Complexity and Expense of Doors Have Increased

  October 28, 2015

Doors and door hardware have never received much attention during the design process for new construction or renovation projects. Beyond making certain that the selection meets minimum functionality and code requirements, more attention is usually paid to the look and finish of the door and its hardware than to how well they will function over time. But what goes unnoticed by most stakeholders during design can become an unending chore for the operating staff to keep buildings accessible and secure.

Not that long ago, it was possible to get away with ignoring door and door hardware requirements. Doors and door hardware, and the functions they were expected to perform, were relatively simple. The biggest operational concern was keeping the doors working properly. Security concerns were limited to having a properly operating lock.

Today, the situation has changed. Doors and door hardware no longer are simple, low-cost components. They are now expected to perform more functions beyond simply looking good and locking. And potential conflicts among these functions are not uncommon. For example, safety requirements for building occupants often are in direct conflict with security requirements for the building. As a result, doors and door hardware can no longer be taken for granted. Facility executives should use the same approach when evaluating door options that they apply in selecting other building systems and components.

Door and door hardware selection goes beyond simply matching components to the needs of the facility. It should also take into consideration the costs associated with maintaining what has been installed. Failure to consider maintenance requirements will result in staff spending too much time and money trying to keep doors and door hardware functioning as they are supposed to. Consider that poorly or improperly functioning doors and door hardware can easily compromise building security and the safety of the occupants. Additionally, they can negatively impact a building’s energy use. What’s more, they can cause damage to surrounding building components, including floors and walls.

Before one can even begin the door and door hardware selection process, it is important to understand what factors particular to the installation will affect their long-term performance. For most applications, these include life-safety, emergency egress, loss prevention, and security for building occupants. Each of these factors should be examined for each application to determine the door’s performance level. While all will apply to some extent, some factors will be more important than others for that installation.

Today’s tip comes from James Piper.

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