All doors are not made equal

Asa McGillian
Asa McGillian

Perhaps that is restating the obvious, but, says Apeer’s CEO, Asa McGillian, look a little closer and it is alarming how the claims of some brands are simply false. And independent testing proves it, he says.

Asa McGillian is a reasonable man. But he becomes agitated when faced with what he believes is deliberate duplicity in product performance.

Asa explains: “For some time now we have been concerned that some rival brands were selling products with claims of thermal performance that simply could not be true, for the construction of the door. And whilst I am sure that some might see this as being a taste of sour grapes on my part, we decided to prove the point by taking the matter into our own hands, sending samples of the door slab to independent test house TUV Institute Rheinland for full thermal resistance testing to an approved ISO standard and methodology.

“The most obvious contradiction amongst the door styles that we believe are being misquoted at best – but deliberately misleading their customers at worst – is a hollow monocoque residential door for which claims of an Energy Rating of A+ have been stated with U values from as low as 0.85,” continues Asa. “This door is being offered as a competitor to our own Apeer 70mm range, but its hollow construction led us to believe, correctly as it turned out, that its claimed performance simply could not be possible against our own product and indeed, others in the market, that have an insulated core.

“So, we took this example, with a similarly specified Apeer 70mm, to be tested side by side at TUV. The result was that the Apeer door slab was seven times more thermally resistant than the hollow monocoque door, not simply one grade more efficient on the BFRC Energy Ratings scale.”

Asa believes that this test is simply the tip of the iceberg with products from other suppliers also failing to fulfil even the regulated minimum U value of 1.4 W/m2K.

He says: “We and many other door manufacturers produce products that have been thoroughly tested and for which performance may be proved. But there is also a number of brands, one or two quite prominent, that are intent on deceiving customers with performance that does not even meet the minimum standards required by the Building Regulations, either in Ireland or the United Kingdom.

“And that means that an installation with one of these products is not compliant. But with the nature of the planning system in both countries, with inspectors reliant upon product certification, these manufacturers are actually getting away with selling products that are not fit for purpose.”

Strong claims, but whilst Asa has the proof with the example he has had tested, he says that attempts by others to sell residential doors that do not perform as well as their manufacturer claims, may be easily dismissed by installers: “In the case of the hollow monocoque door, it is simply impossible that an uninsulated door could be A+ rated, or anywhere near it. Often, the simplest analysis will reveal that a product simply cannot perform as well as the claims suggest, with the hollow monocoque being the most obvious. The simple rule is: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” says Asa.

The door that Asa had tested is sold by a well-known brand which he admits, adds to the difficulties faced by installers: “I hate to say this but trust no-one on the face values that products are sold by, including Apeer. My advice is: if you are entering into a supply agreement with a supplier, check them out thoroughly, even visit their factory. Apeer will stand up to any examination and most importantly ask for third party accreditation for ALL styles and specifications not just the top performing style.

“But also,” he concludes, “common sense says that a hollow door simply cannot offer the performance required by the Irish and British Building Regulations of a minimum 1.4 W/m2K. It cannot be done.”