Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
Email:, Blog: or

Aug 29 2016

Signage for Low Energy Automatic Doors

Category: Accessibility,Automatic OperatorsLori @ 10:50 am Comments (3)

Automatic Door SignageDeputy Jeff Tock of Allegion sent me this photo, showing some confusing signage on an automatic door (push to operate an outswinging door from the pull side?) – which reminded me that it’s been years since I’ve written about the signage requirements for low-energy automatic doors.

The International Building Code (IBC) doesn’t include detailed requirements for automatic doors, and only specifies the maximum forces for operating automatic doors manually during a power failure (15 pounds to release the latch, 50 pounds to set the door in motion, and 15 pounds to open the door to the fully-open position).  For other requirements pertaining to automatic doors, the IBC references two standards – ANSI/BHMA A156.10 for power-operated swinging, sliding, and folding doors, and ANSI/BHMA A156.19 for power-assisted and low-energy power-operated swinging doors.

The requirements for signage on a door with a low-energy operator are found in Section 6 of ANSI/BHMA A156.19:

  • Caution Automatic DoorSignage instructing the user on the operation and function of the door must be visible from both sides of the door.
  • Signs must be mounted 50 inches +/-12 inches from the floor to the center of the sign.
  • Letters must be 5/8-inch high minimum.
  • For low-energy operators, the sign must read “Caution Automatic Door” (the word “caution” is usually in the middle –>).
  • Sign must be 6 inches minimum diameter, with black letters on a yellow background.
  • Additional information may be included on the sign.

In addition to the signs above, you also need signs describing the operation of the door:

  • These signs must be blue with white letters, mounted on both the push and pull sides of the opening.
    • For low energy operators with a wall switch, the sign reads, “Activate switch to operate.”
    • For low energy operators are initiated by pushing or pulling the door, the signs read “Push to operate,” and “Pull to operate.”
    • For power assist doors with a wall switch, the sign reads, “Easy open door – Activate switch then open door.”
    • For power assist doors operated by pushing or pulling the door or by a remote device, the signs read “Easy open door – Push to operate,” and “Easy open door – Pull to operate.”

I have seen low-energy automatic doors with no signage on the door at all – ANSI/BHMA A156.19 makes it clear that this is not acceptable.  For full-powered automatic doors (sometimes called “high energy” doors), refer to ANSI/BHMA A156.10.

3 Responses to “Signage for Low Energy Automatic Doors”

  1. David Snell, AHC says:

    Looks like a Norman door.

  2. Steve Christifulli says:

    Hey Lori, I am an AAADM trainer, which means I train automatic door technicians on the 156.10, 156.19 and 156.38. ANSI 156.38 covers low energy power operated slide and fold doors. In the 159.19 – 2013 standard, the manual opening force is 15 to release a latch, if equipped with a latch, 30 pounds to set the door in motion and 15 pounds to fully open the door. Measured at 1″ off the lead edge of the door. Since you want to travel down this road, it is critical that the handicap logo never be displayed on any low energy door. Just because there’s a low energy door operator installed doesn’t mean it meets all of the requirements of ANSI 117.1. Just my 2 cents.

  3. Jared says:

    I’ve found the push and go feature to be more of a safety concern than a useful feature. Still a good field option.

Leave a Reply