Low energy power door operators are becoming a necessity for specific applications within commercial, medical and educational facilities. The low energy power operator “levels the field”, enabling those unable to physically open a door to gain access and egress.
Low Energy Power Door Operators must comply with ANSI/ BHMA A156.19 standard. The latest changes to be adopted are in the ANSI/ BHMA A156.19 - 2007 Standard for Low Energy Power Operated Doors. which directly affects locksmiths who install these power door operators. In the 2007 Standard there is an important change. This change is that low energy power door operators must be activated by a “knowing act” device. A “knowing act” device requires the person wanting access to perform a physical action. This includes pushing or pulling on the door as well as pressing a push paddle, center actuating column, exit device or a fixed non-contact switch. Also included are controlled access devices including key switches, keypads and card readers.
Note: A motion detector is not permitted as an activating device for a low energy door operator.
The California Building Code (CBC) 2007 under 1133B.2.5 Exceptions part C, makes an additional requirement for controlling powered doors. “Powered doors shall be controlled on both the interior and the exterior sides of the door by sensing devices, push plates, vertical actuation bars or other similar operating devices complying with Section 1117B.6.
“At each location where push plates are provided there shall be two push plates; the centerline of one push plate shall be 7 inches minimum and 8 inches maximum above the floor or ground surfaces and the centerline of the second push plate shall be 30 inches minimum and 44 inches maximum above the floor or ground surface. Each push plate displaying International Symbol of Accessibility per CBC Figure 11B-6(b).”
For this article, I was invited to observe the retrofit installation of a Norton 5900 Series X-in onto the corridor doorway of a handicap designated hospital room. The X-in is a motor driven, geared powered operator. To provide back up closing, a built-in spring winds up as door opens and closes an open door if power is extinguished.
The 5900 Series low energy X-in door operator is available for either push or pull side mounting and satisfies the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Norton X-in can accommodate up to a 200-pound door that has a width up to 48”. Because the doorway is recessed into a passageway, an auxiliary stop will be mounted onto the wall.
The chosen doorway is into a hospital patient room configured to accommodate the needs of a physically handicapped individual.
The previous installation had flexible conduit running from the ceiling into a slot cut in the cover of the door operator to provide power and the wiring to the Unlatch and the push plates. Because this is a hospital, no changes can be made without notifying the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) and obtaining a permit and inspection for any changes to the electrical run. For this reason, the flexible conduit power run remained unchanged with the Norton X-in installation.
The existing installation had a four-inch push plate on the exterior side and the interior side of the door. In addition, a Securitron Cylindrical Lock Unlatch® Strike was installed into the strike opening. The Unlatch can operate on 24VDC at 40mA at rest, 200mA during operation with a 1-1/2 Amp in-rush for 100 milliseconds. The decision was made to keep the Unlatch and also install two additional push plates at 7-8” above the floor.
A Norton Touch Less Wall Switch was installed onto the interior side of the door, replacing the existing switch that was later installed at seven inches above the floor directly beneath the Touch Less Switch. No physical contact is required to operate this switch. Just a wave of the hand within range of the adjustable sensor can activate the power door operator.
IMPORTANT: Before the installation, the door and the entry were examined to be certain the door would properly close and latch. It was noted that the door dragged slightly along the floor closest to the opening edge. An adjustment was made to the top butt hinge, which slightly lifted the door, resolving the problem.