design in achieving this objective, by setting out the most common considerations when designing for counter-terrorism in the built environment. It features real-life case studies of UK buildings, which show the different ways built environment professionals are responding to the challenge of creating secure spaces that are open and welcoming to the public.

The guidance considers different ways of reducing vulnerability to the terrorist threat, and containing damage:
- Mitigating terrorism through the introduction of physical, technical and procedural protective measures, such as barriers, bollards, landscaping and surveillance
- Damage limitation through materials used, such as blast and ballistic resistant glass, and the use of glazed facades to limit intrusion
- Considering aspects concerning general security, such as vehicular access, landscaping, fire evacuation procedure and adaptation of the original building design

"This guide is an essential brief for architects, planners and engineers. It details the key agencies, the nature of the threat and possible design solutions for counter-terrorism measures. It brings together guidance from many public bodies providing an invaluable resource that will inform briefing, design and delivery on many building types," said Ruth Reed, President of RIBA.

"Architects and other designers are now being required to take into consideration counter-terrorism measures when designing public access buildings and public open spaces. This extends the requirement from high risk targets to the wider environment and with it the need to deliver good design that creates a sense of security without a siege mentality. It is important that our built environment continues to reflect that we are an open and inclusive society and that in interpreting these new requirements our buildings do not convey that we are driven by security measures."

"This RIBA document is an initial response to Home Office counter-terrorism initiatives that include new guidance, identifying recommended design and management approaches aimed at minimising terrorist risks," said Peter Heath of Atkins, contributor to the report. "As a public realm improvement specialist, I feel that this guidance document will provide valuable design data and sources of further information. It sets out in a clear way, the context and principles of what is a sensitive and complex issue of our times, which needs to be considered at all stages of the built environment planning and design processes."

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