Construct Per Specs

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For some reason, doors and hardware seem to be one of the last items on a project to be addressed.  My fellow hardware consultants can attest to the fact that we are constantly called in at the last minute to create hardware specifications that were needed yesterday.  In some cases, the door schedule is not yet complete and we’re asked to produce a clear, concise, correct, and complete hardware specification – that’s impossible!

Architects and specifiers may wonder why hardware consultants need so much detailed information – and why it makes us crazy when changes are made and we don’t know about them.  It all starts with the door schedule…here’s why each field matters:

  • Door Number – Each hardware set is tied to one or more door numbers, so it’s very helpful if each door opening has a unique door number (that isn’t 10 characters long if possible!). On projects with a lot of repetitive openings, for example – an apartment building, it’s sometimes convenient to have door types instead of individual door numbers, but on most projects unique door numbers really help to address hardware variations between openings.
  • Opening Width – The door width can affect the type of hinges specified – wider doors typically require heavy weight hinges or continuous hinges. In my specifications I don’t list the specific size of each item in the hardware set, but the door width will also affect sizing for kick plates, gasketing and thresholds, overhead stops, and panic hardware. If we see a door width that provides a clear opening of less than the 32 inches required for accessibility and egress, we can help to rectify the situation early on.
  • Opening Height – The quantity of hinges or intermediate pivots, and the length of continuous hinges is determined by the door height. In some cases there are code ramifications to oversized doors, and we can help to find a solution. The door height also affects the length of removable mullions, vertical rod panic hardware, and perimeter gasketing.
  • Door Thickness – Some hardware is adjustable for various door thicknesses, some is not. Commercial and institutional doors are typically 1 ¾ inches thick, but other thicknesses can be accommodated with longer fasteners, cylinders, and other components. The thickness will also impact the hinges we specify.
  • Single / Pair – I can’t count how many times I’ve reviewed a submittal and found that a single door had been changed to a pair or vice versa. It may only take a quick mouse-click and a few key-strokes to change it on the plan, but it changes the hardware completely!
  • Door and Frame Material – The hardware for aluminum, glass, wood, hollow metal, and doors of other materials is often very different. If I specify a recessed panic device that can only be used on a hollow metal door, it will not work if a wood door is supplied. Hardware for glass doors is very specialized and may not be compatible with an aluminum door. The material can also help us determine if special fasteners are required.
  • Elevations – Hardware selection often depends on the stile and rail dimensions. If it’s a narrow-stile door, standard panic hardware will not fit. If the top rail is not wide enough, we may have to specify a different closer/stop configuration. We can also help to identify lite/lock conflicts and lites or bottom rails that don’t meet the requirements for doors on an accessible route.
  • Details – Reviewing the details helps the hardware consultant catch any issues that require special consideration. For example, a wide jamb depth can be an accessibility issue, and a frame with special molding may require an extended lip strike and/or a special template for the closer. Hinge selection may also be impacted by the details.
  • Fire Rating – I’ve had many projects where I received the door schedule before the fire ratings had been added – a major problem! For fire doors we need to consider door closers, smoke-activated holders, positive latches, fire exit hardware, gasketing, and hinges that are listed for use on a fire door assembly. If it’s a smoke door we need to know whether it is in a smoke barrier, smoke partition, or other wall type in order to determine the requirements.
  • Remarks/Comments – If there are special requirements like access control, automatic operators, lead-lined doors, sound doors – all have an impact on the hardware and should be noted on the door schedule.
  • Hardware Set – If we receive all of the necessary information, we will create an accurate hardware specification and provide you with a hardware set number for each door on the door schedule. It’s painless!

My colleague, T.J. Gottwalt, AHC, CDC, FDAI, CSI, CCPR, will be conducting a seminar at the upcoming CONSTRUCT show about creating a door schedule, with a preview of the latest technology being used to build door schedules in Revit.  We hope to see you there!

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