By Leon Harris CPP
Published in INsite, April/May 2002
In my August/September 2001 article “New development guidelines will impact on NSW facility operators”, I advised that, with the guidelines to section 79C of the Environmental Planning and Assessment 1979 (NSW), operators should “…instruct their architects/project managers to consult with specialist CPTED practitioners at the initial planning stage of any development whether it be for a nursing home, hostel or retirement village.” Unfortunately, there are many either still unaware of the guidelines or who choose to travel the same course as in the past. A number of councils have begun assessing development applications and where it can be identified that crime prevention principles have not been adequately considered, are rejecting the applications. Subsequent submissions with amendments are reassessed. Unfortunately for the developer, this delays the start of construction and increases costs. Reports are surfacing that disputes between council and developers in this area are now being heard in the Land and Environment Court and at least one developer was unsuccessful. As mentioned previously, to reduce the potential for delays and increasing costs, professional advice should ideally be sought at the planning stage. Architects are starting to acknowledge that CPTED is outside their traditional professional boundaries.
Although these guidelines only impact on NSW developments at present, in time other states and territories may have to face similar challenges. Operators and developers should also consider that by applying crime prevention principles to new developments, they should assist in facilities meeting their future Certification requirements.
There is an additional advantage to utilising the knowledge of CPTED practitioners. Regardless of which state or territory facility operators or developers are located in, they have the opportunity to promote the fact to potential clients and their families that crime prevention strategies have been considered and applied in the development of their site.
Importantly, the application of crime prevention strategies to any new development will also assist in ensuring that a duty of care should be more easily proven, particularly in situations of violence.
Leon Harris CPP, is the principal consultant for Harris Crime Prevention Services.
Harris Crime Prevention Services provides on an occasional basis articles by other Industry experts, such as: How Airports apply designing out crime principles