Automatic door operators are often used to make door openings accessible and meet the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but they also provide added convenience for a wider range of users. By concentrating only on ADA accessibility, building owners, facility managers, and others responsible for providing accessibility sometimes overlook the broader benefits of installing automatic operators.
ADA compliance and convenience can be complementary issues. For example, mechanical door closers that are adjusted to higher closing powers for difficult-to-close doors are often not ADA accessible and can be difficult for non-disabled persons to open as well. On the other hand, it may be possible under some conditions to accommodate ADA compliance by adjusting the mechanical door-closer force to Size 1, although this may not provide enough power to close the door completely due to weather conditions and building pressures. In most cases, automatic door operators are the best option to provide ADA accessibility and ensure that a door closes. Typically, it may only be necessary to equip one door in a bank of doors.
ADA accessibility should not only be looked at as simply a design for disability, but also a function to serve everyone that uses the facility. In addition to meeting the needs of the 54 million Americans with disabilities, an accessible building is more convenient for the elderly, children, and people carrying heavy loads, pulling laptop bags, or pushing strollers. It is a business advantage to create an environment that accommodates all ages and people.
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