The manager of AD Construction Group has now found the time to speak to me over the phone and tried to explain remotely how the new doors work.
What bothers me is that in none of the paperwork we received from either Tower Hamlets Homes or AD Construction was there any specification of the locking mechanism.
Apparently fire-proof is the overriding functionality of the doors at the expense of safety and crime prevention – in my view anyway.
As far as I understand it, the doors do not close when they shut. You can re-open them simply by pulling down the door handle, even from the outside.
You will have to lock the door with a key each time you go out for any reason.
Otherwise imagine you just want to pop to the rubbish chute, just get something from the car or pick something up from nearby, your door won’t lock when it closes from the outside. Anybody can re-open your door by pulling down the handle, unless you lock it with a key each time you go out.
Of course that will cost you a few more seconds each time you leave, it might also be more complicated having to put down your bags and lock the door instead of just trusting in the door to lock itself. And hopefully you do not forget to lock those doors as otherwise anybody can just open it from the outside. Apparently changing the locking mechanism would make the fire-proof certification of the doors invalid. I think that is hilarious if not ridiculous.
From the inside, there is no lock for a key, there is a type of knob.
Not sure how you make sure that nobody can open the door from the outside if you have to lock it to be closed but you can’t put a key on the inside.
It seems rather tedious for forgetful people, young people, old people who may not have the presence of mind to lock the door each time they step away from their front door.
I have tried to get a viewing on those doors to see for myself but that can be end of this week, start of next week. Apparently Tower Hamlets Homes has already approved those doors without ever giving out specifications as to their functionality.
I think you got to assess risk by taking the whole circumstance into consideration. Of course such doors are ideal for a highly volatile, high risk environment like a high-rise tower block but in ground-floor dwellings, which do not have any other security monitoring in place, a door that doesn’t lock, increases the risk of attack and burglary immensely.
In a high-rise all intruders get monitored with CCTV systems and there are additional door entry systems but street facing properties without entry systems will be exposed to a much higher risk from intrusion and people can be followed into their flats easier and that increases the risk for vulnerable people being less protected rather than more.
Of course in high-rise blocks there is no other way of entry than through the main door but in ground level dwellings and houses there are many other entry and exit points that help escape from a fire.
It seems illogical that as long as you don’t take a fire risk, any other risk seems tolerated.