Typical measures that help to deter, detect, and delay a terrorist attack are set out below. They are grouped under four key counter-terrorism design principles: better blast resistance; better building management facilities; better traffic management and hostile vehicle mitigation measures; and better oversight. Source: Counter-terrorism and good design.

Counter-terrorism design principles and examples of measures:

Better blast resistance

  • external barriers or a strengthened perimeter to prevent a penetrative (ramming) or close proximity (parked or encroachment) attack;
  • use of building materials which reduce the risk of fragmentation including blast resistant glazing and structural design which reduces the risk of building collapse; and
  • install doors and locks which are better able to withstand entry from armed intruders and provide robust ground floor facade material, which together will help to provide cover for people caught up in a firearms attack.

Better building management facilities

  • entrance arrangements which resist hostile entry;
  • the separation of general heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems for entrance areas, delivery areas and mailrooms from those occupying the main occupied spaces;
  • air intakes that are in a secure area and above first floor level;
  • hazardous material stores that are at a safe distance from the building; and
  • communications systems (e.g. public address systems) installed to pass on advice to those caught up in a firearms attack.

Better traffic management and hostile vehicle mitigation measures

  • structural measures that prevent access to, or close proximity of, unscreened vehicles to the building or space; and
  • measures that reduce the speed of vehicles approaching the site or its defences, like bends or chicanes.

Better oversight

  • clear lines of sight around a building;
  • absence of recesses on the façade or elevations of a building;
  • uncluttered street furniture;
  • well maintained and managed litter-free building surrounds that reduce the opportunity for suspicious hidden items and suspect activity to go unnoticed;
  • CCTV and security guarding to provide formal oversight;
  • orientating the building so that it overlooks public space and neighbouring buildings to support informal oversight by those who use and visit the location; and
  • well-managed access points and reception facilities that offer less opportunity for intruders to go undetected and may deter them from taking further action.


Home Office Counter Terrorism https://www.gov.uk/crime-justice-and-law/counter-terrorism

National Counter-Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) http://www.nactso.gov.uk

Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) https://www.cpni.gov.uk/

Further advice on the Register of Security Engineers and Specialists (RSES) are also available from the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) (see website: http://www.ice.org.uk). ICE details can also be found on http://www.cpni.gov.uk and http://www.nactso.gov.uk

Crowded Places Guidance https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/crowded-places-guidance