Building codes and inspections
Architects and specifiers refer to the International Building Code (IBC) to determine the size and number of revolving doors, the type of door (automatic or manual), and the location of the nearest stairs and emergency egress doors. The local fire marshal will inspect a revolving door according to section 126.96.36.199, “Revolving Door Assemblies,” of the National Fire Protection Associate (NFPA) 101, Life Safety Code. Both IBC and NFPA either refer to or generally follow the standards of the American National Standards Institute/Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (ANSI/BHMA) A156.27, Power and Manual Operated Revolving Pedestrian Doors.
Once a door is installed, it is time for inspection. Installers must ensure the revolving door meets the functional and operational codes and requirements of IBC, ANSI/BHMA, and NFPA. ANSI/BHMA A156.27 is a detailed and thorough guideline for addressing safety and proper door operation. Installers meeting ANSI/BHMA A156.27 will end up complying with NFPA standards (which, in turn, are generally aligned with IBC). The following requirements from ANSI/BHMA A156.27 will steer the installer to comply with all three standards.
Breakout force requirements
As per section 10.2, “Breakout Force Requirements,” each revolving door wing should be capable of collapsing when a force of 59 kg (130 lbf) is applied at 76 mm (3 in.) from the outer edge of the outer wing stile and 1016 mm (40 in.) above the floor.
Acceptable door speed
Sections 4.2, 5.2, 6.2, 7.2, 8.2, “Acceptable Door Speed,” (for each type of revolving door in the industry) provide tables dictating the maximum speed of the revolving door in terms of revolutions per minute (RPMs) by specific diameter and type of revolving door. The installer must also reference the manufacturer’s manual for the maximum speed limitations of the product.
Automatic door signage
Section 11.1, “Automatic Door Sign,” states automatic revolving doors shall be marked with signage visible from both sides of each wing. The sign shall include the words “Automatic Door,” in minimum 25-mm (1-in.) tall black letters placed at 1270 +/- 305 mm (50 +/- 12 in.) from the floor to the centerline of the sign. Additional information may be included.
Section 11.2, “Slow Speed Activation Sign,” mandates the sign shall have one of the following:
- activate to slow;
- push to slow; or
- press to slow.
The letters shall be at least 16 mm (5/8 in.) tall and located within 305 mm (12 in.) of the device. As per to section 11.3, “Emergency Stop Sign,” the sign shall read “Emergency Stop.” The letters shall be at least 16 mm tall and located within 305 mm of the emergency stop switch.
Automatic door sensors
It is recommended to refer to sections 16 to 22 of ANSI/BHMA A156.27 for detailed requirements regarding the proper operation of all automatic revolving door sensor systems (wing sensors, end wall and bottom rail sensors, and entry point sensor).
Again, ANSI/BHMA A156.27 is very specific and detailed for all possible revolving door types and the installer will benefit by complying with NFPA and IBC operational standards all at once. Installers who have been approved by the American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers (AAADM) can provide certification that the door has been set according to ANSI/BHMA A156.27.
Final door installation tips
One of the most important steps with the door installation is the drawings provided to the estimator must reflect the exact information that is included in the specification.
Pre-installation drawings should include key metrics, opening size, radius, and all related specs. The complete set of drawings should be provided in the owner’s manual that is shipped to the customer. A drawing packet containing both mechanical and electrical drawings will be shipped with the door.
While there are many door manufacturers, it is important to work with one who will take the time to ensure all questions have been answered. Some manufacturers offer informational webinars that can be viewed on demand and multiple times before the installation to ensure there are no surprises when installing or servicing a door. Another helpful tool is a video the manufacturer can send to the installation team, while they are onsite, to address any questions during the installation process.
Specifiers should require the presence of the door installer at a GC meeting related to door openings of the building. It is also important that the door manufacturer pre-emptively holds a pre-installation meeting with the installer prior to the GC one to ensure the installer is prepared on the logistics of handling the crates at the site, scheduling and pre-requisites, specific building tie-ins, and so forth. This will ensure the meeting with the GC and other subcontractors is as informative and productive as possible.
These steps and tips can help protect a revolving door from unintended damage, and ensure it functions properly and also ties-in well with the surrounding building. Core needs will be addressed and misunderstandings leading to wasted time and money can be eliminated.