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Overview   When to use Automatic Doors    Types of Doors
Maneuvering Clearances    Important Considerations    Renovations
Historic Preservation

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Guide to Accessible Entrances*
The Americans' with Disabilities Act of 1990 has greatly effected the Design Professionals task of getting people into a building space, while maintaining aesthetic appeal. The Building Owner and Management Professional has an equally daunting task of preserving valuable floor space, while keeping costs under control. We hope the information contained in this web page will be helpful to both.

Automatic doors can save the Building Owner money, by greatly lowing the cost of remodeling. The Design Professional can provide the Owner with a functional and aesthetically pleasing entrance that will comply with ADA regulations. The Building Owner can deduct up to $15,000.00 per year for expenses associated with architectural barrier removal.

Civil penalties can be awarded to individuals who bring lawsuits, up to $50,000.00, if a business or public accommodation fails to comply. Public accommodations, include public and private businesses that buy or sell products and services. These include businesses, such as hotels, theaters, banks, retail stores, transportation centers, educational facilities, restaurants, as well as other public buildings and private businesses dealing with public accommodations.

All existing buildings and facilities must have barriers removed by January 26, 1992 if readily achievable, without undue hardship, difficulty or expense. All new construction, after January 26, 1993 must be accessible to individuals with disabilities.


Automatic Doors
Accessible entrances do not need to be automated. However, it is very often much less expensive to automate an entrance, than to provide the necessary maneuvering clearances required for manual doors. Automatic entrances are exempt from these maneuvering clearances.

Automatic doors are also exempt from the low manual opening forces, that non-automated entrance doors must comply with to meet ADA. The spring closing force of an automated entrance may be higher, enabling doors to be kept closed in windy locations.

A power failure to the door operator is not a normal condition and need not to be considered to comply with the law..

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Types of Doors
Accessible entrances should be either swinging or sliding. Revolving doors are excluded in paragraph 4.13.2*. However, it should be noted, that very large diameter automatic revolving doors, may comply. The Egress Committee of the National Fire Protection Agency, has issued a written opinion, that large diameter revolving doors should be considered hinged entrance doors. The Veterans Administration has also conducted a study of large diameter revolving doors, for use in their facilities. The VA has concluded that they are acceptable for use by disabled persons entering their buildings. However, the door must be of sufficient size and fully automatic.

An independent Design Professional should be consulted, before using automatic revolving doors for accessible applications.


Maneuvering Clearances
Doors which are not automatic or power assist must have the following maneuvering clearances, as shown below, according to paragraphs 4.1.6, 4.3.3, 4.13.6, 4.13.7 and 4.13.12*.

Front Approaches - Swinging Doors
Maneuvering Clearances - Front Approach Pull Side
Maneuvering Clearances - Front Approach Push Side

Hinge Side Approaches - Swinging Doors
Maneuvering Clearances - Hinge Side Approach Pull Side
Maneuvering Clearances - Hinge Side Approach Push Side

Latch Side Approaches - Swinging Doors
Maneuvering Clearances - Latch Side Approach Pull Side
Maneuvering Clearances - Latch Side Approach Push Side

Other Clearances - Swinging Doors
Minimum Door Width Clearance
Maximum Doorway Depth
Minimum Vestibule Depth - Doors Swinging in Opposite Direction
Minimum Vestibule Depth - Doors Swinging in Same Direction


Important Considerations

One half of public entrances into a building must be accessible.
1) Public entrances at pedestrian tunnels, parking garages, sky bridges and elevated walkways can not be included as part of the minimum number of accessible entrances required.
2) Loading and service entrances are not considered to be public entrances. If a service entrance is the only entrance into a building it must be accessible.
3) If access is provided directly from a parking garage, pedestrian tunnel, sky bridge, or elevated walkway into a building, at least one entrance from each must be accessible.
4) Multiple occupancy structures, such as strip malls, an accessible entrance must be provided into each tenant's space.

One door at each accessible entrance must meet access requirements.

Where possible, accessible entrances must be located at entrances used by the majority of occupants and visitors.

One accessible entrance should be located at the ground floor.

Each accessible entrance must be marked with proper signage.
Signage must be installed, so that the person with a disability does not have to reverse their direction or retrace their approach to the accessible entrance.

All doors within a building, serving an accessible egress route or an area of rescue, must be accessible.

Accessible doors must have a minimum clear opening width of 32", measured from the face of the door opened to 90 degrees to the surface of the latch sided door stop. If no latch side door stop exists, than measure to the latch side jamb surface.
1) Doorways
deeper than 24" must have a minimum clear opening width of 36"
2) When an existing building is altered, the clear opening may be reduced 5/8", if it is structurally or technically impossible to provided a minimum 32" clear opening.

When pairs of doors are used at least one door in that pair must be accessible.
If neither door in a pair will meet the minimum 32" clearance, as an individual, automatic doors can be used to operate both doors simultaneously. Provided both doors, when opened simultaneously provided at least a 32" clear opening.

Doorways must have a maximum threshold height of 1/2".
1) Thresholds or floor height changes must be beveled and must have a maximum 1:2 slope.
2) Exterior sliding doors may have a 3/4" threshold height.
3) Existing thresholds in remodels may remain if they are not higher than 3/4" and have a beveled edge.

Doors in series or forming a vestibule shall have minimum vestibule depth of 48" plus the width of the door leaf swinging into the vestibule.
1) Doors in series or forming a vestibule must swing in the same direction.
2) Doors in series or forming a vestibule may only swing in
opposite directions, if they swing away from the vestibule area.

Handles, locks, latches, pulls and other door hardware must be easily operable by the disabled.
1) Must operate easily with one hand, without grasping tightly, or twisting of the wrist to operate.
2) Lever operated or push type mechanisms and "U" shaped handles are recommended.
3) Hardware required for passage must not be higher than 48" off the floor.
4) Sliding door operating hardware must be exposed and usable from both sides of the door.

Doors with manual closers must not close faster than 3 seconds from 70 degrees to 3" from the latch.

Maximum opening force for sliding, folding and swinging interior doors is 5 Lbs.
1) The ADA has no determined maximum opening force as of now, but 8 Lbs. is strongly suggested and required by some state and local accessibility codes.
2) Automatic doors are exempt from these manual opening forces. This can be a great benefit at windy locations, which require greater forces to keep the door closed.
3) Fire rated doors are exempt if greater forces are required by state or local fire codes.

Automatic doors must comply with ANSI 156.10. Low energy or power assist door operators must comply with ANSI 156.19.
Power assist doors lower the force necessary to open a door. They do not open a door automatically. Automatic doors and low energy door operators open a door for the pedestrian.


Historic Preservation
Buildings that are protected by historic preservation must have at least one accessible public entrance. If it is determined that no public entrance can comply, then access can be provided at any entrance. The route to the accessible entrance must be well marked from the primary entrance to the building.

Alterations and Renovations
If the building already has accessible entrances, an entrance that is renovated or altered does not have to be accessible. However, if it effects the usage of a primary area in a building, it must comply.

*Eastern Door Service its employees and associates are not architects, engineers or building code experts.  You should consult the proper experts before purchasing an automatic entrance door.

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Page last updated Monday, August 20, 2012
by EDS