The entrances and exits of a building are much more than just edifices for people to get in and out of a particular structure, they also guide people in a certain direction, aid in emergency exit strategies, act as security devices and keep the elements out and the artificial atmosphere in.
Before a building’s design is even initialised, two of the most important aspects for the architect and client to define are the doors and the security requirements. It is important that a door offers security, but also presents a welcoming environment, so it is vital to consider the aesthetics of the door, as well as the security it offers, the function it fulfils and what kind of maintenance it needs.
“Control of access into and out of a building is a crucial aspect of the security chain and easily breached at access points, such as doorways. Barrier security can only do the job for which it was designed if users are disciplined about keeping the barriers closed and locked,” explains Charlene Botha of Trellicor Group.
Leading Architecture spoke to experts in the door industry:
Q Are budgets for new commercial and retail developments normally sufficient to include the right door for the right application?
Marike Fourie, Swartland: Developments will always have a budget constraint and it is the decision of the developer where to cut on costs. Doors are fairly affordable items and the variety is so big that you can choose the right design that will fit your budget.
Caren Turnbull, Xpanda: Although interest rates have been steadily climbing, coupled with the fuel and steel prices reaching all time highs, the spend in the commercial sector has not really slowed down. Commercial developments may be paying a little more for security doors compared to what they did last year, but they are still getting the same good quality products.
Charlene Botha, Trellicor Group: Budgets for industrial doors are seldom realistic. Coroma custom designs doors to suit every aspect of an application, whereas specifiers with insufficient information may take the aperture at face value and simply specify a product to fill the space.
When it comes to sliding barrier security, products such as Trellidor are not often specified for new developments in spite of the disturbing crime rate. Many housing estates and office park developments rely too heavily on perimeter security. In reality though, these estates make for easy pickings if perimeter security is breached as criminals have easy access to the unsecured homes and businesses.
Regarding roller shutter doors, new developments are well catered for in terms of product specification. Most roller shutter doors are specified right up front, and are part of the build specification.
Kuzette du Toit, Arieta Doors: The budgets are normally too low to allow for the ideal door application.
Q What are the latest trends in door design in commercial and retail buildings?
Swartland: Horizontal slatted doors for interior and front doors are the latest trends, as well as plain painted flush doors.
Xpanda: There has definitely been a move towards aesthetically pleasing doors. Aluminium sectional overhead doors for shop fronts and showroom are the more popular choice, with powder coated finishes and toughened glass panels.
Trellicor Group: Nowadays, clients are trying to juggle aesthetics, practicality and security. In terms of our products, Coroma’s glass and aluminium security door designs are extremely popular for retail shop fronts and showrooms as they are attractive and allow a full view of products on the shop floor. When opened, they stack neatly overhead and when closed, present a modern exterior to the building. They can be powder coated in the outlet’s corporate colours and logos can be sandblasted or etched onto the glass, maintaining corporate identity.
Ease of use is essential for industrial doors. Coroma’s Corosteel doors are motorised and quick to open, making them suitable for factories and large office complexes. These doors also provide attractive security to frequently used entrances and exits.
Arieta Doors: When it comes to trends in doors, we are seeing a lot of aluminium and glass being used with a very modern design approach.
Q What security concerns influence the design of doors in commercial and retail developments?
Swartland: Many developers use standard doors and then use additional security systems and doors to secure the entrances of buildings.
Xpanda: We understand customers’ concerns that security these days is a grudge purchase, but a necessity, so whenever we look at a new design, we always look at ways to soften the look without affecting the strength. Xpanda designs doors to suit the South African environment. With crime in our country being a huge concern, we have developed security doors and gates that can withstand a ‘front-on assault’ by criminals.
Trellicor Group: Aesthetic needs are more important than security needs in retail, hence the popularity of glass and aluminium designs. These doors do, however, provide excellent security too.
Doors that secure commercial buildings often have to protect merchandise from both criminals and the weather, while still having to look attractive. Coroma’s products are custom designed to address these requirements.
Security doors should be custom designed to fit each doorway to maximise the barrier’s integrity in terms of strength. Architectural features and embellishments can present a challenge in terms of security and if not planned for, could compromise installation. Trellidor is trying to encourage commercial and domestic property owners to plan for barrier security in advance, so that the building’s openings can be designed to allow for the optimum fitting of fixed or sliding barriers.
Retail and chain stores need an aesthetically pleasing product. They often request high visibility for both security reasons and to allow merchandise to be visible after hours. It is also important that the roller shutter is rolled up out of sight during working hours, keeping the outlet entrance clear and unhindered.
When it comes to security, aesthetics again play a major role. It is important that the building is made secure discreetly and that the security systems adopted are not obtrusive and intimidating to users. This is particularly important in retail environments, which these days are looked upon as lifestyle destinations.
According to Greg Scott of Assa Abloy, “Effective security is always an interplay of three elements: firstly, natural and architectural barriers, including anything from landscaping strategies that discourage access, to the number, size, type and location of doors and windows in the building, secondly human security, including the protection offered by guards and other personnel and finally, electronic security.”
Q How do security concerns influence the design of commercial and retail buildings?
Greg Scott, Assa Abloy: Firstly, what is the system designed to protect? Obviously, a security system’s most important job is to provide safety for employees or visitors who use the building. The building’s contents also need protection from damage or loss. In technically sophisticated facilities, it’s not only material property, but information – and the systems that carry it – that must be protected from harm.
Next, what is the function of the building? In certain buildings, the potential dangers from within the facility are as great as any that may come from outside. In these cases, egress from the building is as crucial as the control of access to the building.
Richard McGhee, ADT Security: Currently not much consideration is being given to security when it comes to the structural design of buildings.
Lianne Cox, Centurion Systems: In every aspect where a would-be intruder is trying to get into a building undetected. For instance, if a building has too many entrance points it makes it very difficult to monitor every point effectively. In addition, and would-be intruders aside, in a production facility where you have potential theft of equipment by staff, one also needs to limit entrance and exit points in order to be able to apply adequate security at each point.
Q Are security aspects given enough consideration in new designs of commercial and retail developments?
Assa Abloy: Unfortunately, security aspects in the design of new buildings, be they retail or commercial facilities, are more often than not governed by cost. Consideration given to the security aspects of buildings at the design stage is often manipulated during pricing or construction to conform to budget restraints.
ADT Security: No, not nearly enough. There are fairly high cost implications to consider as well as aesthetics – security is not always visually pleasing, therefore it is often the factor they take into account last, if at all.
Q What are the latest innovations in security?
Assa Abloy: Our latest innovation is Hi-O (Highly Intelligent Opening), which brings a physical and logical access package together. It is a new electromechanical door solution, simplifying installation, service and upgrade based on a CAN data communication network, and enables connected devices to exchange and share encrypted information.
ADT Security: Unlimited technology has moved product development dramatically from low end to high end options with pending development expected to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. We are seeing technological advances in areas such as remote activation, exterior detection and early warning devices – all aimed at ensuring greater flexibility of control systems and an end product that is even more user-friendly, stable and reliable. Fibre optics are being increasingly utilised for better quality and usage in CCTV/off site/remote monitoring. ADT believes there is a lot of scope for growth in CCTV as well as off-site monitoring of CCTV systems.
Centurion Systems: Access control – with our products, entrance and exit doors can be locked and left unguarded but control through these access points implemented by intercom communication across the access point, so that visitors can be screened before giving them access or access control devices allowing only authorised users to gain access (e.g. keypads, proximity readers and biometrics).
However our products are not just limited to the building – we provide access control right at the point of entry onto the property with the installation of automatic gates, traffic barriers and the like. A traffic barrier allows excellent low security access control of vehicles in high volume application. On the other hand, a sliding gate offers much higher security but is limited in the volume of vehicles that it can control without opening and leaving the gate open.
Nadja Smith, Beka: Lighting is the most effective and cheapest way of securing a commercial building after trading hours. Well-designed security lighting, when supported by a good quality CCTV installation, leaves intruders no opportunity to enter the premises undetected. A good security lighting installation must take cognisance of:
* The correct light source. This is necessary when it is required to support the CCTV system.
* The correct luminaire. A luminaire, whether a floodlight, streetlight, down light or bulkhead, should be chosen.
* The correct location. It is important to avoid any dark spots which will become the area of likely intrusion.
* The correct light quality. For example, bright lighting creates dark shadows, which are not compatible with the requirements of security cameras.
An architect’s perspective
Francois Marais of Francois Marais Architects maintains that security concerns exert a great influence on the design of buildings, especially when it comes to entrances. This is, of course, dependent on the purpose the building serves. Commercially, entrances need only be wide enough to restrict the flow of people into and out of the buildings, thus controlling the access. Retail entrances require large spaces for the unrestricted and easy flow of people into and out of the building.
“Some of the trends in commercial buildings are single entry glass boxes (similar to the banking establishments) and turnstiles using security cards for access, which are disposed of on exit. Retail security continues to make use of camera surveillance linked to security companies. A large visible security presence is also the norm at retail outlets,” he says.
“We are currently working on the revamp of a shopping centre in Lichtenberg where security procedures include moving all ‘high risk’ retailers further inside the mall area to reduce the easy access of potential criminals. Access to the centre will be through glass doors which all have camera surveillance and visible security personnel,” says Marais.
* Swartland – 022-433-8000 or HYPERLINK “http://www.swartland.co.za” www.swartland.co.za
* Xpanda – 011-661-5900 or HYPERLINK “http://www.xpanda.co.za” www.xpanda.co.za
* Trellicor Group – 031-508-0800 or HYPERLINK “http://www.trellidor.co.za” www.trellidor.co.za
* Arieta Doors – 044-620-5211 or HYPERLINK “http://www.arietadoors.co.za” www.arietadoors.co.za
* Assa Abloy – 011-761-5000 or HYPERLINK “http://www.assaabloy.co.za” www.assaabloy.co.za
* ADT Security – 086-12-12-400 or HYPERLINK “http://www.adt.co.za” www.adt.co.za
* Centurion Systems – 011-699-2400 or HYPERLINK “http://www.centurionsystems.co.za” www.centurionsystems.co.za
* Beka – 011-238-0000 or HYPERLINK “http://www.beka.co.za” www.beka.co.za
Doors1.jpg: A horizontal slatted door custom made to complement the architecture of the house. Pic courtesy Swartland.
Doors2.jpg: Punched steel roller shutters offer security, high visibility and excellent ventilation. Pic courtesy Trellicor Group.
Doors3.jpg: Glass and aluminium doors provide both security and high visibility. Pic courtesy Trellicor Group.