Doors and Door Hardware: Consider Life-Cycle Costs
Managers obviously do not choose the wrong product for the application intentionally, so how do they end up with these products? In many cases, the low initial cost of the door or hardware was more important than its life-cycle cost.
Manufacturers have fought the first-cost fight since forever — sometimes they even win — but the message has remained the same.
“If you just look at first cost, you might be saddling yourself with much bigger costs down the road,” says Dan Depta, manager of marketing for Special-Lite, which manufactures door hardware and fiberglass-reinforced polyester doors.
Here is where the budget problems take hold. Specifiers or managers believe they look good and save the organization money by spending less on new doors and door hardware. In too many cases, though, the organization spends much more than it needs to on repairs or replacement because the product didn’t stand up to abuse, provide security or control access the way it was supposed to.
To convince customers to look beyond first cost, manufacturers are bringing up a hot-button issue — sustainability. Since so many organizations now pay more attention to reducing waste and minimizing the impact of facilities on future generations, manufacturers try to turn that discussion to their products.
“If you’re building a school to last a hundred years, it doesn’t make sense to put a five-year door on it,” Depta says.
The role of doors and door hardware in sustainability can go even further.
“Doors are functional parts of the thermal envelope,” Depta says. “If they don’t latch and seal properly, they won’t function properly.” One result is wasted energy to keep buildings at desired temperatures.
Manufacturers also in many cases are designing and marketing their products to maximize their benefits to the environment. Allen points to an electronic access control door lever that does not require batteries. Instead, users generate the power to operate it by turning the lever.