Building Security Standards

Date: 18.08.2016     Last updated: 14.05.2019 at 15.42
This guidance explains the security requirements when acquiring, adapting and/or managing premises for occupation by BBC operations, its staff and contributors.

It applies to BBC Workplace, the BBC's property partners, Facilities management, and any BBC programme or division that rents, leases or purchases buildings, including those already in the property estate.

Minimum Building Security

Security arrangements for each building should aim to minimise the effects of, and the risks posed by, breaches of security.

Building security measures must therefore seek to provide:

  • A strong secure perimeter with a limited number of access points into the buildings
  • Controlled access of all people and vehicles onto sites - maximising the benefits achievable from the BBC's UK Access Control System
  • Heightened security measures for areas containing particularly sensitive items and/or key operational equipment, documents, records etc.
  • An intruder alarm system to support the physical security arrangements employed, supplemented, as appropriate, by CCTV cameras, etc.
  • Trained, knowledgeable security personnel where guarding needs to be deployed
  • Training of/communication with all building occupants and visitors to make them aware of security issues and the procedures that they are required to follow
  • Contingency plans and procedures in the event of security alerts and emergencies.

Adequate response from internal or external resources;

  • Regular liaison with appropriate external bodies, including:
  • Police
  • Fire Service
  • Ambulance Service
  • Local Authority
  • Utility Providers (Water, Gas and Electricity)
  • Communication Providers (e.g. telephone/radio communication providers).

All of the above should be integrated into a security strategy for every site determined by the Building Security Risk Assessment process. The strategy should incorporate all policies and procedures necessary to support and implement security measures identified for each building/site.

The BBC has an obligation to protect its staff and assets. Therefore, before the BBC acquires land for development, an existing building to occupy, or enters into an agreement with its property partners, a security risk assessment must be carried out by the BBC Head of Corporate Security & Investigations or competent person approved by them.

Building Security Standards

Basic minimum security standards, which are the starting point for any property occupied by the BBC are listed in the tables of Minimum Building Security Standards and the Reducing Risk Building Design Specification available from Head of Corporate Security & Investigations.

The building type and frequency of security risk assessment review are summarised in the table below. A Framework for BBC Building Security Risk Assessment Processes is agreed with BBC Corporate Security & Investigations. This also sets out the requirements for Competent or Nominated persons qualified to carry out Building Security Risk Assessments on behalf of Head of Corporate Security & Investigations. 


A. Major or Prime Sites & London (e.g. LBH, TVC, White City, Nations - Scotland Glasgow PQ, Wales Cardiff, NI Belfast, Broadcast Critical) - 12 months

B. Network Production Centres (e.g. Salford Quays Manchester) - 12 months

C. Co-Sites (e.g. Norwich, Southampton) - 24 months

D. Local Radio Stations - 24 months

E. Local Radio Outstations - 36 months

F. Retail Outlet - 36 months

New Build & Existing Building Adaption

It should be noted that the Minimum Building Security Standards apply to new build sites, existing BBC sites and buildings, and those developed for the BBC by their strategic property partners.

A building security risk assessment must be carried out at the earliest proposal to purchase land or buildings for eventual occupation by the BBC, whether directly or as a joint venture. This is to ensure that all premises occupied by BBC staff and carrying out broadcast functions must comply with the requirements set out in the BBC's Security Policy and Codes of Practice to provide buildings that are secure environments. Retrospective application of this process could result in additional unbudgeted expense and delays in project completion.

Security must be integral with fire and Equality (especially Disability Access) requirements. Facilities that contribute to the broadcast chain must not be compromised by levels of risk that could be mitigated by the application of the risk assessment process and deployment of at least minimum standards in addition to rigorous continuity planning.

When construction work is planned to take place in, or adjacent to, existing BBC occupied premises, it is recommended that an BBC Safety security risk assessment is carried out in conjunction with the local Facilities Management team, and the main contractor and/or agent responsible for the work.

Typical security measures for a project adjacent to occupied premises will be:

  • Provide suitable access controls to prevent unauthorised entry to occupied areas and/or technical facilities and prevent disruption to broadcast services such as remaining cabling, plant, or apparatus
  • Facilitate controlled entry for maintenance of essential broadcast or other services necessary for the occupation of parts of the building not involved in the development
  • Maintained broadcast facilities (including fire alarms, emergency public address and security systems required to maintain occupancy of areas not affected by the development) to be clearly marked on plans to prevent accidental damage by building work
  • Ensure secure perimeter boundary, and monitor with alarms and/or CCTV as indicated by the security risk assessment.
  • Establish contact points for the passing of security alert information to prevent disruption to broadcast services
  • Perimeter scaffolding to incorporate alarms and anti-climb measures to prevent its use as a protest platform
  • Develop contingency plans to cope with times of increased alert (public demonstrations and marches etc). 

Freehold/Leasehold Property Acquisition

A pre-acquisition security survey is carried out, as well as those for fire, asbestos, DDA, etc., and a full survey if the proposal proceeds.

Location Property Acquisition

Surveys are carried out at the pre-negotiation stage and full survey prior to investment proposal stage.

Facilities Management

The senior facilities manager with responsibility for security issues within a building is expected to:

  • Liaise with Division Managers on implementing any enhancements to building security arrangements that have been identified
  • ensure that security measures are cost-effective and based on a sound understanding of the risks and relevant Security Codes of Practice
  • compile and regularly review the Building Security Manual
  • provide advice and support to building occupants as required
  • ensure that security arrangements reflect the current Security Alert Level and any instructions from a BBC emergency response group
  • communicate effectively with building occupants regarding security measures and any heightened security risk
  • ensure that security matters are covered in all planning activities and building alterations
  • ensure that any incidents involving criminal, malicious or hostile intent or acts are reported to the Head of Corporate Security & Investigations
  • ensure that significant security threats against the BBC's staff, activities, services, operations or assets are communicated to senior managers. 

Building Security Manual

A Building Security Manual (BSM) must be prepared for every building occupied by the BBC and should be held within the building to which it relates. The BSM is a definitive reference for the management of security in the building concerned. It sets out the security strategy for the building.

Responsibility for the preparation of the BSM rests with the senior facilities manager for the building. The content of the BSM follows the generic security headings of the security Codes of Practice.

Access to the BSM should be restricted due to confidentiality, but it should be readily accessible at all times to those who need to inspect or use it. Templates for the BSM are available. 

Incidents and Occurrences

All BBC sites must have Incident and Contingency plans in place (Assignment Instructions, Incident Handling Manual or Emergency Procedures Manual respectively, CBR Lockdown). These should be integrated with the BBC's Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Team (BCDRT) planning process.

An element of the plans is to ensure that all incidents and occurrences are correctly recorded into Corporation records and are investigated and reported within laid down time frames. See the Accident/Incident Reporting Guidelines for more details.

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