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  • Writer's pictureRobert Hebert

Let’s Talk – Doors and Hardware

As this COVID 19 Pandemic drags on Rob and I continue to notice EASY and AFFORDABLE improvements that business owners can make to their buildings, to enhance the safety AND cleanliness of the occupants.

Generally speaking, keeping your hands to yourself is a good idea. I can tell you that I am the first, to use a paper towel to touch the door handle when leaving a public toilet room after washing my hands. I dry my hands, mostly, and then use the paper towel to touch the door handle, discarding it in the trash as I exit. Most toilet room doors have “closers”, so the door closes automatically behind me and I am on my way, back to my table to eat and drink.

Now that we are doing mostly outdoor dining, I noticed that in order to return to my outdoor table, I have to touch yet ANOTHER door, the exit to the exterior. At one of our favorite places, the door hardware is a knob, not a lever handle, or a push paddle. You really have to solidly grasp a knob & twist it, to un-latch the door.

“So much for my CLEAN HANDS!”

FYI – [Lever handle hardware is required on all new construction to meet the Americans With Disabilities Act. It is required BECAUSE it “allows one-hand operation that does not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist”] like a knob does.

Now is a GREAT time to change out your door hardware, if you still have knobs here or there!

But this is not just about ME or the ADA! Use of that knob, also makes it difficult for the servers to open and shut the door, and they have their hands FULL! If you are a business or restaurant owner, look around to see if you have any “KNOBS” left anywhere. Because no one really wants to touch a door knob, enough to use it….

Because of it’s shape and function, lever handle door hardware has “leverage”. When using leverage, mechanical force is gained, offering the maximum advantage. If you apply this philosophy to door latching hardware, you understand that it makes the operation of the door latching device much easier, with less effort or mechanical force. This is why lever handle door hardware is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA). People with limited mobility or even a temporary injury, can still operate the door.

Changing your remaining knobs out for lever handles, will enhance the compliance of your establishment for the ADA. It will also make the door easier to operate for those of us with clean hands, or a bag of purchases. But imagine the grattitude felt by a server with a load of food and drinks, if they can open the door with their knee or hip.

Another option is the push button electronic activation of an accessible door, but these can be annoyingly slow – and expensive! Dashing for the bathroom and waiting, for what seems like eternity for the door to close, due to the type of hardware, isn’t fun. I do appreciate the ability to open the door without touching anything with my hands. (using my knee) You will typically find this type of door in newer retail and healthcare facilities, usually in conjunction with a weather vestibule. A reputable brand that comes to mind is LCN.

The Cruise lines are building new ships with automatic, sliding doors that activate with a motion sensor when a person approaches. Because the they know how important it is to keep people from spreading germs from surface to surface to self. If you don’t have to touch the door, neither does anyone else! New ships like the Celebrity EDGE, have them everwhere!

You actually feel like a “Celebrity” when the door opens for you!

Yep this is OUR picture! Be sure to check with us before selecting your next cruise vacation. We have a better understanding of the Ship Architecture – that will make your cruise safe. Learn more at our TravelLikeAnArchitect Blog

If you have a suitable location, and adequate budget, I am SURE your servers and customers would LOVE an automatic, sliding door. This type of door also reduces the amount of air mixing that happens when a door swings open and closed. You will conserve air conditioning and heat with a sliding door, because it does not act as a fan. Swinging doors suck air in or push air out every time they open and close.

If you need help evaluating your business, for door hardware, give Rob a call. Considering changing a type of door that you have? Check with a design professional to make sure you do it correctly and within building code compliance. The ADA and Building Code are NOT the same thing, each having their own detailed requirements.

Architect Rob would be glad to help! 815-961-0504

I know that once this Pandemic blows over, people like me will remain mindful of clean hands. This is a GOOD thing that will come to pass. If the pandemic gives you the motivation to fix your out-dated door hardware, that’s even BETTER! Right?

Working from home right now? Thinking about making it permanent? See our post entitled The Art of Work From Home

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