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Empty Derelict Buildings

Many unoccupied residential and commercial properties in Western Australian are subject to wilful damage and arson attacks.

Owners can reduce the risk of arson by taking a few simple steps.

Securing derelict buildings

Many unoccupied or unsecured properties in Western Australian are vulnerable to willful damage and arson attacks. Owners can reduce the risk of arson by taking a few simple steps.

Owners can reduce the risk of arson and secure their building and surrounding environments to discourage unauthorised access to vacant property and prevent it from becoming an arson or vandalism statistic.

These procedures are intended to protect buildings that are temporarily vacant pending renovation or demolition.

Empty and unsecured buildings are a prime target for the vandal or arsonists

How to secure your building

Boarding-up procedures

Empty and barricaded building security breached by squatters

Protecting your property from illegal access and hazardous weather can be achieved by:

  • Reviewing and improving security
  • Conducting private security patrols
  • Improving lighting
  • Get involved with Neighborhood Watch programs

Disconnect all utilities accessible at street level

  • Turn off water at the street and drain the system to its lowest point
  • Have power disconnected at street level and secure meter boxes shut
  • Have gas disconnected
  • Disconnect and remove and Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders
  • Remove all tanks containing heating oil from the outside of the building

Remove or store all combustibles from inside and outside the building

  • Remove all upholstered furniture, combustible materials and trash from inside the building including the basement and surrounding environment
  • Remove or store unused rubbish containers (wheelie bins and dumpsters) from exterior stairwells, porches, fire escapes and outbuildings
  • Remove or prune back excess shrubbery and vegetation that could support or spread a fire

Secure the building to prevent unauthorised entry

  • Search the entire building to ensure that it is unoccupied
  • Remove doors and place in storage
  • Secure door and window openings and any other entry points with plywood (or non combustible materials such as corrugated iron) (See determining how much protection you need)

Once secure keep it secure

  • Once you have taken steps to secure and prevent entry into your building, it is critical to maintain that security
  • Remove any rubbish
  • Clean off graffiti off when it appears immediately
Additional security fencing on "Hardened Target"

Determining how much protection is needed

  • All points of entry that may be accessible such as; windows, doors, fire escapes and access to basements need to be secured
  • These openings should be barricaded with plywood or corrugated iron, 100 millimetres by 50 millimetres timber braces, TEK screws and nails
  • Openings that are at least three metres above ground level that are not accessible from the ground, fire escapes, roof or other climbing point should be secured around the perimeter
  • Plywood or metal sheeting should be fitted to these openings so that it rests snugly against the exterior frame, butting up against wood framed buildings or up to the brickwork

Boarding up openings and securing the building

Many builders throughout Perth provide services to secure premises before and after fires. These can be located in the Yellow Pages under Building Maintenance Services.

Corrugated iron sheeting TEK screwed to existing frame

The following instructions are designed to assist building owners to secure their premises from unauthorised intruders:

  • This task requires a two-person team with one working inside and the other outside the building to fit the barricade across all openings.
  • Cut and secure the timber braces with nails to fit the horizontal dimension of the opening of the door or window
  • You will need two timber braces for each window and three braces for each door opening
  • For buildings with metal doors and window frames, cut the timber braces to fit around doorstop and use metal angle and Tek screws to secure the braces
  • The two window braces will be placed one third of the distance from the top and the bottom of the window
  • The three door braces will be placed one in the centre of the doorway, and one half the distance from the centre to the top and the third brace is placed half way between the centre and the bottom of the doorway
  • Pre-drill 6 millimetre holes in the sheeting approximately one third of the length of the brace from the outside edge of the door and window jamb. Drill holes at 300 millimetre spacing around the out edge of the sheeting
  • Place the sheeting over the exterior opening and nail or Tek screw to the frame through the pre-drilled holes
    Finally; plan the securing process so that the worker inside the building can exit via the last opening before the whole building is secure and nail or screw sheeting over the worker's exit.
    Materials required
  • 13 millimetre plywood, form grade or corrugated iron sheeting or other non-combustible material
  • 100 x 50 millimetre timber for braces
  • 25 and 65 millimetre timber and metal TEK screws.
  • 50 and 75 millimetre galvanized bullet head or roofing nails
Barricaded and secured building - A "Hardened Target"

Even after securing a building with this advice it is important to patrol periodically, check barricades, remove rubbish and clean off graffiti.

To report suspicious persons or deliberate firelighting call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000

 

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