Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
Allegion
Email: lori_greene@allegion.com, Blog: www.idighardware.com or www.ihatehardware.com


Jul 18 2018

WW: Hanging by a Thread

Category: Door Closers,Wordless WednesdayLori @ 12:20 am Comments (1)
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Jess Dey sent me today’s Wordless Wednesday photo…SCARY!

 


Jul 17 2018

Elevator Hoistway Doors

Category: Fire Doors,Road Trips,SmokeLori @ 12:30 am Comments (6)
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I just saw these doors in a hotel, so it seems like a good time to write about the requirements for doors at an elevator hoistway.  Basically, where a corridor is required to have a fire-resistance rating (like in a hotel), openings in the elevator shaft have to be protected by fire door assemblies.  Often this is done with an elevator lobby, but in some cases an elevator lobby is not required and the fire door assemblies are provided right at the hoistway.

Here’s where the requirement for opening protectives is stated in the 2018 IBC:  3006.2.1 Rated corridors. Where corridors are required to be fire-resistance rated in accordance with Section 1020.1, elevator hoistway openings shall be protected in accordance with Section 3006.3.

Section 3006.3 requires hoistway opening protection to be provided by either:

  1. enclosed elevator lobbies with fire partitions and fire door assemblies that limit air infiltration to the stated levels when tested in accordance with UL 1784, or
  2. enclosed elevator lobbies with smoke partitions (where the building is equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system), with doors that are self-closing or automatic-closing, positive-latching, and limit air infiltration to the stated levels when tested in accordance with UL 1784, or
  3. additional doors at each elevator hoistway door opening which limit air infiltration to the stated levels when tested in accordance with UL 1784 without an artificial bottom seal, and the doors must be readily openable from the elevator side without a key, tool, special knowledge or effort

This hotel does not have elevator lobbies, hence the swinging doors at the hoistways.  Since the swinging doors would not be user-friendly during normal operation of the elevator, the doors are held open on magnetic holders and will close when the fire alarm is activated.  I have to say…I would have not have used brass anodized continuous hinges and brass powder-coated closers – white would have blended much better.  And these doors don’t appear to have gasketing or door bottoms, so I’m not sure how the UL 1784 air infiltration requirement is being met.


Jul 16 2018

WWYD? Auto Operator App

Category: Accessibility,Automatic Operators,WWYD?Lori @ 12:53 am Comments (7)
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I recently came across an app that literally “opens doors” for people who have disabilities that make it difficult or impossible to initiate an automatic door by pushing an actuator.  The app is being developed by Portal Entryways (there’s more info here, and you can email the company here).

Check out how it works (and note the excited response of the person testing the app):

The app would be installed in the phones of people who are unable to use the wall-mounted actuator, and as long as the person has the app running in the background on their phone, the doors equipped with special receivers will open automatically when the phone is within about 10 feet of the door.  The door will stay open until the user has moved out of proximity of the door.

The question here is whether an app on a user’s phone qualifies as a “knowing act” (more background on that here).  The standard for low-energy operators – BHMA A156.19 – currently defines a knowing act as:  “Consciously initiating the powered opening of a low-energy door using acceptable methods including: wall or jamb-mounted contact switches such as push plates; fixed non-contact switches; the action of manual opening (pushing or pulling) a door; and controlled access devices such as keypads, card readers, and keyswitches.”

Could an app with limited distribution be considered a controlled access device?  BHMA is planning to address this in the next edition of the standard, so for now there is no definitive answer to that question.  It would be up to the code official whether the app can be used, and whether any safety sensors are needed.  I spoke to the US Access Board and the International Code Council, and they referred me back to BHMA, since the requirement for a knowing act is only included in the BHMA standard.  I didn’t get the impression that any of the people I spoke with were overly concerned about the effect of the app on safety, but that is my unofficial opinion.

This app is an important tool for people who are not able to use a wall-mounted actuator, so I would really like to find a way to allow this type of automatic operation while still maintaining the necessary level of safety.  What do you think?

  • Is the app acceptable because of the limited number of users who could be trained not to continue to approach the door if they see a person in the path of the door swing?
  • Should a safety sensor be added that alerts the user to someone standing in the path of the door so they can wait to approach until the person moves out of the way?
  • Is it necessary to have safety sensors interface with the receiver to prevent the door from opening until the area is clear?
  • Guide rails are required when an automatic door is opened by a sensor that detects each approaching occupant, but the rails can be difficult or impossible to retrofit on existing openings.  Is an acceptable level of safety achievable without the rails considering that the app will only be used by specific people?

WWYD?


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