Home Security and Recessed Doors
Home Security and Recessed Doors
A recessed door can encourage loitering and anti-social behaviour. In particular, it offers opportunities for the burglar, who can hide in the recess while forcing open the door. However, most recessed doors are outward opening (usually to aid escape in an emergency), which means that they are difficult to force in against the doorstops and therefore can help reduce the opportunity for burglary. The fact that they are outward opening is usually the reason why they are recessed, since it is not permissible for doors to open across a public footway or highway.
In many cases, a recessed doorway can be brought forward provided due regard is given to the requirements of relevant legislation and regulation. By and large, these relate to the safety of the building’s occupants in the event of an emergency such as a fire, and the safety and convenience of individuals on the footway or highway outside.
How to Improve Security Issues of Recessed Doors
The following are three possible solutions to a recessed door that presents a security problem.
Remove the recess by bringing the door forward
Normally, this can be achieved if there are no more than 60 users of the emergency exit doors, including the entrance door, since this figure allows the doors to open inwards.
If there is a private forecourt in front of the door of sufficient size, the door can be brought forward to open on to the forecourt. To ensure the safety of pedestrians, some form of structure must be placed on each side of the door opening arc. This could take the form of an area of small cobbles, a deflector rail on the wall, a planter, a bollard or a rail.
Although not a requirement under the, it is a good idea to include a glazed panel in an outward opening door, as this allows the user to see if there is an obstruction (or a pedestrian) on the other side. Use laminated glass with a small-gauge security grille fixed behind it. These measures will help to prevent a burglar from operating The ‘crash’ bars or other emergency release mechanism by breaking the viewing panel. If the door needs to be of a fire- and smoke-resistant type, the officer will advise you.
If the recess has an inward opening door, which is more susceptible to being kicked in than an outward opening door, you must ensure that the door and its locking provision will satisfy both the security and fire safety needs. Consulting your insurer is also a wise move.
Reduce the depth of the recess to a minimum
If it is not possible to bring the door forward to the very front of the recess, make sure that the depth of the recess is no greater than that needed to open the door within it. Where possible, try to achieve a recess depth of no more than 600 mm (2ft).
A local authority may allow a slight projection over the highway on the understanding that a particular door will rarely be used. Wall mounted deflectors or other structures may be required. The resulting shallow recess can be made less encouraging of anti-social behaviour by taking steps to improve observation of it from outside.
A few other measures are also worth considering, particularly if you have problems with drug users. Thoroughly clean the recess and repair holes in the walls, ceiling and floor surfaces. Paint the walls and ceiling with anti-graffiti paint. This will make it easier to remove any new graffiti or marks. If there is a great deal of informal observation of the recess, such as lots of people walking by, paint the walls and ceiling a light colour and install a bright light. If the door is solid, fit a glazed panel as described in Solution 1. Alternatively, install a viewer so that any user can look out into the recess before opening the door.
Using shutters and gates
Security shutters that rise automatically when a fire alarm is activated are sometimes permissible, but this depends very much on the situation. Those that have been accepted by the fire service in London have been mains powered, with a battery back-up in case of mains failure. They also have a fail-safe winding mechanism to cope with a total power failure.