NPSA doors: ask the experts

For customers looking to invest in an NPSA (formerly CPNI) door, the different standards, ratings and specifications can seem complex. Here, our experienced team breaks down the NPSA standard, including the design and manufacturing process, as well as the different levels of protection these security doors offer.

What does NPSA stand for and what is the NPSA standard? 

NPSA (formerly CPNI) stands for the National Protective Security Authority. NPSA is an organisation set up by the UK Government and is the authority for protective security advice relating to the UK’s national infrastructure. Its role is to protect national security, reducing the UK’s vulnerability from terrorism and other security-related threats to our national infrastructure. Part of NPSA’s role is to evaluate the ever-changing terrorism security threat and re-evaluate the National Security Strategy, National Risk Register, and Counter Terrorism Strategy. 

The current NPSA accredited standard used within the door industry is MFES (Manual Forced Entry Standard). NPSA introduced this standard in 2015 and since its launch, all manufacturers and products have been re-tested and/or re-developed to achieve a classification under the new grading system.

Is Rhino required to modify its door designs to meet this standard? 

Rhino Doors has been producing doors since 1983. In the earlier years, our doors were produced to meet thermal insulated standards and acoustic standards, which were commonly requested for use within industrial buildings. The large vehicle size sliding-folding door soon became the ‘go-to’ product for many specifiers and architects. The modular design of this door made it suitable to scale up or down to suit most door apertures. When open, its small folding space requirement is usually attractive to clients, and its ease of operation, maintenance, and reliable drive system gives customers a product with a long lifespan. 

With the previous statements in mind and the on-going terrorist threat increasing in the late 1990s, the sliding-folding door was our first product to be re-developed and achieve a UK accredited security rating. On successful completion of this re-development, the single and double personnel doors also went through the same security evaluation and testing process. 

Both the large sliding folding doors and the personnel doors have undergone numerous modifications since the 1990s, largely to maintain their security credentials but also due to fabrication enhancement techniques and evolving client requirements. NPSA also revised the test procedure and introduced a different product grading system which should make it easier for customers to specify the security levels that their premises requires. 

The NPSA MFES standard, and the associated MFES rating a product gets designated, relates to its ‘performance resistance time’ against the following criteria: 

  • The number of attackers 
  • The skill level of those attackers 
  • The equipment used to carry out the attack 

A protection level of BASE, ENHANCED or HIGH is awarded to the product. A lot of data is collected during the testing process and some of this data can be shared with security consultants when NPSA feel it is appropriate to do so, which enables customers/clients/end users to make more informed security protection decisions. 

Do engineers need specific training to produce NPSA doors? 

There are not any specific training requirements needed to design, manufacture or install a NPSA door. However:  


Understanding the test procedure is vital in producing a product that is going to pass the manual forced entry test. The more testing a company undertakes usually helps when it comes to designing a secure door. Each test will highlight a door’s strong and weaker areas which gives designers a starting point for design improvement. 


We are fortunate that a number of our staff members have been employed by Rhino Doors for a long time, and therefore we have experienced people with great product and production knowledge. A lot of our fabrication and its associated tolerances are controlled within our build process using jigs and fixtures. The team supervisors ensure these jigs are used correctly, which in turn ensures our products stay in line with the tested and approved security accredited design. 


Rhino has its own installation resources via our sister company, Rhino Site Systems Limited.  Our teams are in-house trained and are very experienced with the installation of our doors, and the subsequent aftersales care necessary to ensure prolonged service life. The personnel doors are heavy items to manoeuvre into place but are relatively straightforward to fit and can be fitted by experienced door installers. The large folding doors are more complicated, and Rhino would always advise that our installation teams are used for folding door installations. 


What kind of sites typically require the use of NPSA doors? Are they only used within specific sectors and industries? 

Any industry sector that follows, or uses, the security advice provided by NPSA tends to use our doors. The majority of our customers have infrastructure contacts working on government contracts. Industry sectors such as the Ministry of Defence, Nuclear, Utility, and Transport companies commonly specify and re-order our doors. There are also standalone companies that produce products or supply services to government organisations. These companies must maintain their security standards and usually follow the advice provided by NPSA. 

Are there other sites where NPSA doors could find new applications? 

There are some applications where Rhino’s large folding doors or personnel doors are the ideal door solution, however the customer doesn’t recognise or require a NPSA rated door, and possibly realises that its security credentials are over specified for their requirement. It is in these circumstances that Rhino offers a NPSA door as the default solution; alternatively, we may choose to modify the design – for example, by changing the locking mechanism or removing some of the specialist core materials which could, in some cases, make the door a cost-effective solution. In this scenario, Rhino must make it clear to the customer that although the door may look similar to the approved NPSA door, the security rating has been removed. Any deviation from the tested and approved product must be noted. 

A further development of the NPSA door is to incorporate fire ratings, blast ratings and ballistic ratings. Incorporating these additional standards over and above the NPSA MFES core design could offer solutions for customers. A door that can offer resistance to a multi-threat attack gives Rhino an advantage over its competitors. 


Has the NPSA standard changed at all over the years? And is this something that Rhino Doors needs to maintain an awareness of to meet certain requirements or regulations? 

NPSA and its physical security department do hold conference style events which are strictly attended by invitation only. All the companies that develop and manufacture products approved by them are considered and invited as necessary. This is the usual way changes and awareness to these changes are conveyed to manufacturers. Manufacturers can have, and do have, direct lines of communication, usually via email or telephone calls with the NPSA physical security team. There is also information on the public website.


There’s a lot to consider when investing in a NPSA door, especially with a range of different specifications and ratings available, depending on their intended use and installation location. We hope this Q&A has been useful, answering any questions you may have about our products. For more information, click here to read a case study relating to a NPSA door.