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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected an array systems and processes within institutional and commercial facilities, and building entrances and door hardware are no exception. In the last few months, maintenance and engineering managers have revisited their decision making when it comes to specifying, installing and maintaining door hardware in ways that they hope will control the spread of the coronavirus.
From closers, locks and handles to card readers and keys, managers are taking a closer look at products and technology designed to protect the health and safety of building occupants, staff and visitors. Just as importantly, the pandemic has changed the way manufacturers design, produce and market their products in order to meet the evolving needs of managers and facilities.
A new era for buildings
Facilities look and feel much different than they did in the spring of 2020, when organizations responded to the spread of COVID-19 by closing facilities and curtailing operations.
“The mission for door hardware and access control manufacturers has evolved dramatically over the past six months,” says Chip Durham of dormakaba USA. “Traditionally, we were very focused on the security and safety aspects of an opening. With the advance of COVID-19, the mission has expanded to include healthy and productive openings.
“A facility owner is now concerned about the health needs of openings in order to provide a higher level of confidence and comfort for their customers, visitors and employees. The manufacturer and architect must also balance the security, health and safety with the productivity needs based upon the use of the facility. This is driving new applications of technology for touch-free access, mobile credentials and interior movement flow.”
While healthy work environments are crucial, manufacturers revamping their offerings with the realization that managers still must attend to a range of competing priorities.
“A manufacturer should understand the need for a retailer to provide a safe and healthy environment while maintaining the highest level of security,” Durham says. “The product offering must address the retailers’ concerns, providing solutions for a safe, healthy and secure setting while exemplifying the commitment to customers and employees.”
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