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This section deals with flat entrance doors above ground floor that open onto deck access balconies, or into an internal landing or corridor. In the latter case it is likely that the door is the only way into your flat. It is assumed that doors that open into an internal landing or corridor have no glazing. It is further assumed that your doorset is not fitted with a multi-point lock and is not an enhanced security doorset.
Because this door is likely to be fire resistant you are advised to use the services of a qualified person as the existing fittings on the door are likely to have been certificated to various British Standards (and may well have been tested with the doorset during the fire test) and certain additional fittings on the door may affect its fire resistance performance.
A qualified person in this context might be a holder of the Loss Prevention Certification Board’s standard LPS 1271 Issue 1.1 (Installation of fire and security doorsets) , a manufacturer of fire doors, a member of a relevant trade association or a member of the Master Locksmith Association. (See Fire doors in a domestic setting in this chapter for further information)
Some or all of the following standards will be relevant for your fire door.
BS 476 Part 22: 1987 Fire tests on building materials and structures. Methods for determination of the fire resistance of non-load bearing elements of construction
BS EN 1634-1: 2008 Fire resistance and smoke control tests for door, shutter and, openable window assemblies and elements of building hardware. Fire resistance tests for doors, shutters and openable windows.
BS EN 1634-2:2008 Fire resistance and smoke control tests for door, shutter and openable window assemblies and elements of building hardware. Fire resistance characterisation test for elements of building hardware
BS EN 1634-3:2004 Fire resistance and smoke control tests for door and shutter assemblies, openable windows and elements of building hardware. Smoke control test for door and shutter assemblies
BS EN 1154: 1997 Building hardware. Controlled door closing devices. Requirements and test methods or BS EN 1155:1997 Building hardware. Electrically powered hold-open devices for swing doors. Requirements and test method.
Minimum security requirements
The following bullet points indicate the minimum security requirements for a private timber flat entrance door that should satisfy your insurance company’s requirements, but you must check with them first.
- The door should be a minimum 44mm thick with a solid core and fire resistant for a period that is determined by building regulations. Fire resistance will be required for doors opening onto internal landings and corridors and may be required for a door that opens onto an open balcony, so you should check with the local Building Control if you want to change the door
- It should be hung on three hinges
- The frame should be secured to the brick or block with screws or frame fixers at maximum centres of 600mm and within 300mm from each corner. You may not be able to identify the fixing points on an old door frame
- The door should be fitted with a BS 8621 mortice sashlock with the latch bolt operable from both sides of the door by a handle (a solid spindle). The deadbolt on these locks is operated by a thumbturn on the inside and a key from the outside. This arrangement allows you to escape in an emergency without the use of a key. It also allows you to walk out into the corridor to investigate an incident or raise an alarm without locking yourself out of the flat
- A pair of hinge bolts
- A door limiter or door chain might be useful, but see Door limiters and chains in Door locks, hardware and fittings
- A door viewer for looking into the landing or onto the access balcony
- A letter plate deflector (or hood) to protect the letter plate (if you have one) and prevent access to the turn knob on the door lock
- A door closer of sufficient strength to ensure that the door will close against the latching mechanism and the door seals
Additional security measures
The following additional security measures can be added if you live in an area with crime risks higher than the average
- A security grille can be fitted to the back of a glazed panel (if it has one) to prevent a glass breaker accessing the turn knob on the back of the lock
- Ordinary glass in a glazed panel can be replaced with 6.4mm or thicker laminated glass (See Glazing for domestic security )
- Reinforcing bars can be fitted on the inner face of the hinge and locking frames
- Reinforcing plates can be fitted on either side of the mortice sashlock
- If you intend to replace the doorset, the best option would be to replace it with a fire door that is also certificated to PAS 24:2012 Enhanced security performance requirements for doorsets and windows in the UK. External doorsets and windows intended to offer a level of security suitable for dwellings and other buildings exposed to comparable risk. (Previously PAS 24: 2007 +A1: 2009 Enhanced security performance requirements for door assemblies. You should get one with a multi point lock that has handles on both sides to operate the latch bolt and a thumbturn on the inside to deadlock the multi point locks.
Additional notes – fire safety
The National House-Building Council (NHBC), who warrant more than 80% of new homes, do allow a different locking arrangement for the private flat entrance doors located on the ground floor, providing there are alternative emergency egress windows that enable exit onto level ground and there are no emergency egress windows that exit above the ground floor. This means that you could have the key operation on the inside of the door lock or locks.
If your flat has an alternative means of escape you may be able to use a mortice sashlock that is certificated to BS 10621. This type of lock is basically the same as a BS 8621 lock, but it allows you to lock the internal thumbturn from the outside. This is a particularly useful facility if there are ground floor windows or alternative doors through which an intruder could enter, because a locked door on the inside would force the burglar to exit via the way he came and might reduce the amount of property he could steal.
However, you are advised not to make any changes as noted in the above two paragraphs unless you have first discussed this with Building Control, the landlord and or building management.
You must also discuss this matter with your insurers to ensure they are satisfied with your additional security measures, because insurers usually specify a 5-lever key operated lock or a BS 3621 lock, which has key operation on both sides.