Physical security protection of buildings and other facilities

With much attention being placed on the role of emerging technologies in the fight against crime and terrorism, it is often easy to become detracted from the basics. However, good physical security is the bedrock of effective security. Without the delay to intrusion provided by effective physical security, detection simply tells you the intruder has been and gone. It is therefore always important to ensure suitable physical security measures are in place and that those measures provide sufficient delay to enable the intruder to be detected and a suitable response mounted in order to apprehend the intruder.


The delay provided by physical security products and systems is typically measured in terms of the tools and time required to achieve entry through those products and systems. These combine to indicate the effort required by an intruder in order to gain unauthorised access through the physical security barrier.

Using products and systems that achieve a higher rating, or using a layered approach to physical security, can greatly increase the effort an intruder needs to exert in order to gain entry. That effort extends beyond the physical work required to overcome the physical security barriers. It also includes the effort required to plan and prepare for the attack. The greater the level of planning and preparation a criminal must invest in to conduct a successful attack, the less likely that criminal will consider the return on their investment will be sufficient to warrant attempting that attack.

As the security ratings increase, the size and weight of tools used increases. Using larger, heavier tools increases an intruder’s likelihood of being detected through natural surveillance. They can also slow down the intruder if they need to carry those tools onto the site being attacked. This also increases the risk to the intruder of being caught. The greater that risk, the less likely the criminal is to conduct the attack in the first instance.

So how do security managers and other specifiers confirm whether a physical security product will afford a suitable delay against the tools and techniques likely to be employed by a determined intruder?

LPS 1175 Requirements and testing procedures for the LPCB approval and listing of intruder resistant building components, strongpoints, security enclosures and free-standing barriers confirms the resistance to forced entry provided by security products, systems and building materials. While Issues 6 and 7 specified eight levels of resistance (security ratings), the latest version (Issue 8) defines a performance classification formed of the following two elements:

  • Threat level (first element) - Letter (A to H) corresponding with the tool kit used to evaluate the product’s intruder resistance and the number of attackers involved.
  • Delay (second element) - Numeric value (1, 3, 5, 10, 15 or 20) corresponding with the minimum delay (in minutes) provided by the product when placed in a locked condition.

LPS 1175 covers the broadest scope of forced entry threat scenarios involving intruders that have little regard to the noise they make during attempts to achieve unauthorised access to assets, property and people. It also covers the broadest scope of physical security products and services of any publicly available standard in the world. This includes, but is certainly not restricted to, the following types of product:

  • Access covers
  • Cladding systems
  • Containers
  • Curtain walling systems
  • Enclosures
  • Entrance portals
  • Fences and gates
  • Folding doorsets
  • Garage doorsets
  • Hinged doorsets
  • Grilles
  • Modular buildings
  • Partitioning systems
  • Revolving doorsets
  • Roofing systems
  • Security cabinets
  • Security screens
  • Sheds and tool stores
  • Skylights
  • Sliding doorsets
  • Strongpoints
  • Vehicles
  • Walling systems
  • Windows


The classification system defined in LPS 1175 Issue 8 supports a layered approach to security, enabling the delay provided by products forming each layer of security to be determined against a common threat.

Further information on the security rating system and attack tools can be found in the standard itself, which can be downloaded for free from

In addition to certifying products to LPS 1175, LPCB also certifies products to the following standards:

  • EN 1627 Pedestrian doorsets, windows, curtain walling, grilles and shutters – Burglar resistance - Requirements and classification.
  • PAS 24 Enhanced security performance requirements for doorsets and windows in the UK - Doorsets and windows intended to offer a level of security suitable for dwellings and other buildings exposed to comparable risk.
  • LPS 2081 Requirements and testing procedures for the LPCB approval and listing of building components, strongpoints, security enclosures and free-standing barriers offering resistance to intruders attempting to use stealth to gain entry.

EN 1627 is the European standard aimed at façade security products used in domestic and commercial situations. Its lower levels, i.e. up to Resistance Class 3, are primarily aimed at situations where criminals are more likely to use stealth for fear of attracting attention when attempting to force entry into premises.

PAS 24 is a UK standard that is primarily aimed at windows and doors used in domestic applications where intruders generally use stealth to avoid detection. The level of resistance offered by products certified to PAS 24 is generally lower than that provided by products approved to LPS 1175, especially if the products incorporate glass or in situations where the criminal can make sustained amounts of noise while attempting entry. Nonetheless, Secured by Design (SBD) have reported a significant reduction in domestic burglary as a result of the use of products approved to PAS 24.

LPS 2081 defines two levels (security ratings) of resistance to manual attack by opportunist intruders attempting to use a combination of physical bodily force, stealth and a selection of tools that are easily concealed about the person in order to gain entry. The protection against forced entry provided by products certified to Security Rating B in LPS 2081 is likely to be roughly akin to that provided by products certified to PAS 24.

Products approved to LPS 2081 and PAS 24 should generally only be used in environments in which intruders are highly likely to avoid making noise in order to evade detection through natural surveillance. If it is considered intruders operating in the environment may be willing to use tools and techniques likely to result in levels of noise more likely to draw attention to their actions (e.g. breaking glass), reference should be made to LPS 1175. Likewise, specifications should reference LPS 1175 if it is considered intruders operating in the environment are likely to be willing to spend longer than three minutes attacking the product, or would use larger tools to gain entry.

BRE Global has published a free guide to the standards mentioned above entitled ‘Façade Security Standards Specifiers Guide’. The guide is available to download for free from the righthandside of this page under downloads. It includes charts comparing the scope of product types covered by each standard and the likely levels of resistance to forced entry delivered by products certified to each standard. 

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