Let’s start educating buyers about ADQ

Secured by Design is arguably still seen by many homeowners as the Gold Standard in home security. That’s largely of course because of the work done by police forces, the SBD, and licence holders like Mila in promoting it over the years; but it also comes down to the fact that it is often used by new house builders as part of a high spec package in their sales pitch.

The two go hand in hand – buyers are aware of the benefits of SBD, so housebuilders advertise it.

Given the obvious success of Secured by Design then and the impact which we all know it can have on sales, I do question why, as an industry, we are not doing more to promote Approved Document Q in a similar way.

Obviously, ADQ is an element within SBD, but it is also the statutory legal requirement for new build homes now and should be giving the general public all the reassurance they need that a property they are buying is secure.

At the moment though, that message is simply not getting across. Even within this industry, awareness of the requirements of ADQ are just not where they should be, so it’s hardly surprising that a great many housebuilders and certainly the general public are blissfully unaware of the benefits.

I’ve written several times in Glass News about new homes where I know the rules of ADQ are being flouted because of ignorance, and that’s surely not acceptable more than three years after those rules were introduced.

Hardware specialists like Mila are very active in trying to get the message across to our customers and to the wider market about what is required, and the likes of SBD, GGF and DHF have been talking to the industry as a whole.

It’s proving to be pretty hard work though. There’s still considerable confusion about what ADQ means (essentially, it’s PAS24 accreditation) and about when it applies (it’s mandatory for ground level windows and doors in all new builds where work started on site after October 2016). Even in our industry, people mix up PAS24 approval with Kitemarked security and think it means you need to fit a 3 star cylinder when really you can combine a 1 star cylinder with a 2 star handle. Worse still, people think that if a product shows a Kitemark then it is secure, but that’s not always the case. It’s actually very straightforward though and certainly within reach of every professional fabricator.

I think we need a much more concerted effort moving forward to make sure that house builders understand what their obligations are in terms of ADQ, and that house buyers themselves are informed enough to ask the right questions of their builder before they sign on the bottom line.

I don’t think it’s naïve to assume that it will be demand from consumers which eventually convinces housebuilders and their suppliers to start promoting ADQ on their properties. I must say that if I was buying a new build house I would be more swayed to sign on the dotted line knowing that it was ADQ (PAS24) compliant rather than having a choice about what colour the tiles were in the ensuite!

The industry big boys have considerable resources behind them which they could potentially use to fund consumer education campaigns and to work alongside building inspectors, Crime Prevention Design Advisors (CPDA), Designing Out Crime Officers (DOCO) and Architectural Liaison Officers (ALO) so they aren’t blinkered to one solution.

ADQ of course only applies to the new build sector at the moment but increased awareness amongst consumers will surely have an impact on the refurbishment and retrofit sectors as well. A fabricator and installer who tells a consumer that they can upgrade their windows and doors to the ADQ standard would have an advantage over one who cannot.

I’d like us to get to a point where the industry sees ADQ as an opportunity and not an obstacle, but I think it’s going to take a concerted effort starting at the very top to get us to that point.

More info: www.mila.co.uk

As always, you can contact me for more information via: scooke@mila.co.uk or via Twitter:@StraffordCooke