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.

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