Fire safety regulations are nothing new to the industry, but designing an emergency escape door that also offers high security is. Here Jeff Pearson, Sales and Marketing Director at Jack Aluminium talks about what is stoking commercial emergency escape door design in today’s market.
Fire safety regulations remain a top priority for commercial doors. People know what is needed to meet them, but emergency escape doors also need to perform higher on security and specifiers are under pressure to find a door that can do both.
The problem is that even with measures in place to meet more demanding security requirements, emergency escape doors are still vulnerable to attack. By their nature they are quick to release and often on the perimeter of buildings. This makes them an immediate security risk for tampering either with a wire threaded under or over the door to hit the panic bar device or forced entry, so they are locked when the premises are left empty.
This disables the panic bar completely so if the door is accidently left locked whilst the building is occupied, or a person is left in the building after the door is locked, the door won’t open from inside. This creates a fire safety issue.
Security performance is being pushed even further up the agenda for specifiers now that Secured by Design is being listed more commonly as a requirement in tenders for schools, hospitals, hotels and new homes. In the last year the Police initiative has published three new guides to help developers, architects and planners design out crime in schools, homes and commercial buildings.
Secured by Design requires doorsets to go through rigorous testing at extreme levels by a UKAS accredited certification body such as BM Trada, and the expectation is for door security to meet minimum standards, including PAS 24.
Door manufacturers and fabricators are faced with the challenge of creating the perfect emergency escape door that does it all for specifiers – a door that tackles fire safety and high security.
The shortcut to this is often to adapt an existing door. But it’s not good enough to just add bits on as an afterthought. Without the investment into research & development and testing it will only create a clumpy, awkward door with increased cost which is passed down the supply chain and makes products less competitive.
Jack Aluminium knew an emergency escape door would need to resolve the problem of securing anti-panic doors, so it designed high performance locking in from the start with the TD68 Pivot Anti-Panic Door.
The TD68 Pivot Anti-Panic Door features a unique rebated low threshold and lock strike plate below 15mm to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). The rebate prevents tampering of the internal panic device from a wire under or over the door leaf and the strike plate supports the lock during an attack where external doors are vulnerable to forced entry.
It also incorporates the Adams Rite Sentinel M 3 Point Anti-panic Lock with 3 star security cylinder. It can still be opened in an emergency from the inside using a standard panic door exit device but the unique design means the door can be locked internally to ensure it is secure on the outside.
Delivering Secured by Design in emergency escape doors down the supply chain was a focus for Jack Aluminium. It worked with BM Trada to achieve the PAS 24 security standard and Q-Mark certification under the Enhanced Security Door Scheme for the TD68 Pivot Anti-Panic Door. To help customers this data was cascaded down to manufacturers and fabricators to make achieving the requirements set out by Secured by Design with the doorset easier and quicker.
With fire safety and security sorted, Jack Aluminium added in another benefit, energy efficiency. As there is growing demand to make commercial building products more energy efficient, the TD68 Door also includes a thermally broken threshold to achieve a U-value of 1.7W/m2K, making it one of the most thermally efficient commercial doors available.
Jack Aluminium’s approach to designing commercial aluminium doors is best summed up by the concept of Value Engineering, which defines the value of a product by its ability to satisfy performance requirements and remain competitively priced. It’s the reason why all of its products are designed from scratch to cut out the extra costs and why they’re tested to meet the increasingly stringent requirements.
Designed without compromise to offer manufacturers and fabricators a cost effective way to resolve the issues of fire safety and security with added energy efficiency: The result of this ethos is the TD68 Pivot Anti-Panic Door.