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By James Piper, P.E.
Doors & Hardware Article Use Policy
In some buildings, facility managers may feel that they are spending all of their time fixing or adjusting doors.But in other facilities, doors require so little attention they are almost forgotten. Here are four common issues that can put doors into the problem category.
Doors are rated based on the service duty that they are expected to endure. In general, the higher the rating, the more expensive it will be. A door with too low a rating for an application might cost less initially, but it will have a shorter service life and higher maintenance costs. It might seem to be a good idea to select a door with a higher rating than is needed, but doing so accomplishes little other than increasing costs.
Match the door and its hardware to the application by following the rating system established by the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association. The system grades door hardware on the number of opening and closing cycles that the hardware can be expected to withstand. For example, a Grade 1 exit device must withstand 500,000 opening and closing cycles, while a Grade 2 device must withstand only 250,000 cycles, and a Grade 3 device must withstand only 100,000 cycles. Upgrading from a Grade 2 device to a Grade 1 typically increases the first cost by 25 to 50 percent, but doubles the expected service life.
Not all facilities or even all areas within the same facility have the same security level requirements. Is the primary concern keeping unauthorized people out, or is it to keep equipment and inventory in? Applying the same standards to all doors will result in inadequate security in some locations, and security measures that unnecessarily interfere with normal egress in others.
For example, a common security breach occurs in doors serving loading docks. If the loading dock is used frequently, it is not uncommon to find that exterior doors to the loading dock have been propped open and their alarm devices disabled. The door security system interfered with routine operations, so it was bypassed, potentially compromising security for the entire facility.
Security must be examined on a location-by-location basis. What are the security issues for that location? What is being protected, people or things? What are the consequences of a security breach? What is the likelihood of a security breach? Only after these questions are answered can one determine how much security is appropriate.
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