Why Choose Automatic Doors?
By design, automatic doors provide easier, more convenient access than manual doors. The public’s overwhelming preference for automatic doors is demonstrated in the results of AAADM’s recent research study. We surveyed 447 consumers. Participants in this study could be described as “Mr. and Mrs. Joe Average”. The group consisted of a cross-section of men and women, who reside in the United States, have an average family income and an average of two children per family. Results showed that of those people surveyed who indicated a preference, 98.9% prefer automatic doors.
Certification Matters: Who’s the Best Person to Install or Repair an Automatic Door?
Choose a professional automatic door installer who is also an AAADM Certified Inspector. Should your electrician be performing automatic door installations or repairs? No. The best person for that job is a professional automatic door installer who is also an AAADM Certified Inspector. Why? Because they have specialized training in ANSI standards to keep automatic doors performing at peak safety and efficiency. This isn’t meant to disparage electricians, who are trained professionals. It’s simply that automatic door installation and repair falls outside their area of expertise. Some areas of facility maintenance just should not be left to generalists, and because automatic doors very literally interact with your incoming and outgoing public, their safe operation is paramount. An electrician will probably not be aware of the bevy of detail covered in the applicable ANSI standards. AAADM Certified Inspectors are trained on these standards and even notified when ANSI standards are updated, so they’re always in the know.
What do the standards cover? Important factors like the maximum speed and force at which automatic doors can safely operate, the minimum interval to remain open after each triggering of the sensor, and appropriate placement and adjustment of sensors to avoid accidental closings on occupied thresholds. There are four main types of automatic doors, each with its own nuances to understand. Automatic door field technicians who are also AAADM Certified Inspectors are specifically trained to recognize, understand, and work within these standards and check doors for compliance when work is completed. Once finished, they know how to conduct the proper tests to make sure the door is safe and ANSI compliant. Are the sensors detecting pedestrian approaches from all the necessary angles? Have the sensors been properly adjusted? Is the door staying open for the appropriate length of time? Is it accurately detecting when someone lingers in the doorway too long? Only members of the automatic door industry are eligible to receive AAADM Certified Inspector training. By making sure to choose someone with the necessary experience and qualifications to work on automatic doors, building owners, facility managers, and contractors can be confident that their project’s automatic doors will operate safely and to ANSI standards.
IBC Deals Victory to Accessibility 2021 Version Requires Automatic Doors for Entrances to Public Buildings
The newly released International Building Code (IBC) for 2021 includes a provision long sought by accessibility advocates: the mandated inclusion of automatic doors for entrances to public buildings. IBC 1105.1.1 stipulates that, in facilities meeting building occupant load thresholds for a number of common occupancies, public entrances that are required to be accessible shall have one door be either a full power-operated door or a low-energy power-operated door. The code applies to a wide range of public places, including retail stores, restaurants, clubs and casinos, movie theaters and concert halls, libraries, banks, and college dormitories.
Depending on the type of building, occupant loads must be greater than 300 or 500 for the automatic door requirement to kick in. The thresholds have been chosen so they do not apply to buildings with smaller occupancies and less foot traffic, though occupants of all buildings, regardless of size, could benefit from the touch-free, germ-free accessibility provided by automatic doors. Joe Hetzel, technical advisor to the American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers (AAADM), has long been a proponent of greater accessibility and first began working to update the code a decade ago. Language he helped craft was submitted and approved during the 2021 IBC code development cycle, which took place in 2018, resulting in the new requirements. “The code addresses a public need,” said Hetzel.
“It is widely accepted that automatic doors enhance overall accessibility and accommodate a wide array of conditions that might make using standard doors difficult, if not infeasible. The new code requirement accommodates a wide variety of accessibility needs that manual doors being installed today cannot encompass.” Coincidentally, the new code arrives in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, which has heightened public interest in touch-free entrances to public buildings. “At the time we began this process, no one could have envisioned today’s unprecedented concern for minimizing public touchpoints. This new directive on automatic doors will surely enhance public health as well,” said Hetzel. He believes these health-related benefits will provide extra encouragement for establishments below the occupancy thresholds to consider automatic doors in response to public demand.
The IBC is adopted at the state and local levels, and will take time to become the new set of requirements across the nation. AAADM (American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers) encourages everyone affected to monitor their markets for the adoption of the 2021 IBC. AAADM is also providing members and other industry professionals with information, alerts, bulletins, and other support as new construction projects transition to the updated code. This will also encourage retrofitting where feasible.
Automatic Doors: What you need to know about specifying and standards
Before specifying automatic doors for a hotel, restaurant or other hospitality-related application, you should have an understanding of the various types of automatic doors available and laws and standards that apply to you and your door. When automatic doors are properly selected, installed and maintained, they provide welcoming, convenient, secure access that tells your customers you care about them. The first impression is a lasting one, and automatic doors help you leave a positive impression. Standards The primary standard addressing automatic pedestrian doors is the American National Standard for Power Operated Pedestrian Doors, ANSI/BHMA A156.10. The latest version is dated 2005. The ANSI A156.10 standard provides details and specifications for installation that have been designed to provide a safe, properly functioning automatic door system. For example, the standard contains information regarding minimum or maximum dimensions, recommended forces, and layouts for various components of power-operated door systems.
Members of the American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers (AAADM), a trade association of power-operated automatic door manufacturers, comply with this standard. AAADM administers a program to certify automatic door inspectors. Further information can be obtained on the AAADM website, www.aaadm.com. Whereas ANSI/BHMA A156.10 applies to full power automatic door systems, a related standard, ANSI/BHMA A156.19, American National Standard for Power Assist and Low Energy Power Operated Doors, provides similar information for low energy operator systems. In addition to the ANSI A156.10 and A156.19 standards, an understanding and awareness of the following standards and codes is important for automatic doors and all access systems: -ANSI 117.1, For Buildings and Facilities- Providing Accessibility and Usability For Physically Handicapped People; -Appropriate local building codes, such as the International Building Code; -Local fire codes; - NFPA 101, National Fire Protection Association’s Life Safety Code; and -Americans with Disabilities Act.
Types of Automatic Door
There are three major types of automatic doors: swinging, sliding and folding. Automatic Sliding Doors: Automatic sliding doors provide effective two-way traffic. Sliding doors are equipped with a feature that allows the sliding door to swing when pushed out in emergencies. This feature, known as “breakout” or “breakaway”, qualifies them to be used in locations that require emergency egress capability. Sliding doors are offered in various configurations, including traditional biparting, single slide and telescoping models. These doors require an adequate amount of slide room in which the door can move. Sliding doors should always include appropriate sensors or control mats and safety signage. Automatic Swinging doors: Typically, when a swinging door is automated, two doors are used. One door swings inward and the other door swings outward. This enables two-way traffic. Two-way traffic through a single automatic swinging door is not normally recommended. The exception is a low-energy swing operator that has different characteristics than a fully automatic door. It is crucial that these types of doors are well marked to indicate the direction of travel.
Safety zones for swinging doors are covered in Section 8.1.2 of ANSI A156.10. Different requirements are in place for different systems. Requirements depend on what combination of sensors and control mats is used. There are two types of sensors for automatic swinging doors, overhead mount and door mount. Each has different characteristics and enables different pattern sizes and performance. Swinging doors should always include guide rails, sensors or control mats and safety signage. Automatic Folding Doors: A folding door requires minimal space to install, yet provides plenty of clear door space. This makes this type of door a preferred choice when space is at a premium. These doors should have an emergency swing feature if the door is being used as an egress location. Automatic folding doors have two or more separate panels. The first panel swings and the second panel slides in a guide, enabling it to slide as both panels swing into a “V” shape, which is the fold. Automatic folding doors may include either a single folding door that swings in or out or a pair of doors that simultaneously fold in or out. Similar to swinging doors, folding doors should always include guide rails, sensors or control mats, and safety signage.
No matter the type of door, the automatic door system should be designed in such a way that traffic approaches the door in full view and users walk directly toward the door. Pedestrians must have excellent visibility of the door and its markings and must be able to clearly observe the direction of door travel. Avoid positioning vending machines, waste containers, pay telephones or anything else that has potential to distract users within four feet of the moving door. The nature of the application is the most important factor in determining the type of automatic door that will be installed. Not all types of automatic doors are suitable for every application. You must take into account the desired traffic flow, typical types of users, available space, and aesthetic requirements or preferences.
A Long Record of Convenient, Secure Access
With over 50 billion safe automatic door openings and closings every year in the United States alone, automatic doors boast an exceptional performance record. Automatic doors are manufactured with sophisticated technologies that are selected by manufacturers to provide efficient performance from each component of the door system. In addition, automatic doors and their sensing systems come with many built-in features that allow for added customization for specific applications. Performance is enhanced when AAADM recommendations for proper installation and annual inspections, both performed by an AAADM-certified inspector, are followed.
Quick and efficient door operation.
Improved productivity for businesses.
Customizable options available.
Durable and low-maintenance.
Ideal for high-traffic areas.
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