Letterplates are an extremely practical way of getting the post into a home. Whether fitted to the Midrail or a Panel, letterplates provide a vital function for most front doors. So, who would have thought that such a practical item could also pose a potential security risk to that same door?
Would-be burglars are becoming ever more strategic. Not only are they trying different ways to force the door, and the hardware or shatter the glass. But are now using the humble letterplate to retrieve items from within the home.
Many homeowners, don’t consider the letterplate as a security risk. It's a practical choice when designing a new front. Generally, the most considered choice is the location on the door and the colour. However, for door manufacturers and installers, the letterplate solution is now more prevalent when advising homeowners on their new door furniture.
TS 008 Standard
The technical standard introduced by the DHF (Door and Hardware Federation) to combat this particular method of forced entry is TS 008:2015. Designed for security letterplates, it outlines the testing methodology to ensure a letterplate resists a method of attack called ‘fishing.’
A hook or similar is threaded through a standard letterplate to recover keys that have been left nearby (e.g. hallway table) or in the door itself. Keys are then manoeuvred through the letterplate and retrieved by the would-be burglar. With a view to either gain entry to the property or access a vehicle or similar.
The tests ensure a rod cannot be used to gain access to a target through the letterplate. But the letterplate is nonetheless still able to accept postal items freely.
Other elements within the test cover manipulation, strength and durability. Confirming the letterplate cannot be removed from the door within the specified test time and thereby allowing access inside. In addition, water penetration, corrosion and fire resistance are also key contributors to the overall TS 008 classification.
A fabricator wishing to test a door with a letterplate to PAS 24 will need to fit a TS 008 solution. This meant that hardware manufacturers had to rethink letterplate security to combat this type of threat. Introducing additional elements such as security cowls fitted alongside the letterplate or new security letterplates solutions to the market.
Certified solutions from ERA
To support fabrication partners in complying with the latest standard. Whilst providing homeowners with the highest standards of certification and performance. ERA developed a fully suited complete TS 008 letterplate solution.
Uniquely designed to prevent access through the letterplate via fishing or reaching. The Nu Mail Shield TS 008 security letterplate has a restricted flap to protect the property within. Automatically closing when not in use to prevent damage to interior walls.
The in-built shield provides a stylish slimline aesthetic. It is designed to provide maximum protection against potential attacks, whilst simultaneously ensuring clear access for postal items.
Although security was top of the list in terms of its product design, it’s not solely about performance. A letterplate, alongside the handle, remains a focal point for aesthetics, so shouldn’t be neglected. The security letterplate was designed to be as slim as possible on the inside whilst maintaining a beautiful aesthetic on the outside.
Styled to complement the familiar Fab&Fix Nu Mail standard letterplate, the Fab&Fix Shield TS 008 is supplied in two sections. Allowing door manufacturers and installers to select different finishes internally and externally to complement the colour of the door. Both sections must be installed together to conform to the TS 008 standard
For manufacturers looking for a security letterplate for fire doors. The Shield has also been independently tested in accordance with the requirements of BS EN 1634-1: 2014 on a 30-minute timber fire door. The Shield is available in a comprehensive range of Fab&Fix perfectly matching suited finishes. That coordinate with over 200 hardware products within the extensive Fab&Fix portfolio.
For the retrofit market, installers should also be aware of the importance of fitting certified solutions to existing doors. Either as part of a complete upgrade or to significantly improve security on a current door.
Extra peace of mind
Approved by the police preferred initiative Secured By Design, the TS 008 letterplate can offer a stylish, yet practical addition to door security. The additional physical barrier to potentially ‘fishing’ enhances the occupiers' feelings of safety and security.
Sarah Knight, Product Manager at ERA, commented: “Fab&Fix furniture is renowned for delivering exceptional levels of quality, functionality and aesthetics. The Shield TS 008 letterplate demonstrates our continued commitment to providing certified solutions. That not only meet the most demanding performance standards but also deliver on visual appeal.”
ERA has a broad range of certified solutions, from TS 008 letterplate solutions, TS 003 chains and restrictors to TS 007 certified cylinders. For more information visit eraeverywhere.com