Buildings designed for emergency services such as the fire brigade and ambulance services need reliable access doors that require little maintenance and also have the option of a high-speed motor to open the door rapidly. Fire brigades often require ducts, lighting and other installations to be fitted around the door opening because fire brigade vehicles are parked as close as possible to the exit.
With an overhead door, the door blade raises up above the access on rails or moves into the building via a rail system. To open, the door requires clear space above the access to the height of the door. An average sectional door is 3.5 to 4 metres high. If the overhead door is moved into the building it runs on a rail system that either follows the roofline or goes straight into the building. Both options require a complex steel structure. Tensioned balancing springs are used to move the door and ensure that the door opens along the rails. This system has a high failure rate and the balancing springs have to be regularly maintained or replaced. If the springs break it can be a serious hazard.
Worldwide, many government bodies have recognised the disadvantages of overhead doors and opted for a different solution: the Compact folding door. This industrial door folds up above the door opening so it requires no steel structure and little space. So the total costs of a Compact door are lower than for an overhead door.
And with the door blade powered by an electric motor the Compact door also has no balance springs, so maintenance costs are minimal. Since the door blade folds up above the door opening it is possible to fit all installations such as ducts or lighting in the immediate area. Besides these practical advantages there are many options and accessories available for architects to put their signature on a building.