With Social Housing Improvement Budgets Under Severe Pressure, Should We Prioritise or Forget Products such as Replacement Doors?

Published: 2nd August 2011

Adrian Sunter is National Sales Manager for Permadoor, the composite door specialist. He is also a member of the Chartered Management Institute, a member of the Association of Building Engineers and a keen football coach, currently managing an under-17’s Academy for a Professional league club. Established in 1989, Permadoor has over 20 years’ experience in working with local authorities, registered social landlords and contractors. The company is involved in framework arrangements through LHC, Fusion 21, NE procurement and Value Works for fast track, compliant procurement. Part of the Epwin Group, an independent British business with substantial manufacturing and processing plants in the UK, Permadoor has a full suite of accreditations including ISO 9001(quality), ISO 14001 (environmental) and OHAS 18001 for health and safety.

Permadoor Composite Doors

Q: With social housing improvement budgets under severe pressure should we prioritise or forget products such as replacement doors?

A: Social housing landlords face challenges, as the amount of money for refurbishment programmes is reducing, yet service expectations from the tenants remain high. Tenants that have seen a nearby estate “improved” in the past 3-4 years will be unimpressed if their properties stay untouched. Even in today’s difficult housing market, social landlords are always trying to cut void periods and avoid high levels of tenant turnover (which can involve more damage and refurbishment work). This means that works will have to be prioritised more stringently and while tenants may want sparkling new kitchens and bathrooms, the real value may lie in other areas, such as door replacement.

One important factor is that replacement doors can contribute to improving the energy efficiency of a property. This is important in reducing tenant fuel bills, which are often highest in areas, where unemployment or retirement means people are at home during the day. It is also clear that the available Government funding streams for social housing improvement are trying to tie expenditure to achieving energy efficiency, carbon reduction and sustainability gains.

The latest composite door ranges offer a number of “eco options” that can help justify this funding. For example, there are doorsets that can be supplied with doorframes made from 100% post-consumer waste PVC-U, fully closing the recycling loop. The frame and certain door cill options can also be supplied with recycled composite material (RCM) as a cost effective and sustainable alternative to steel or aluminium reinforcement. In addition, the leading door suppliers to the social housing sector can provide door glazing in various options, including an argon gas filled sealed unit which, in some models, can achieve U-Values of as low as 0.7W/m2 K.

As well as these sustainability gains, the reality is that doors will always be a part of the day to day maintenance programme. The door takes the brunt of daily wear and tear as well as being a security feature wherever you may live. Health & Safety officers carrying out fire risk assessments are also more vigilant about specifying fire doors for flats, shared entrances and multiple entrance dwellings, demanding that door, sidelights and top lights meet BS476 (Part 22) and are FD30S compliant. Finally, in the current economic climate, replacing doors should bring a significant environmental improvement and with security high up the agenda it is important for the market leaders to comply with the latest up to date Secured by Design requirements to achieve and maintain their certification

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