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When evaluating communal entry security, Fire Regulations must take precedence over all other considerations. If in any doubt, consult your local Fire Officer as well as your local police Crime Prevention Officer.

Construction of doors and frames

Wooden doors and frames should be of solid hardwood or solid core construction. The door must be to a minimum thickness of 44mm and the frame should have a rebate of not less than 18mm. Three good quality 100mm hinges and two hinge bolts should support the hinge side. To achieve additional frame strength, consider using steel reinforcing or London/Birmingham bars.

Glazed or glass panelled doors should preferably be of a minimum 6.4mm laminated glass or equivalent strength polycarbonate sheet, with consideration given to utilising internal grilles as additional protection, especially where lock releases could be accessed through a broken pane. Before installing polycarbonate sheets you must seek a fire officer’s consent. Glazed doors which have no frame, even if constructed of toughened or safety glass, offer little resistance to attack and cannot easily be reinforced.

It should not be possible to gain access to locks or security fittings via letter boxes. Their siting into walls sufficiently far from doors or windows should be encouraged. However, if they are fitted to the door, the recommendation is to install a basket or protective plate to prevent the unauthorised operation of the locking devices. In either case, the plate must be sited at least 400mm from the locks.