Raven seals ... installed at the Al Faisaliah Centre.

For doors to function, they must have gaps between the edges of the door and the frame, as well as the floor. These gaps are there to allow doors to be opened and closed easily and to accommodate normal building movements.

The same criteria apply to windows.

However, these gaps allow the intrusion of noise, dust, light (in the case of a door), hot draughts and insects.

What is the scope of the problem?

To give an example, the air-conditioning loss in a typical dwelling, due to gaps around doors and windows, is 12 per cent. This is not difficult to understand considering that the sum total of gaps around a well-fitted door is equal to the size of a house brick. Multiply this by each door, and then add the gaps around most windows and it will become obvious that intrusions such as dust and heat are considerable - as well as the loss of cool air.

What is the solution?

The solution quite simply is to fit a door or window seal. Correctly specified seals will close off those gaps and, in many cases, will solve more than one problem. For example, a seal may stop dust, keep out hot draughts, keep in cold air and reduce noise.

Seals come in many forms, from simple felt-type seals around window frames to sophisticated mechanical seals fitted to door bottoms which automatically retract when the door is opened and seal down tight on the threshold when the door is closed.

Some compression seals on the door frame may consist of synthetic rubbers or thermoplastic materials which may be set into the door frame or retrofitted in aluminium carriers.

What about the cost?

Whilst the problem is big, the cost is small and the solution is very simple. Indeed with the energy saving that can be expected, it is not a cost at all, but rather an investment. Compared to other forms of energy conservation, such as fibreglass insulation, double glazing and automatic window shutters, door and window seals are a fraction of the outlay. Moreover, they can be installed before, during or after construction of a building, depending on circumstances. The effectiveness of quality acoustic seals in hotel rooms has meant that builders have been able to reduce wall thicknesses resulting in lower building costs, bigger floor areas and thus greater returns from increased accommodation.

Saudi Pan Gulf UBMO represents the clear industry leader, Raven of Australia, and has a technical team to hand to offer professional advice.

Raven door and window seals are used every day in 20 countries on four continents. Raven, as the most innovative of the world's manufacturers, has a solution for every sealing problem.

The Raven range is very comprehensive and with superior engineered designs, is usually the first choice of architects and designers on the world's most prestigious buildings which include The Al Faisaliah Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the Chep Lap Kok airport at Hong Kong, The Royal College of Music in London, UK, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, and the National Library in Shanghai, China.