You might think that taking care of an empty building is easy – after all, there won’t be any valuables inside and since nobody will currently be using it, what exactly is there to maintain?
In reality, the opposite is actually true. For starters, gradual disrepair is more likely to go unnoticed in a vacant property, ultimately leading to more severe problems that become difficult – and expensive – to fix.
There’s also the fact that some people see ‘abandoned’ houses as an opportunity for criminal behaviour. From vandalism to squatting, ‘urban explorers’ and those looking to conduct more serious crimes will only be encouraged knowing that a property has been left empty and poorly maintained.
Therefore, if you own or manage an empty unit – whether it be a residential block, a warehouse or a disused office – you probably want to avoid being liable for injuries, or out of pocket for damages.
So, with this in mind, let us detail below how to identify and protect the main weak spots within your empty building.
Points Of Entry
As you can probably guess, windows and doors are among the most vulnerable parts of your property – after all, they are purely designed to let people in and out.
So, if you’re leaving your site unmonitored, you will – in effect – be giving anyone that wants to break in the opportunity to force your locks without being noticed.
As a preventative measure, installing steel security doors and Sitex screens over windows will make it virtually impossible for these entry points to be breached without the use of specialist equipment. These materials are also resistant to fire damage and brute force – two key weaknesses of using conventional wooden boards.
Don’t be tempted to skip your landscaping duties just because the property isn’t being used.
Overgrowth sends a clear message that nobody is tending to the property, while making it easier for trespassers to move around without being spotted.
What’s more, plants that cover paths and entrances will eventually become a hazard for anyone that still needs to access the property, while climbing plants can cause damp and a wide variety of structural building issues when left unchecked.
Therefore, to combat this effectively, either hire someone to tend to your empty property’s gardens or make it more easy to manage when you’re away for an extended period of time.
Heavy rain, high winds and frosts can often cause damage to roofs and brickwork, compromising the structure and potentially letting in moisture, pests or even people.
If you only check on the property sporadically, you could save yourself from an unpleasant surprise by scheduling a check-up before and after bad weather.
The last thing you should want, after all, is to come back to the property after a month or two away to find that it has been flooded or that the roof has caved in. So, it’s important to stay vigilant.
Loose Equipment & Discarded Materials
You might think that the tools or bits of rubbish that you’ve left outside the property are all worthless, but criminals could see something different.
Not only are those items vulnerable to theft, but they can also be used to climb onto or break into your building, or encourage people to add their own waste to the pile.
Therefore, where possible, don’t tempt trespassers or wannabe criminals. Tidy up any mess around your property and make sure to keep any bulky items either locked away in a storage container or at least hidden from view behind a MASS Screenguard.
Overgrown foliage and a site that’s littered with debris tend to attract one type of criminal, but open spaces invite another.
If you’ve got a deserted yard or field at your property, make sure to take measures that prevent traveller invasions and fly-tipping outfits from gaining access. For example, installing concrete barriers at regular intervals or as a continuous blockade to stop vehicles from driving onto your site could be a great way to counteract this threat effectively.
Outbuildings, storage containers and large equipment can cast shadows that make it very difficult to detect trespassers moving around the property, giving them the advantage. To reduce this level of cover, why not consider installing motion sensor lights? Or, alternatively, hire a security patrol dog to sniff out any potential perpetrators.
It’s important not to let ‘out of sight’ become ‘out of mind’ when managing the security of your vacant property. So, if you can’t afford to check in with your empty building on a regular basis, contact us at your earliest convenience to discover more about the wide range of security options we have available to help maintain your peace of mind.
At Maltaward, we offer vacant property protection systems for any vacant site. In addition to our preventative measures, we also have a nationwide network of fast-response teams for dealing with fly-tipping clean-up and traveller evictions. For further information, call us now