Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
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Tactile Warning

Tactile warning is an abrasive or knurled strip on a lever handle to indicate that the door leads to a hazardous area such as a boiler room, mechanical room, or loading dock.  This requirement is no longer included in the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) or in ICC/ANSI A117.1, but it is a […]

Door Opening Force

Door opening force is the measurement of how many pounds of force are required to open a door.  The requirements for door opening force are found in the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), ICC/ANSI A117.1 Standard on Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities, and the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board requirements (521 CMR). In […]

Automatic Operator Actuators

The 2007 edition of ANSI/BHMA A156.19 – American National Standard for Power Assist and Low Energy Power Operated Doors requires low energy operators to be initiated by a “knowing act”, which is described as “consciously initiating the powered opening of a low-energy door using acceptable methods, including: wall- or jamb-mounted contact switches such as push […]

New ADA Accessibility Guidelines

News from the Access Board regarding the updated ADA Accessibility Guidelines which were originally published in 2004, revised in 2005, and published for public comment in 2007: The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has delayed publication of updated final regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) due to the presidential transition. DOJ, which had […]

Solution for Unequal Pairs

One of the top 5 questions which I receive almost weekly is regarding the replacement of a 5′-wide equal pair with a 3’+2′ unequal pair.  Because automatic flush bolts and a coordinator can be problematic, and most panic hardware will not fit on a 2′ wide door, I’m constantly being asked if it’s ok to […]

Max Headroom

Remember him?  I guess I’m dating myself if I admit that I do since he made his debut in the mid- to late-80’s, right around the time that Bill Lawliss, John Gant, and I all graduated with degrees in Architecture from Vermont Technical College.  Just think where we could be now if we took those […]

Pocket Doors

Personally, I think architects like pocket doors way too much but that’s the cool thing about a blog…I get to tell everyone what I think.  😉  If you decide to use a pocket door on an opening that is required to be accessible, here’s what you need to know: According to the accessibility standards, the […]

Door Pulls

Almost every week someone asks me about the clearance behind door pulls.  Many manufacturers’ catalogs show certain pulls with a symbol indicating that they are accessible, and other pulls without the symbol.  About 10 years ago I called the Department of Justice (ADA), the International Code Council (CABO back then), and the Massachusetts Architectural Access […]

Opening Force for Fire Doors, Part 1

I got an email today about a fire rated door that would not reliably close with the closer adjusted to provide 5 pounds of opening force.  I did a post on opening force for accessibility a while back, but it’s important to note that fire-rated doors are not required to open with 5 pounds of […]

ADAAG Manual

The ADAAG Manual was created by the Access Board of the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board as companion information to the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG).  It explains and clarifies many of the requirements of the ADAAG, and gives insight on the intent of the requirements.  I recently found a downloadable version available […]

Bottom Rail Deadlock

Years ago, glass doors were commonly locked with a deadlock in the bottom rail.  Many of these doors are still in use, but in order to comply with current codes, I don’t recommend the use of a bottom rail deadlock on most new projects.  Assuming that the glass door is a required egress door and/or […]

Clear Opening Width

Back in the 80’s, there was a lot of confusion about how to measure the clear opening width of doors. The codes and standards weren’t clear, so on doors with panic devices the fire marshals were looking for 32″ between the panic device and the stop on the strike jamb.  As each code and standard […]

Accessibility by State

Here’s a great list of accessibility code requirements and contacts by state.  It lists the accessibility code or standard for each state, as well as the contact information for the state agency that oversees the accessibility requirements.  The list was compiled by the United States Access Board, an independent Federal agency devoted to accessibility for people […]

Peek-A-Boo…I see you!

Today I went to a jobsite, and on the way there I stopped at a very busy urban rest area of sorts.  I asked an employee at the food court where the restrooms were, and she handed me a token. When I was working on the Trinity Church undercroft project a few years ago, I […]

More on Clear Opening Width

Honestly, I do NOT have a bathroom obsession.  It’s just a coincidence that once again, a code question came up regarding a bathroom door. You know how sometimes you just know something, and then someone questions you and then you start to question yourself?  That’s what happened yesterday. I was creating some hardware sets for […]

Lite Location

When I started working in the hardware industry, we regularly supplied doors with a 10″ x 10″ vision lite (type V in the Steelcraft graphic below), which was typically installed approximately 63″ from the center of the lite to the floor.  This configuration would no longer be acceptable according to some current accessibility standards.  The […]

Indicator Deadbolt

I know I just mentioned bathroom door hardware yesterday so maybe this will be the start of another series.  🙂 Almost every week someone asks me about the use of deadbolts on bathroom doors, often because they want to use an indicator deadbolt, like the Falcon D271 (right).  I saw an application recently at Harvard, […]

<90 Degrees

I haven’t posted for a few days because I’ve been working on my new FDAI presentation and various other things, but I’m kind of excited about this post because it answers a question that has been floating around for years.  Ok…maybe “excited” is the wrong word, but I really enjoy crossing things off the “grey […]

<90 Degrees, Not So Fast

My last post was about the method of measuring the clear opening width of a door that doesn’t open to 90 degrees.  After reading the codes and the commentaries and having several discussions with someone from the ICC, I posted a graphic of a 32″ cylinder passing through the opening, as described by the ICC. […]

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Yesterday we jammed as much rainforest into one day as we possibly could.  In the morning we went to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and had a 3-hour hike with our awesome guide / biologist, Eduardo.  He knew everything about the plants, birds, and animals of the reserve, and we learned A LOT. In the […]

<90 Degrees - Follow-Up

A while back, I had a couple of posts about a door that opened less than 90 degrees.  I received a photo of the application that inspired the original question, and I think based on the feedback I received from code officials and the fact that the clear opening width is 32 1/4″, this application […]

Spring Hinges

After my post about the Parkside West fire, a couple of people have asked me what I have against spring hinges.  I’m not one to discriminate against hardware of any function, style, or finish, but I also like things to do what they’re supposed to do.  If I could get my kids to act more […]

Actuator Kludge

After that last post I think we all need a break.  Here’s a “fix” from You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

Updated ADA Regulations

It’s hard to believe that last week was the 20th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act. I clearly remember being sent to a seminar at the Ramada Inn in the early 90’s to hear all about how this *new* law would affect architecture and construction. Of course, not much of the presentation was spent […]

Accessible Thumbturns

At least once a month someone asks me whether it’s ok to use a deadbolt with a thumbturn on a door that is required to be accessible.  It took some digging to get a definitive answer, because the accessibility standards don’t specify a certain dimension that would be acceptable for the thumbturn.  The ADA guidelines […]


AccessibilityOnline is conducting monthly webinars on accessibility as a collaborative training program between the ADA National Network and the US Access Board.  The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design were recently approved, and the revised standards will be the topic of the next webinar.  The webinar is scheduled for September 2nd, 2010, from 1:30-4:00 ET.  […]

The Coliseum

You wouldn’t think that a fair would be a great place for door-hunting, but I saw the doors below at The Big E last weekend.  There’s a lot going on here – sliding, folding, and swinging doors serving a giant assembly occupancy.  This reminds of many scenarios dreamed up by architects that I’ve advised strongly […]

Good News / Bad News

First the good news.  When the annual DHI conference was held in Boston, I conducted a 3-hour code class for architects (I later conducted the class for our DHI chapter.).  Public speaking isn’t my favorite thing to do, so when one of the attendees approached me before class started and said, “You’re not REALLY going […]

Extended Latch Guards

For exterior pairs I prefer to use rim panic devices with a removable mullion, but in some cases surface-mounted vertical rod devices are specified and supplied.  When vertical rod devices are used on cross-corridor doors, I often specify them “Less Bottom Rod” (LBR), but on exterior doors I specify them with both top and bottom […]

Decoded: Single Operation Egress (Updated December 2017)

This post was printed in the February 2011 issue of Doors and Hardware Updated December 2017 It’s hard to believe that this question still comes up as often as it does, so I’m hoping to definitively answer it once and for all.  The question is “Do single bathrooms require locks which release with one operation?” […]

The Door Closer Fairy Was Here

I have to admit, I visit the local frozen yogurt joint so often that the owners ask me if I want “the usual.”  Hey – it’s YOGURT…practically health food!  I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to make it through their winter break – about 2 months.  I survived, but the closer on their entrance […]

Accessible Doors & Maneuvering Clearance Webinar

AccessibilityOnline’s next webinar is on June 2nd from 2:30 – 4:00 Eastern Time, and the topic is Accessible Doors & Maneuvering Clearance.  If you can’t attend the webinar, there should be an archive recording available sometime after the 2nd. UPDATE:  Here’s a link to the archived recording. From the AccessibilityOnline website: June 2nd, 2011 » […]

WWYD? – Restaurant Egress (Again)

I’d love to know who did this, so I can give them a good talking-to (maybe they’ll read this and track me down like the semi-concealed closer installer). This photo was taken in a restaurant by one of my coworkers.  The tables and chairs are blocking the door, and someone trying to exit would have […]

Lever Return

I originally published the post below in May 0f 2009, but I’m trying to gather some information so I’ve pulled it up to the front again.  Please take a moment to answer the quick survey about lever return in your area.  Thanks!Click here to take a quick survey. Over the years I’ve heard many times […]

Biltmore Bonus

I hope everyone had a safe and relaxing holiday weekend…I have to admit it was really nice to take some time off. I’ve been in Grassy Cove, Tennessee since Friday and there aren’t a whole lot of doors here, but luckily I’ve got some saved up from last week. We’re headed toward home tomorrow so […]

Hershey, Pennsylvania Egress

We’re on the last leg of our road trip and will be home today, so here’s a quick post to tide you over.  I have lots more photos to share and the fact that they won’t be chronologically presented offends my orderly side, but so be it. Yesterday we were in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and we […]

Closing Speed & Delayed Action

Back in the early 90’s when the ADA was the newest focus of the door and hardware industry, delayed action closers were often specified and installed due to the assumption that they were required by the accessibility standards.  Delayed action is a feature available on many door closers, which delays the closing cycle for up […]

Decoded: Auto Operators – Stand-By Power (August 2011)

This post was printed in the August 2011 issue of Doors & Hardware [Click here to download a reprint of this article.] I was recently asked about battery back-up for an automatic operator, after an architect noted that it was required by the 2010 ADA guidelines.  The doors in question were existing bathroom doors that […]

WW: Hospital Applications

These photos were sent in by Nolan Thrope of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies.  He said they had the velcro version of wander-prevention on numerous doors.  What say you? Thanks Nolan! You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

Reader Photos

I have spent this entire week at our corporate office, so I haven’t had a lot of time for posting.  In return for your patience, next week I will post the third and final article from Lewis C. Norton’s “How I Discovered Door Checks.”  That seems fair, right? I’m here in Carmel with about a […]

Decoded: Flush Bottom Rails (Updated November 2017)

This post was printed in the April 2012 issue of Doors & Hardware Updated November 2017 The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design (available for download at officially went into effect on March 15, 2012. The requirement for a 10-inch-high flush bottom rail on manual doors is now included in the ADA standards. Previously, […]

ICC Code Hearings, Dallas

I realize that not everybody is as excited about new code developments as I am, but some of you might want to take a look or a listen…the code development hearings for the IBC/IFC are going on right now, and discussion on the Means of Egress proposals will be starting soon.  The webcast is very […]

Decoded: Opening Force and Closing Speed (Updated November 2017)

This post was printed in the May 2012 issue of Doors & Hardware Updated November 2017 Two very common accessibility issues for door openings can usually be addressed by making simple adjustments. The accessibility standards require accessible doors to be opened with a limited amount of opening force, and to close slowly. Often these requirements […]

Decoded: Mounting Heights for Door Hardware (July 2012)

This post was printed in the July 2012 issue of Doors & Hardware [Click here to download the reprint of this article.] My friend, Dick Barnhard, sent me a link so I could download all of the Steel Door Institute (SDI) standards at once – 308 pages!  What a nice Mothers Day gift to go […]

Recessed Doors

This used to be a very common application but I haven’t seen it much lately.  Do you know what the potential issue is? (Spoiler alert…I posted the answer below the photos.) I’m sure most of you are familiar with the concept of maneuvering clearances.  For manual doors (and per the 2010 ADA standards – automatic […]

Q&A: Mounting Height for Glass Lites

Question:  Is there a requirement for the location of a glass lite in a door or sidelite? Answer:  Yes!  For many years there has been a requirement in ICC A117.1 – Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities, which is referenced by the International Building Code and other publications.  If a door has a vision lite […]

Code-Compliant Doors: What to Look For

This article was published in the February 2013 issue of the Locksmith Ledger: I was recently contacted by a locksmith from a local university who attended my class on fire door inspection last year.  A new dormitory on campus is in the final stages of construction, and many of the fire doors have been installed […]

Operational Force for Hardware

The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, effective in March of 2012, included an unexpected change regarding the maximum allowable force to operate door hardware.  This modification to the standards was made as an “editorial change,” which is typically used to address errors or make clarifications that do not affect the scope or application of […]

WW: Public Safety Building

Vincent Chestnut of Alpha Locksmith spotted this problem on a visit to a local public safety building.  Not only does the door require two motions to unlatch, the thumbturn on the combination lock doesn’t look like it would be considered accessible. You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

Reader Photos – Closer Edition

I have A LOT of photos that have been sent in by readers of this blog – THANK YOU!  Here is the first batch, which all feature closers in various states of problematic. I received this one from Curtis Meskus, a building commissioner.  This is installed on a 40″ wide door, which “hits you on […]

Online Code Resources

I’ve compiled some of the code resources I currently use, in hopes that some of them might be helpful to you.  If there are other websites that you visit for code information, please leave a comment and I’ll add them to the list. Building Codes Forum: I joined this discussion forum in 2009, and […]

Beautiful Doors of Denver

I’m in Denver for the AIA conference, and this afternoon I played a rousing game of Code Jeopardy with the Denver Chapter of DHI.  If you’re at the AIA conference this week, stop at our booth (#530) to play a short version of Code Jeopardy and your name will be entered to win an iPad […]

Decoded: Tactile Warning (June 2013)

This post was printed in the June 2013 issue of Doors & Hardware Question:  Am I required by code to provide a tactile warning on certain doors in my facility?  If tactile warning is required, are stair doors included?  What types of materials are allowed for tactile warning on doors? Answer:  The 1986 edition of […]

Decoded: Actuators for Low Energy Operators (September 2013)

This post was printed in the September 2013 issue of Doors & Hardware [Click here to download the reprint of this article.] From a code and standard perspective, there are 3 basic types of automatic operators for swinging doors – Power Assist, Low Energy Power Operated, and Power Operated – also known as Full Power […]

Changes to A156.19 – 2013

A couple of months ago I wrote an article for Doors & Hardware, which appears in the September issue.  As always, I triple-checked my sources, and confirmed that 2007 was the most current edition of A156.19 – American National Standard For Power Assist and Low Energy Power Operated Doors.  Well, today a notification regarding the […]

WW: Accessible Knob?

I’m sorry it’s been a quiet week on iDigHardware so far, but I’m teaching a class for our amazing specwriter apprentices!  We’re working on electrified hardware this week, and I’m so impressed with what they’ve learned so far.  I will need your help with something tomorrow, so please check back and cast your vote. Rich […]

Codes are a Minimum

When we apply the building codes and accessibility standards, it’s important to remember that codes establish the minimum acceptable level of safety / accessibility.  The video below is a candid illustration of a door that is code-compliant, but still doesn’t provide access for all (if you have trouble with the embedded video, click here to […]

WWYD? Museum Gates

I’m looking for some ideas to help a designer with the gates in the sketches below.  Here’s the scenario: The gates lead to/from an area of a children’s museum designed for young kids, and the museum is looking for a way to limit access to the area so that only parents can enter with younger children.  […]

Happy Holidays!

And if you decide to decorate your door this holiday season, make sure you don’t create a problem with egress, fire-resistance, or accessibility! You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

CONSTRUCT: Keeping Current on Codes

Visit the CONSTRUCT blog for posts from me and other industry bloggers! A few weeks ago I attended a presentation on accessibility standards at my local CSI chapter meeting.  The meeting was very well attended, as are many of the other code classes that I’ve been to or taught.  As specifiers, we need to stay […]

BUILDINGS BUZZ – Voices from the Industry

I always enjoy having a chance to work with facility managers to make sure they’re up to date on what’s new in my world – whether it’s a new product or a recent code change.  I often answer specific questions and help with product applications one-on-one, but I really appreciate the opportunity to connect with them en […]

Decoded: Clear Opening Width and Height (Updated June 2017)

The original version of this post was printed in the February 2014 issue of Doors & Hardware Updated June 2017 At the beginning of my career in the hardware industry, there was a lot of confusion about how to measure the clear opening width of doors. The codes and standards weren’t specific, so on doors […]

WWYD: Accessible Access Control Credentials

I really enjoyed reading everyone’s input on my post about emergency exit seals, and since I’m currently in a 3-day class for the NFPA Certified Fire Plan Examiner program and don’t have a lot of time for blogging, here’s another question for which I have no concrete answer but would love your insight… The national accessibility […]

Let’s Talk it Over

I don’t know about you, but I used to feel like code officials were mysterious beings…sometimes they seemed a bit unpredictable.  I think a big part of this is because the sections of the codes that we deal with on a daily basis are difficult to decipher if you are not intimately familiar with doors […]

Decoded: Operable Force for Door Hardware (Updated December 2017)

The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, effective in March of 2012, included an unexpected change regarding the maximum allowable force to operate door hardware…

Guide to the ADA Standards – Chapters 1-3

Keys are a tough topic to address, because the accessibility standards mandate operable hardware which does not require tight grasping, tight pinching, or twisting of the wrist to operate. Keys obviously require tight grasping, tight pinching, and twisting of the wrist…


Last week I read a blog post called, “Excuse me, but your slip is showing,” from Constructive Thoughts, the blog of Sheldon Wolfe.  I’m a sucker for a well-researched article on a code-related topic, so I sent Sheldon an email asking if I could reference his post here.  Sheldon told me to have at it, […]

Ramp It Up

As I stood outside the warehouse I noticed that everyone who went in or out of the exit (which was not the main entrance), had something to say about the “ramp.” This exit would clearly not be considered accessible, but it was even difficult for able-bodied visitors to use…

Flush Bottom Rail Alternative

I saw this application the other day, while I was taking photos for an upcoming article in Construction Specifier. The article covers several accessibility topics, including the requirement for a 10-inch smooth surface at the bottom of the push side of manual doors…

Code Implications for Mechanical Hardware

Locksmiths are often called upon to increase security at an existing door or replace hardware that is damaged or defective. There are several code-related issues to note before getting started…

See you next week?

In just a few days I’ll be heading to Dallas for CoNEXTions 2014 – the DHI annual conference.  As I mentioned before, I’ll be teaching COR140 – Using Codes and Standards Monday-Wednesday, and in late-breaking news, I’ll be teaching the CE1401 Codes and Standards Update on Friday (6/27) from 1:30-4:00 p.m.  CE1401 is an online […]

Understanding New Accessibility Requirements for Doors

The 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design went into effect in March 2012, but there are several requirements that continue to surprise architects and specifiers…

50 Articles!

Late in 2010 when this blog was about a year and a half old, the editor of Doors & Hardware asked if they could publish one of my blog posts in each issue as a monthly column…

FF: Canadian Ingenuity

My friend Bill Elliott sent me these photos from a recent trip to Canada. The hold-open device is pretty crafty, but check out the non-slip surface on the ramp!

TBT: Wide Throw Hinge

These photos were sent in by Eyal Bedrik of Entry Systems Ltd., after his recent trip to the US from Israel.  The photos were taken at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York.  The home was built between 1902 and 1905, and is 35,000 square feet with 50 rooms! There is sometimes confusion between […]

Decoded: Fair Housing Act (October 2014)

A common misconception is that the Fair Housing Act applies only to federally-funded housing projects, but according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development,
“The Fair Housing Act requires all ‘covered multifamily dwellings’ designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991 to be accessible to and usable by people with disabilities. Covered multifamily dwellings are all dwelling units in buildings containing four or more units with one or more elevators, and all ground floor units in buildings containing four or more units, without an elevator.”

Decoded Online Training

In a few weeks I will be teaching my Decoded online course again, this time on behalf of the Center for Campus Fire Safety. The Decoded course is a 4-class series on code requirements applicable to doors and hardware, and is based on the following codes and standards…

Time-Sensitive Opportunities!

There are 3 educational opportunities coming up, but you have to act fast! An on-demand video of a fire door test – 1 week only! Access Control Training begins Thursday! The next online Decoded course begins tomorrow!

6 Accessibility Changes to Watch Out For (November 2014)

The 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design went into effect in March of 2012, but there are several requirements that continue to surprise architects and specifiers as well as door and hardware suppliers. These issues can be costly to resolve if they’re discovered after the doors and hardware are on-site, so it’s important to stay current on the requirements…

Decoded: Test Your Knowledge (January 2015)

You may have already noticed…I’ve been taking a little time off between the holidays, but here’s something to keep you busy until I’m back in action next Monday…

“Buyer Beware” – Paul Timm, RETA Security

Paul Timm: “For those pursuing alternative solutions, it is important to consider that some schools have installed after-market devices only to find out that code violations require their removal. Buyer beware!”

Hands-Free Door Pulls

Someone asked me last week whether a door pull operated by the user’s foot would be considered accessible. The answer seems obvious, right? How can a pull operated by someone’s foot be used for a door on an accessible route?…

Decoded: 2015 IBC Roundtable

If you are a member of the New England Chapter of DHI I hope you already know about this upcoming class, but in case you didn’t get the memo…I will be teaching a code class next week along with Jeff Batick, Greg DeGirolamo, Paul Goldense, and Jim White.  This class will be available for other […]

Ohio decision will have nationwide impact

If you don’t think the Ohio barricade situation applies to you because you don’t live in Ohio, or because you don’t do school-related work, think again. Please read the article below. It is crucial for us to spread the word about a balanced approach to school security.

2015 Edition of the Allegion Code Reference Guide

As most of you know, the code development cycle is typically 3 years, which means that the codes are constantly evolving. The 2015 editions of the International Building Code (IBC) and NFPA 101 – The Life Safety Code were recently released, and I have revised the Allegion Code Reference Guide to include these changes…

NASFM: Classroom Door Security and Locking Hardware

The National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) has posted a document on their website which offers that support, by providing guidance on the use of classroom door security and locking hardware. The 6-page document includes a suggested classroom door checklist, with code references for each item on the list…

Maneuvering Clearance with Spring Hinges

A question hit my inbox a few weeks ago that I had never considered before: Does a door with spring hinges require the same maneuvering clearance as a door with a door closer?

This Week in Baltimore – Code Jeopardy!

Wednesday, 2:00-4:30 p.m. and Thursday, 9:45 a.m.-12:20 p.m. I’ll be in Room 337 teaching Code Jeopardy! Each session is 45 minutes long and there are 2 different sessions with completely different questions…

Who wants a (FREE) code book??

The time has finally come for me to clear out my office in preparation for 3 new specwriter apprentices to join the New England SSC.  I have been working from my home office for years and will be temporarily relocating (more on that later), so today is the day I clean house. One thing I’ve […]

Decoded: Screen Doors and Doors in a Series (July 2015)

Screen doors are sometimes used in commercial or institutional occupancies, where air transfer through the opening is desired. One example of this would be a door leading from a commercial kitchen to the exterior. In some areas of the country where the climate is temperate, this is a common application which consists of two doors in the same opening, one inswinging and one outswinging. It can be very difficult for people with certain disabilities…

Viewer / Peephole Location

Whenever something is not specifically addressed in the model codes or national standards, I’m bound to get questions on it, and viewer height is one of those things. ICC A117.1 – Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities and the 2010 ADA Standards do not include a specific mounting height for the viewer…

WW: I See U

This Wordless Wednesday photo from John Gant of Allegion ties in with Monday’s post about viewer locations. I’ve never seen a requirement for 3 viewers in a hotel room door, so my guess is that one of the viewers was originally installed at the wrong location and a third was added to solve the problem…

FF: Wireless Actuator

Today’s Fixed-it Friday photo is from Joe Cross of Allegion. This actuator mounting location does NOT meet the recommendations of the A156.19 standard…

Options for Securing Classroom Doors (video)

Here’s the latest in our series of whiteboard animation videos explaining door-related topics. This one covers various options for securing classroom doors, in alignment with the guidelines from the National Association of State Fire Marshals. Enjoy and share!

Guide to the ADA Standards – Chapter 4

Last year I posted a link to a guide on the US Access Board’s website, which helps to explain the ADA Standards. Initially, the online guide only covered Chapters 1-3. The Access Board recently added Chapter 4 to the guide (found here), which is the chapter covering Accessible Routes – including Doors, Doorways, and Gates…

WWYD? Dutch Door Coordination

This is another one for my code development wish list. The typical height for a dutch door shelf is usually 39-42 inches above the floor. It can be tricky to coordinate the latching hardware in the bottom leaf…

WW: Miércoles Mudo

Who knew “Wordless Wednesday” translated so perfectly into Spanish? I think “mudo” is more like mute than speechless, but I’m going with it! I’ve become somewhat numb to Mexican egress, but some of the accessibility modifications are extreme enough to catch my eye…

FF: Unequal Leaf Pair

This is not how I would have specified the hardware for this unequal leaf pair. I think the panic hardware on the small leaf actually results in an opening that is less safe, because the removable mullion makes the small leaf difficult or impossible to use…

FF Follow-Up

Last week’s Fixed-it Friday photo has raised some questions about the best way to handle an unequal pair…a) Do both leaves of a pair require panic hardware?…

WW: Skinny Sortie

This is the exit access leading to a 3rd-floor fire escape in a Montreal hotel. I’m Wordless.

Clear Opening Width for Double-Egress Pairs

This question landed on my desk recently…What is the minimum clear opening width for each leaf of a double-egress pair?

Decoded 1 – Introduction to Codes and Accessibility

When I take time off for the holidays, I often leave a crossword puzzle or some other activity in case you decide to check in while I’m away. This time I’m posting the first of 4 Decoded classes for you to check out while things are relatively quiet…

Intro to Codes (video)

We’ve been working on a new series of whiteboard animation videos…here is one of my favorites!

Intro to Thresholds and Gasketing (video)

Here’s a new whiteboard animation video explaining the basics of thresholds and gasketing, including the related accessibility requirements…

Intro to Low-Energy Automatic Operators (video)

Do you have questions about low-energy automatic operators or the standards that apply to them? Maybe this will help…

Mounting Height Alert

Just when I think I’ve run out of questions and potential pitfalls, one shows up in my inbox. A while back I wrote an article for Doors & Hardware, addressing the required mounting height for operable hardware. The model codes and accessibility standards require operable hardware to be mounted between 34 inches and 48 inches above the floor. I noted in the article that some states have adopted different requirements for mounting heights…

Fixed Non-Contact Switches

If a low-energy operator is actuated by a motion sensor, it has to meet the requirements of A156.10 instead of A156.19, which usually means the door must have guide rails and safety sensors. What about the “wave-to-open” switches…are these considered motion sensors?

La Parada – Albuquerque, New Mexico

I used to post lots of photos from trips I took with my family, and I’ll be doing some more traveling this summer. In the meantime, I’m counting on y’all to send me pics of any interesting doors you see in your travels. Logan Piburn of Dyron Murphy Architects sent me these photos…

WWYD? Toggle Buttons

This lock function is one of several applications that may meet the technical requirements of the accessibility standards, but in reality are difficult to operate by people with certain types of disabilities. Have any of you had experience with AHJs allowing or not allowing this function?

Keys and the ADA

Several people have asked me recently what the Americans with Disabilities Act says about keys. Although the ADA standards address operable parts of locks – like thumbturns, keypads, turn-buttons, and of course, knobs and levers, keys are not covered by the ADA…

New Ohio school barricade rules concern disability group

If a school decides to buy all new doorknobs for their school, and only buy a lever handle for the one classroom with a teacher who has a disability, in my opinion that would not meet the intent of the ADA. What makes it ok to do the same thing with classroom barricade devices?

FF: Conference Center

In addition to yesterday’s applied panels, which qualified as Fixed-it Friday photos, here are a few more applications from the conference center where I’m spending one more night. If you’re in Orlando and saw any Fixed-it Friday doors during your stay, send them along!

New CMS Final Fire Safety Regulations – Ober|Kaler Health Law Group

This article about the updated CMS fire safety regulations crossed my desk over the weekend, and it contains a lot of information about how these changes will affect health care facilities…

Guide to the ADA Standards – Chapter 5

The United States Access Board has been slowly but surely building an online guide to the ADA. Chapter 5 – General Site and Building Elements, is now available…

BUILDINGS BUZZ – Voices from the Industry

I currently have an article on BUILDINGS BUZZ…the blog for BUILDINGS, a magazine for commercial building owners and facilities management professionals. The article covers some of the code changes…

Construction Specifier: Battling the Barricade

In the wake of any tragedy, society struggles collectively to process the loss. For some it is the loss of friends and loved ones, but for most it is our feelings of safety and trust in the overall goodness of our fellow man that are diminished or seemingly lost entirely. In their place, we are filled with an overwhelming desire to do something…

Decoded: Balconies, Terraces, and Courtyards (October 2016)

. This post was published in the October 2016 issue of Doors & Hardware . Many of today’s architectural designs incorporate outdoor spaces such as balconies, terraces, and courtyards, allowing building occupants access to natural light and fresh air.  Because these areas often have an egress path which leads through the building to the public […]

FF: ADA Upgrade

I received these photos from Don Funsch of Commercial Mill & Builders Supply. The interesting thing about these photos is not that the mailbox has been placed in front of the door, because this door isn’t a required means of egress. What makes them worthy…

Signage for Low Energy Automatic Doors

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

NFPA – Fire Safety for People with Disabilities

Last week I received questions from two different facility managers about egress requirements the evacuation of people with disabilities. More than 43 million Americans have a disability…

School/College Planning & Management

What should a school consider before purchasing classroom barricade devices, also known as temporary door locking devices?

WWYD? Arched Door – Auto Operator

The proposed solution for an auto operator on an arched door is shown below the photo, but I’m wondering if there are more aesthetically-pleasing options. WWYD?

Accessibility Requirements for Door Openings

Imagine you had to tell someone all about the accessibility requirements in 800 words…what did I miss?

Holiday Door Decorating

Now, before you call me Scroogette, I do love doors and holiday decorating, and I can understand the appeal. BUT, there are a few rules to keep in mind…

Decoded: Requirements for Door-Related Signage (February 2017)

Here’s my next Decoded article…I had to do some research on this topic since it’s not one that I typically address, so let me know if I missed anything!

QQ: Do the accessibility standards require automatic operators?

Are automatic operators required by the ADA Standards and ICC A117.1 – the predominate accessibility standards used in the US?

DHI – Safely Securing the Built Environment through Building, Fire, and Life Safety Codes (video)

This is a good introductory video from the Door & Hardware Institute on how codes impact our industry. For additional training on codes…

Decoded: Recent and Upcoming Changes to the Model Codes (April 2017)

When I started increasing my focus on the code requirements that affect our industry, I looked forward to receiving the new editions of the model codes and standards, so I could page through them and find out what was new…

QQ: Accessible Mounting Height

Most of you know that operable hardware must be mounted between 34 inches and 48 inches AFF, but does the ENTIRE piece of hardware have to be mounted within that area?

Training Alert: Codes & Door Hardware for Accessible Openings

On Thursday, March 30th, there will be two opportunities to earn AIA continuing education credits and learn about an important code-related topic…

Decoded: Accessibility Requirements for Door Openings (video)

Here it is! The next whiteboard animation video we created to introduce (or refresh) the basics of opening accessibility…

Dynamic Accessibility Symbol

The driving force behind this change is the Accessible Icon Project, which began in Boston and has gone global, leading some US cities and states to mandate use of the new symbol…

New Code Changes for Classroom Doors

Now that the NFPA 101 vote has passed, the 2018 model codes will be pretty consistent with regard to classroom security. I pulled together information from the IBC, IFC, and NFPA 101 for this article…

Stack Pressure (video)

Have you run into problems with the effects of building stack pressure on the operation of doors? Here’s a new whiteboard animation video that explains the basics of stack pressure…

Decoded: Securing Parking Garages (September 2017)

Without proper planning, parking garages can present security and life-safety challenges. People who are authorized to use the parking area – or unauthorized people who are able to enter an open parking garage – may attempt to gain access to other floors of the building…

QQ: What is a power-assist operator?

This is Part 1 of a 2-part question, so check tomorrow’s post for Part 2. First, I’d like to clarify what defines a power-assist operator…

QQ: Push ‘N Go For Automatic Operators

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about power-assist operators to clarify that these are not the same as low-energy automatic operators. This 2-part question arose from a misconception that “power-assist” is the same thing as “Push ‘N Go.”

QQ: Door Pull Clearance

I answered this question a couple of years ago as part of a longer post, but people continue to ask so here goes…
“How much clearance do the accessibility standards require behind a door pull?”

H.R.620 – ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017

In January of this year, a bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Ted Poe of Texas. On September 7th, the House Judiciary Committee voted to advance this bill – H.R. 620…

Decoded: Code Requirements for Classroom Security

Our last whiteboard animation video for this year will address the 2018 model code requirements for classroom security…

QQ: Are doorknobs acceptable in a hospital?

For most types of buildings, lever-handle locksets are standard equipment, but some existing buildings may be equipped with knobs. Are knobs acceptable by code in existing health care facilities?

IBC Accessibility Exceptions

The IBC includes 14 exemptions for areas that are not required to comply with the accessibility standards. Do you know which locations are exempt?

WWYD? IBC Changes

This is our big chance to propose some changes to the IBC, to help make it easier to interpret, and to address new developments in products or technologies, or new safety issues that have arisen…

Decoded: Locations for Vision Lights and Viewers (January 2018)

A vision light is not required in each door opening on an accessible route, but if vision lights are provided for viewing purposes in doors or sidelights, the bottom of at least one of these lights must be located no more than 43 inches above the floor…

Access Board Video on Maneuvering Clearance

I found this video while I was creating the class on maneuvering clearances, and I think it does a great job of explaining the maneuvering clearance requirements of the ADA, and a few other basic accessibility requirements pertaining to doors…

Number of Operations for ACCESS

A few weeks ago I received a question about whether there is a limit on the number of operations required for access to a dwelling unit, in order to meet the accessibility standards.

WW: Wisconsin Teen’s Door-Locking Device Offers Extra Safety In Active Shooter Situations

When this story was posted on Facebook yesterday, several people attempted to address the code issues associated with the teenager’s invention. A commenter posted a link to one of my articles, and another commenter called my article “a fallacy”!

WW: Lockdown Lowdown

Since it’s Wordless Wednesday, here is a photo that Jim Phillips of SBS Associates sent me from a school walk-through. Luckily the school’s security precautions kept these intruders out.

Accessibility Overlap

Does this proposed security closet create an accessibility problem?

Decoded: Code Requirements for Classroom Security (video)

Our newest whiteboard animation video addresses the important topic of classroom security.

Restroom Kits for Automatic Operators

Questions continue to arise regarding how to properly specify/supply hardware for a single restroom door with an automatic operator.  The challenge is that the outside actuator (push button) for the automatic operator has to be interfaced with the locking system; otherwise, the actuator could open the door even when the restroom is occupied. I wrote […]

Decoded: Manually-Operated Sliding Doors (April 2018)

Manual sliders are not always allowed in a means of egress, since the model codes require side-hinged or pivoted swinging doors for most locations. The International Building Code (IBC) currently contains 9 exceptions where swinging doors are not required.

Classroom Security Considerations (May 2018)

I’m hoping this piece sums up the concerns associated with classroom barricade devices and can be used as reference material when discussing options for school security.

Short-Term Rentals

So let’s say that I’m thinking about renting out my college-bound daughter’s bedroom on Airbnb to help offset the cost of her books and fees. Does her bedroom door need to be a fire door? Is my house now a small hotel?

Training Opportunity (with AIA and DHI credit)!!

I just found out about a great opportunity on Friday, May 11th for you to attend our Code Update Roundtable!

Decoded: Upcoming Accessibility Changes (June 2018)

In 2017, the International Code Council (ICC) published a new edition of ICC A117.1; the previous edition was published in 2009. The 2017 edition includes some changes relative to door openings…

WW: Old Fire Hose

As a last resort, I support using whatever is on hand to secure/barricade the door. But if we have time to look at the school’s current situation and plan the response – is this REALLY the best we can do?

Decoded: Accessibility – Training Opportunity (with AIA credits!)

This live version of Decoded Class 1 – Introduction to Codes & Accessibility offers AIA continuing education credits!

QQ: Dwelling Unit Doors

On a multi-family building, are the dwelling unit doors required to have a 10-inch bottom rail?

WW: Safety vs. Security

I’m confused about this conflict between newly-adopted code requirements and what the media is reporting. Can anyone share some insight?

FF: Don’t let the door hit ya…

While this may seem like a great idea at first glance – a wireless actuator mounted on the door to open the door automatically – this does not meet the recommended guidelines for actuator location.

School Superintendents Association Shares Information on Barricade Devices

The School Superintendents Association (AASA) is sharing safety concerns about classroom barricade devices with their 13,000+ members. Visit iDigHardware to get a copy of the document that is being distributed.

FF: Pool Access

I’m curious about what age children are prevented access by the 54-inch mounting height, and whether that jives with the age of children who can read the sign and enter the code.

WWYD? Tripping Hazard

Last week an architect asked whether there is guidance in the codes or standards regarding the mounting location/maximum height for floor-mounted door stops, to ensure that the stop is not a tripping hazard. WWYD?

WWYD? Auto Operator App

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.

QQ: Turn-Buttons vs. Push-Buttons

Are turn-buttons on cylindrical locks compliant with the accessibility standards? The answer to this question is really up to the AHJ, but here are a few things to consider…

Decoded: Code Requirements for Hotels and other Residential Occupancies (November 2018)

Code issues are not uncommon in hotels, apartment buildings, and other residential occupancies. My next Decoded article addresses some things to look for.

FF: Put a cork in it.

The accessibility standards require sliding door hardware to be “exposed and usable from both sides” when the door is open. Here’s a creative solution…

Classroom Security – 4 Questions

It has been 74 days since I have written about classroom barricade devices. This refresher is posted by request, and in honor of Safe Schools Week.

WW: I’m at a loss for words…

I’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s Wordless Wednesday photo. This is in direct conflict with everything I learned about life safety in hardware school.

WW: Happy Halloween!

It’s that time of year again…when teachers get creative and their classroom doors become the canvas. Don’t forget the rules of holiday door decorating!

Which code, when, and where?

When you’re interpreting the code requirements for a particular building, how do you know which code or standard to reference?

Fire Marshal Guidance for Unplanned Fire Alarms

Remember when a fire alarm during the school day meant exiting immediately in an orderly fashion and enjoying a few minutes away from our desks? Times are changing.

Errata to ICC A117.1-2017

Before you get excited about the maneuvering clearance change in the 2017 edition of A117.1, check the errata document. Or maybe I’m the only one who gets excited about that stuff…

QQ: Extended Latch Guards

A follow-up to an earlier post…Can extended latch guards be installed to bring doors with surface vertical rods into compliance with the accessibility standards?

WW: Wordless

I have spent two days trying to figure out what to write in this post. I’m still thinking.

Decoded: Signage for Automatic Doors (April 2019)

My next article for Door Security + Safety Magazine addresses the signage required for automatic doors. It will appear in the April edition.

Alert: Clear Opening Height Conflict

When you have a project with 6′-8″ doors, it’s important to think about the clear opening height and the hardware that projects down from the frame head.

Decoded: Why Barricade Devices? (May 2019)

Why would a school district consider using unregulated security devices, given the associated risk and liability? The answer may surprise you.

Barricade Devices – Three Perspectives

These 3 perspectives showed up in my Google Alerts today – a school district using barricade devices, a man working in a school who wanted to use barricading when he committed a shooting, and the legal perspective. Powerful.

Decoded: Locks Used Only for Security Purposes (July 2019)

The IBC exempts locks used only for security purposes from the mounting height requirement. The accessibility standards exempt locks operated only by security personnel. What’s the difference?

Colorado State Capitol Building – Denver

Have you visited your state capitol building to check out the doors and hardware? I’m adding locations to my bucket list!

QQ: Vision Lights in Automatic Doors

Does the vision light height requirement apply to automatic doors as well as manually-operated doors?

See the index for another category:

  • Accessibility
  • Adon Brownell
  • Articles
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  • Back-2-Basics
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  • Flush Bolts and Coordinators
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  • Guest Post
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  • Panic Hardware
  • Protection Plates
  • Push/Pull
  • Q&A
  • Quick Question
  • Quick-Tips
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  • Road Trips
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  • Signage
  • Sliding and Folding Doors
  • Smoke
  • Stops
  • Uncategorized
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  • WHY?
  • Windstorm
  • Wordless Wednesday
  • WWYD?

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