Automatic Doors and ADA Compliance

ada compliance with automatic doorsAlong with owning a business comes many responsibilities. One of the most important, and often overlooked, is being sure your facility follows the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance measures. It’s easy to let these details fall by the wayside, particularly if you’re leasing space. The assumption is that the builder would have followed ADA guidelines from the get go, but unfortunately this is not always the case.

How can you be sure you’re compliant with these government mandated requirements? There are different rules for every area of a given structure, but let’s focus on one area where you can make an immediate difference, your doors.

ADA Door Accessibility Requirements

According to ADATA.Org, private and public facilities must have at least one door providing accessibility at these locations:

  • Each accessible entrance (at least 60% of public entrances in newly built facilities must be accessible to individuals who use wheelchairs or have mobility impairments).
  • Each tenant space in a mall or other building with multiple business tenants.
  • Accessible rooms and spaces within buildings.
  • Entrances to buildings from all parking structures, tunnels or elevated walkways.
  • At least one restricted or secured entrance (if applicable).
  • Along each building’s required route of escape or evacuation.
  • Public entrances serving different fixed routes within transit facilities.

When gauging your business for ADA compliance, double check these common problem areas:

  • Clear door width of 32 inches (clear width is measured between the face of the door itself and the opposite stop.)
  • Hardware must require 5lbs of force or less to operate, be operable with one hand and not require tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist
  • Thresholds must not exceed ½ inch
  • Ample maneuvering space which varies depending on door type and direction of approach.

Door Options

There are many different types of doors but not all of them are well suited for ADA compliance. For instance, revolving doors are energy efficient and add a nice look to your storefront, but may be difficult to operate for someone in a wheelchair.

The safest bet, although not required by the ADA, is to go with an automatic door system. Automatic doors are ideal since they require little to no effort to open. Motion activated doors provide the most convenience. Just be sure that if you choose an automatic swinging door (as opposed to a sliding or folding version) that the door swings away from the person activating it

You also have the option of adding an automatic door opener. Placing a manually operated door opener near a side-hinging door makes a big difference for handicapped individuals and takes you a step further toward being ADA compliant.
It’s not only customers with physical limitations that appreciate the added convenience of automatic doors. For an average individual, trying to access a traditional door while pushing a stroller and carrying shopping bags can be quite frustrating. Automatic doors help ensure all of your customers will enjoy a hassle free shopping experience.

For more information on automatic door installation in the Boston area, contact Kenny’s Lock.

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