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Apeer’s managing director Asa McGillian says its new Accessible doors fuse physical requirements, the latest technology and superb aesthetics; such products should not be a compromise.

Despite legislation and education, just 7% of UK housing stock provides the most basic levels of accessibility. And just 23% of homes due to be built by 2030 are planned to meet even basic accessibility criteria, with just 1% accessible by wheelchair, despite NHS estimates that there are around 1.2 million wheelchair users in the UK.

Adapting existing homes, especially in the private sector, may be supported by grants but it is anticipated that this provision by local authorities will come under increasing pressure as town hall budgets are stretched still further by the pandemic.

Irrespective of the availability of grant support, many homeowners are determined to improve their properties with new windows and doors, including the provision of disabled access. This sector is growing, especially among an ageing, well-funded, home-improving UK population.

For many homeowners who require disabled access through their external doors, function must remain the key driver. But composite doormaker Apeer insists that this should not be at the cost of style and aesthetics. Therefore, the company has created its new Apeer Accessible doors, which combine form and function and which use the latest technology to create accessible home entrances that are also desirable.

Our starting point is that just because something is accessible, it does not need to be utilitarian. Our main driver for developing Apeer Accessible was the desire to make Apeer doors as attractive as possible to many different people, and we are receiving increasing demand through our retailer installers in the UK for such products.

Initially, we are offering two styles, Banwell and Witton, from our Apeer range, two of our most popular designs. These are available at 1,087mm wide to provide a clear opening of 912mm. The New MDS70 threshold is also fitted, which offers the benefit of a clip-on if required.

In other respects, the doors are the same as the broader Apeer range: 70mm, ‘A’ Energy Rated, and fitted as standard with triple glazed cassettes. Additionally, they incorporate the mesh reinforcement and hinge bolts used on all Apeer doors and are available in a full range of RAL colours and a huge choice of handles and furniture.

The difference is in the details: the smart locks and related advances in hardware are game changers for disabled access. After considerable research we now offer what we believe is an ideal combination of GU’s clever multipoint slam locks that preclude the need to lift a handle, combined with the Brisant Ultion ‘Accessibility’ smart lock. This combination is perfect in our view for modern accessibility entrances: no handle throw required to drive the multipoint locks home, and the convenience of unlocking via Apple Siri and Amazon Alexa, keypad or electronic fob – entirely to suit the user.

Adding Apeer Accessible doors to our ever-increasing offer is not significant in terms of potential sales but it does symbolise our approach to marketing combined with our manufacturing abilities, which is that no sector is too small, and we have the internal capability of producing pretty much anything that we – and our customers – want.