Chantel Roach, Sales and Marketing Director for Distinction Doors, considers how the proven performance of composite doors is making them an increasingly popular specification choice in the social housing sector.
Demand for composite doors has increased year-on-year for the past 20 years, from 50,000 doors back in 1998 before peaking at 765,000 in 2017. Interest has been driven by their style and aesthetic appeal, thermal efficiency and low maintenance properties — they require little more than a wipe down with a damp cloth, a task that can be undertaken by a resident, rather than the time-poor, budget-constrained maintenance teams.
In the late 90s and early 2000s markets were changing, and new legislation and regulations in both social and new-build housing brought opportunities for composite doors. Today, these doors can be found on social and private housing developments up and down the country. A wide selection of styles, sizes and trimmable options mean that composite doors can be installed right across a development, from front and rear entrance doors to bin and shed doors.
Composite doors for Cheshire
One housing association in Salford has been working with approved supplier, Sovereign Group, to deliver composite doors for around 250 properties across the north west of England. A Distinction Doors fabrication partner, Sovereign provides entrance doors for replacement, refurbishment and new-build schemes.
Working with its local authority customers, the composite door manufacturer creates bespoke product packages based on their requirements. As a fabricator, Sovereign can access hundreds of door styles in a multitude of colours and stains — Distinction Doors offers 116 contemporary door styles, for example.
A recent order on behalf of the Salford-based housing association saw Sovereign supply and fit replacement doors for 10 properties in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. Tenant’s choice offered four door styles — solid, six panel; sunburst with half-moon glazing; six panel with twin top glazing and solid with two vertical glazing panels — for front and rear entrances. Residents could choose from white, red, green and blue, with gold or silver hardware. For those with glazed doors, clear or obscure glass could be selected.
Secured by Design
Frances Austin, Managing Director of Sovereign Group, highlights the importance of security: “Secured by Design is no longer an option, it’s a requirement. We work with many local authorities and local government organisations and security is often the key driver for change — whether that’s a replacement door or providing enhanced security on a new-build development. We are proud to be a SBD certified door supplier.”
A GRP (glass reinforced polyester) composite door offers high security thanks to its rigid polymer sub-frame, high-density insulated core and high impact resistant GRP skin. The door leaf and glazing system are major components when part of a door set and have a proven ability to achieve PAS 24:2016, a prerequisite in attaining certification to Secured by Design.
According to the Annual fuel poverty statistics report: 2019 (2017 data) released by the ONS, ‘Social housing properties tend to be more energy-efficient resulting in lower energy costs, and therefore, limiting the prevalence and depth of fuel poverty within these property types.’
The report goes on to outline that the majority of fuel poor households live in a Band D property, with annual fuel costs around £1,190. Of those living in a Band D property, just 19% live in social housing; the remaining 46% of the fuel poor are owner occupied and 35% privately rent.
Investment in products such as composite doors is one of the reasons that the social housing sector is showing such positive energy efficiency results compared to private rental and owner occupied. Rather than a one-off purchase, registered providers commit to high volumes and this of course, has impact, helping to drive down heat loss across multiple properties.
When independently tested against a solid timber core composite door (48mm) and a timber panelled door (44mm), one of the UK’s leading composite doors (44.5mm) is proven to be more than 17% more thermally efficient than both of these alternative door types. Sovereign Group, for example, can achieve a U-value as low as 0.9W/m2K with its composite door offering.