Designing Out Crime – Part 2: BREEAM Security Needs Assessment (SNA)

An evidence-based ‘Security Needs Assessment’ (SNA) under BREEAM aims to encourage the planning and implementation of measures that provide an appropriate level of security to a building and site.

BREEAM UK New Construction 2018 provides one credit (known as Hea 06) for a Security Needs Assessment to be conducted by a ‘Suitably Qualified Security Specialist’ (SQSS). There is a similar provision in BREEAM UK Refurbishment and Fit-Out, recognising the equal importance of the opportunity provided by building renovation and refurbishment.

Hea 06 defines a Security Needs Assessment as “the project and site-specific assessment of security needs”, and requires:

  • A visual audit of the site and surroundings
  • Formal consultation with relevant stakeholders
  • Identification of risks specific to the use and user groups of the building
  • Identification of any detrimental effects the development may have on the existing community

Hea 06 should be undertaken at RIBA Stage 2 (initial concept design) to ensure that its recommendations can be incorporated into the building design. There is a clarification that elements of Hea 06 can be achieved later if the SQSS confirms that the implementation of security measures has not been ‘restricted, impaired or are not possible as a result of their later involvement’.

Hea 06 requires consultation with local stakeholders to obtain data on crime and disorder issues in the immediate vicinity of the proposed development. ADW undertakes this to ensure that up-to-date information on specific local and emerging crime types and criminal methods are included and provides an interpretation of available data in a readily digestible form.

“Hea 06 is one of the credits under BREEAM that if considered early can lead to positive improvements in building design and placemaking’ says Ken Graham, security consultant and qualified ‘SQSS’ for ADW Developments.

“It’s an opportunity for the client and the design team to understand some of the options that can ultimately lead to both a better place to live or work, and greater satisfaction and wellbeing for occupiers. If considered early, the recommendations from a security needs assessment can often lead to cost savings in future by avoiding major retrofit, as well as the human and financial cost should crime occur.”

There can, of course, be differences for example if a building designed to be occupied by a single tenant or is being developed speculatively for multiple tenants. However, BREEAM Hea 06 is designed to cater for a variety of options and considerations.

“BREEAM Hea 06 need not be prescriptive” says Ken. “At ADW we are prepared to work alongside the design team to assess various options, given the site, location and nature of the building, and what is equally important is the purpose of the building, the likely tenants and business to be undertaken in the premises. In fact, we find working alongside the team at the start can bring major benefits”.

ADW Developments have provided SNAs for buildings around the UK – including major office and mixed use developments in London and other urban areas, to schools and health care buildings around the UK. Whatever the type of building or the intended client, the approach of consulting with the client and the design team remains consistent from the start.


For those with security concerns that go beyond immediate BREEAM requirements – either due to specific site characteristics, location or perhaps the nature of the use of the building – there is SABRE, BRE’s security risk management standard for new and existing buildings. SABRE allows organisations to evidence their commitment to security and communicate their ability to manage security risks. This provides valuable assurance to tenants, insurers, investors, regulators, planning authorities and other interested parties. The SABRE assessment process follows a framework incorporating nine technical sections and 70 assessment issues. For each section there is an aim and each technical issue includes criteria and suitable metrics for demonstrating compliance. Use of SABRE provides a further exemplary credit under BREEAM UK New Construction 2018.

Read Designing Out Crime – Part 1: A Vital Part of Building Design

ADW have provided BREEAM Security Needs Assessments for clients and buildings throughout the UK and beyond. For more information see our BREEAM Hea 06 Security web page or contact us to discuss your needs on enquiries(at)

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