Sliding doors

The challenges faced by Middle East door manufacturers

ANALYSIS, Business, Door manufacturers, Middle east

Revolving, sliding, folding, swinging; however they open, every building needs them, but the climate, landscape and size of buildings in the region means Middle East door manufacturers have more to contend with than anywhere else.

Demand for windows and doors in the GCC is expected to exceed $5bn in 2014 – around 3.5% of the global demand.
This demand is – in part – the result of eco-friendly construction codes and energy ratings, with the energy performance of doors and window systems proving to be vital parts of a new building’s energy performance rating.

UAE regulations call for the use of double glazed glass for curtain walls and windows because of its high insulating properties resulting in significant reductions in cooling costs and consequent energy savings. Also, with high levels of dust and year-round immense heat, doors need to keep more than unwelcome visitors outside.

And with huge building developments providing more opportunities for heat to escape, they also need to work harder keeping temperatures in.

British bespoke bi-folding doors supplier, Origin, whose designs were created to keep out cold and wet, is expanding its business in the region.

Guy Dawson, general manager at Origin Middle East, says despite the contrasting climates, its doors are perfect for use in both the UK and the UAE.

Since spotting a gap in the UK market for folding doors 12 years ago, Origin has gone from strength to strength.
Since its inception the business was a success, but it was Grand Designs, a popular UK television programme about the architecture of bespoke homes, which at its peak had more than 5mn viewers, that catapulted Origin into the limelight.

“Grand Designs started featuring folding, sliding doors and with our quality and rapid service the whole thing really took off,” said Dawson.

Origin’s double-glazed performance doors have recently passed the hurricane test in Florida, where the firm has just opened a factory, and are robust enough to keep sand, storms and suffocating heat at bay.

“As the doors were originally designed to keep out driving rain, we find in the UAE they are extremely good at keeping out the sand and the dust,” he said.  “It’s quite a big problem here.”

The thermal efficiency of the doors means air conditioning units do not have to work as hard to maintain temperatures, which in turn keeps energy bills down, and with the UAE’s recent overdue shift to a greener energy outlook, puts another feather in Origin’s cap.

So aside from protecting property, what makes Origin’s products so unique?

“Our doors allow hotels and restaurants to make the most of Al Fresco dining and provide flexibility throughout the seasons,” explained Dawson. “The opportunity for commercial property is huge.”

Their folding doors can act as a front window, often taking up the entire façade of a restaurant. Then, when winter arrives, the whole ‘wall’ can be pushed away, bringing the outdoors, indoors.

This allows them to use all their floor space the whole year round, rather than be forced to
close outdoor sections when the sweltering summer arrives.

Moreover, people can enjoy these same benefits in their homes. Origin has recently supplied doors to Al Bustan hotel in Abu Dhabi, Anantara on The Palm, Desert Palm Resort villas in Al Khawaneej, and has also worked for the Engineer’s Office, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s building engineering practice. The firm also provided the doors for the luxury Al Barari villa development in Dubai. 

“During the winter months, people want to make the most of these gorgeous days,” said Dawson. “These doors open up the whole building and it’s like extending the entertaining area.”

Origin is expanding production at an impressive rate. Over the last four years, its UK factory doubled in size, then doubled again, and it now plans to open one in Dubai, with Jebel Ali or Dubai Investments Park earmarked as locations.

Once open, with the benefit of having their own installation teams in the UAE, Origin’s turnaround from order to delivery will reduce from three to six weeks, to between one and two weeks.

Origin is just one of the European companies opening doors to the Middle East. German door and frame manufacturer, Hörmann, has just launched a new range of industrial thermal doors designed to improve insulation levels, especially during the hot summer months.

The doors, named ALR 67, have a thickness of 67mm and consist of thermal break glazing beads that prevent heat slipping in or out of the seals.

They also include a climate glazing and a thermo frame that decreases thermal insulation values.

And for higher thermal insulation requirements, the ALR 67 thermo glazing is also available with thermal break profiles – non-conductive barriers which prevent heat moving in or out.

Similarly, Swiss-based Gilgen Door Systems’ Green Wings automatic sliding doors range incorporate a thermally-sealed drive system, profiles and insulated glazing, which achieve U-vales as low as 1.5 as well as reduce particle ingress, and sound attenuation is reduced to only 30dB.

Gilgen has also just won a contract to supply secure door systems for “a high profile building project in UAE”.
Richard Stocks, contracts manager at Gilgen Door Systems UK, could not reveal any more details but said his client’s requirements were the highest levels of security and operational efficiency.

And these requirements are typical of customers in the Midde East where there is a strong demand for their range of security shutters and industrial doors.

Gilgen’s Rolegard security shutter, which is designed to protect buildings from high-level threats, was the first to achieve Issue 7, Level 4 certification from the Loss Prevention Standard from the Building Research Establishment.

With countless ambitious construction projects being planned, the market is only going to become more demanding, but the industry looks set to deal with developers’ increasingly sophisticated demands – be that shutting out or sealing in.

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