What Are The Best Apartment Door Considerations?

There are some key factors to bear in mind when specifying doorsets for your apartment building project, all of which are rooted in – what we would identify as – four key considerations. They are:

-Acoustic properties

-Security

-Fire safety

-Design and aesthetics

All of these play a crucial role in achieving the best solution for your client and neglecting one element may impact the overall result that you deliver.

Whilst a correctly fitted fire doorset serves the same purpose regardless of application, apartment buildings have unique challenges and design opportunities that should be taken into consideration before embarking upon your project. We aim to cover those unique challenges in this post.

Read on to find out more…

A Fire Doorset Which Provides A High Level of Security

Apartment fire doors with high levels of security

Since fewer apartment buildings have 24-hour manned concierge these days, fire doors are becoming the first point of security in mitigating any intrusion or unauthorised access in an apartment block. It stands to reason, therefore, that your fire doorset should be rigorously tested for its security credentials.

The British Standard, PAS 24, is a minimum standard by which all new buildings may need to adhere to in order to comply with current Building Regulations. It is a set of tests designed to assess the security of a door against the effects of an opportunistic burglar.

Do I Need a Fire Door With a Three-Point Locking system?

A common misconception for specifiers is that the external doors of an apartment block need to have a multipoint or ‘three-point’ locking system for it to be ‘fit for purpose’ and to gain PAS 24, when, in fact, this is not the case.

A high-performance, quality doorset will adhere to the PAS 24 standard with a one-point locking system and are more competitive to procure, manufacture and install when compared to multipoint alternatives. Overall, this makes for a more economical doorset solution.

What Are The Benefits Of A One-Point Locking System For An Apartment Door?

Aside from it being a more economical and competitive solution, single-point locking looks more visually appealing than it’s multilock counterpart, which some argue gives your door a ‘prison-like’ feel. Single locks are more contemporary and traditional.

Secondly, most access control (electronic) locks either do not work with – or are hard to adapt to – multipoint locking. This issue does not arise in single-point locking. So, if using a fob or key card to access anywhere in an apartment block, we would suggest a single-point locking system, to ensure access control compatibility.

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Fire Rated Doors for Apartment Buildings

internal fire door in apartment building

As you will be aware, fire doors are specified by their resistance and this is rated in minutes (30, 60, 90 or 120). Depending on the use and/or location of the door, a higher or lower fire-rating would be needed.

For example, main routes of escape will require a higher fire rating (e.g. 60 minutes or 120 minutes) compared to a toilet or bathroom door which may only need a 30-minute resistance, if any fire rating at all.

For your individual project, the level of fire resistance will be determined by the fire strategy, which is designed by a fire prevention expert. Their role will be to closely assess the building requirements.

Fire Doorset Acoustic Properties

In any dwelling, the comfort of the end-user must be factored into your design, and that’s why acoustic properties are of particular importance when it comes to fire doorset specification in apartment buildings.

For front doors, we recommend a 35db rating, but you may want to consider additional acoustic properties around communal areas or near lifts. In this instance, we’d recommend up to a 40db rating.

Design and Aesthetics of your Fire Door

There are opportunities to experiment with the height and width of your fire doorset without exceeding your budget. This may be worth considering when specifying front doors or doors in hallways as a means of making an impactful statement at a minimal if any extra cost.

You may also consider a better-quality finish for the front doors of the apartment block, whilst opting for a more standard solution for interior doorsets. One thing to bear in mind, however, is continuity of design. In choosing common veneer/laminate colours/finishes, it will be much easier to replace the leaf in the event of damage.

Finishing Both Sides of the Door Leaf (Dual Finish)

It is also possible to achieve different finishes on either side of the door leaf, which is particularly useful if you want to create an impactful front door but a more subtle, consistent aesthetic in the interior.

Quest to be Unique

If you are looking for a statement, why not try something different with the entrance door leaf finish. You have a quest to be unique in your design. Why not call us and we can develop your ambitions together?

Fire Doorset Lipping

Another consideration for both aesthetics and longevity of the door leaf is lipping. We recommend a door leaf that is lipped around all four edges, as opposed to two edges – the latter of which you are likely to find on ‘off the shelf’ products.

A door leaf that is lipped around all four edges means that the facing material (whether it’s veneer or laminate) will go to a nice, tight and clean edge. Whilst this has significant aesthetic benefits, it can also increase the longevity of the door leaf. A door that is not lipped around all four edges will expose the facing material and will deteriorate quicker.

Lipping bad example Lipping RW Joinery Quality

The above images show two door leaves: one lipped long edges and one that is lipped all around. Can you see the difference?

From Our Experience:

Here are some key takeaways for you to consider with your apartment project:

-Whilst we advocate a statement piece, try not to let doorsets exceed 930mm wide or 2200mm high. (cores over this size may have adverse effect on fire certification or cost. That doesn’t mean it is not feasible, it is. But they may cost a little more)

-Try not to exceed a 35db acoustic rating. (This is a high acoustic rating, and more than adequate for normal apartment living, further it can be achieved using our economic Stockade core. Higher acoustic rating is achievable using our Soundbloc cores, however these may cost a little more)

-As mentioned earlier, 3 point locking isn’t compulsory for PAS 24 certification. (we have plenty of PAS24 certification using single point locking, with and without access control. We can also achieve over height, over width and a concealed door closer. These are pretty incredible Pas24 doorset specifications)

Conclusion

And there you have it: key considerations to get the most out of your apartment building fire doors. To recap, security, fire safety, acoustic and design properties are all key components in ensuring the effectiveness of your fire doorset.

For further information, or to chat to an expert about your upcoming project, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us on 0161 480 8722 or drop us an email on info@rwjoinery.co.uk

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