Published On: Tue, Oct 24th, 2023

Demonstrating a partnership for growth

Liam Kelleher, Unity Doors’ Commercial Director, and Daniel Openshaw, UAP’s Internal South Account Manager, discuss the drivers behind their evolving partnership and the importance of collaborative working.

For more than 25 years, Unity Doors has been manufacturing composite doors for a wide range of clients, including housebuilders, housing associations and distributors. The company began working with UAP eight years ago, initially sourcing a small number of products for its doorsets. Since then, a focus on collaboration and quality has seen the partnership strengthen and evolve. “We operate in a market heavily focused on compliance, so understanding third-party accreditations and what it means to achieve them is central to our business as well as UAP’s,” explains Liam. “UAP provides door hardware products which are accredited in their own right, and also tested within our doorsets to meet the highest quality standards.”

Adapting to change

Reflecting its commitment to quality, around 90 per cent of the doors manufactured by Unity Doors have the Secured by Design (SBD) accreditation meaning products must meet certain standards such as PAS 24. An update to PAS 24:2016 required doors to be fitted with a letterplate meeting the TS008:2015 security standard set by the Door & Hardware Federation (DHF). This was aimed at preventing key fishing and unlocking the door through the letterplate while still allowing items to be posted freely.

“When the PAS standard changed, it was a race against time to find a product which would ensure compliance without causing us any downtime,” reflects Liam. “There were several letterplates on the market that met the new rules, but weren’t practical. We found most were too heavy or bulky, with many protruding too far from the door.”

To address these issues, Unity Doors looked to UAP for a solution, leading to the supply of the Soterian TS008 letterplate and a turning point in the partnership.

Designed inhouse by UAP, the Soterian TS008 consists of an internal flap projecting only 35mm from the door’s surface, ensuring the letterplate lies within a straight line from the hinge side of the door to the handle. This enables the door to fully open while preventing the letterplate from causing damage to the interior wall.

“We worked closely with the Unity team to listen to their specific needs and concerns,” adds Daniel. “The Soterian TS0008 not only ticked the right boxes in terms of compliance, but offered a more aesthetic and user-friendly product for Unity Doors’ clients and end users. Importantly, we were also able to provide matching hardware such as door handles and numerals, and it was this wider offer which paved the way for us to significantly bolster our partnership.”

A two-way street

Within the last four years, the relationship has evolved further with UAP now working with Unity Doors to supply a vast range of door hardware. 

“We have built a partnership based on trust and collaboration,” says Liam. “Too often companies will develop a product for our sector without asking the door manufacturers for their advice or opinion. UAP on the other hand, are quick to share information and that has really helped to strengthen our relationship.”

A focus on customer feedback has seen UAP evolve the design of its letterplate with the launch of the Soterian Slim TS008 letterplate, which projects just 14mm from the door surface. Accredited by SBD, the product has also achieved the Certifire certification so can be safely installed in timber FD30 fire doors without the need for further testing.  “We have worked with Unity Doors to conduct extensive fire and security testing on the Soterian Slim within its doorsets,” explains Daniel. “The quality and aesthetics of the product have been well received so we are now working towards supplying this product on all the company’s new SBD doors.”

A step ahead

As legislation continues to change and safety standards become more stringent, both businesses agree that a proactive, collaborative approach will be at the heart of future growth.   

“We operate in a fast-paced environment so for any partnership to work, there has to be a focus on the future and a willingness to adapt,” says Daniel. “Having foresight and flexibility on both sides is therefore essential. As a business, we have to keep evolving to stay one step ahead of changing rules and expectations,” adds Liam. “To do that successfully, we need partners who, not only provide the right products from a commercial perspective, but the service to match, including a reliable supply chain and great communication from the top down. UAP has proven it can meet that criteria and this will be key to the relationship’s long-term success.”

Tel: 0161 796 7268