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While retrofits of doors and door hardware improve ease of access and security, they also can enhance the area's appearance with a range of traditional and modern designs. Materials can vary from nickel and bronze to brass, chrome, plastic, stainless steel, or zinc, and finishes can include polished, brushed, and satin. ANSI/BHMA A156.18 includes a list of 102 material and finish combinations.
Retrofitted door hardware shows that owners regularly upgrade handles, locks, hinges, closers, and exit devices. Payback will result in the form of occupant satisfaction and increased asset value. LEED incentives are an added way to achieve a cost-effective retrofit. In the healthcare industry, LEED, Existing Buildings: Operations and Performance standards provide points toward certification for compliant door frames and door hardware that improve energy efficiency by just five percent.
Door hardware manuals contain recommended maintenance steps and frequencies for components, so managers must incorporate these tasks into preventive maintenance schedules. Warning signs of maintenance problems include: leaks around closers, door scraping against frames; sagging that causes uneven gaps around doors; cold or hot air leaks; latches and strikes that do not engage or scrape; loose hinges; loose door frames that move when the door opens or closes; and handles that stick or need to be pushed to open.
Checks of these components, in addition to keeping hardware working properly, offer an opportunity to look for retrofit upgrades, not just a replacement with the same product. Is a component failing before it should? Is it difficult to operate? Do the door and hardware require an ADA retrofit? Is there an opportunity to reduce or consolidate door and hardware components during the next retrofit? Keeping records of each preventive maintenance round can save time and aid in recalling these opportunities when the time comes to plan the next retrofit.
Thomas A. Westerkamp is a maintenance and engineering management consultant and president of the work management division of Westerkamp Group LLC.
Design Considerations for Door Hardware