Author: Chris Handlos | PS Access Solutions™
Anyone who has worked in a facility that generates power will recognize the struggles associated with opening and closing doors between rooms with significantly different air pressure. The problem lies not just in the physical strength needed to open a door against excessive pressure, but also in the challenge of finding a door that meets all necessary requirements while maintaining operational functionality. Thankfully, facility managers have several options.
WHAT ARE MY ACCESS OPTIONS?
In situations where pressure differentials are significant (such as openings into production areas where machines are running), choosing the right type of door to install can be a struggle. Swing doors are often a viable option; however, in areas where pressure differentials are significant, swing doors rarely meet the standards set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code. In some cases the force to open the swing door is simply too great, while in other cases the door can’t be opened at all.
When a swing door fails to meet the NFPA Life Safety Code, sliding doors are an effective alternative. Unfortunately for facility managers, fire marshals sometimes misinterpret the code and state that sliding doors are not a viable option because they lack the required level of accessibility for emergency exit situations. As a result, these fire marshals mistakenly insist that a swing door be installed. In these instances, it’s helpful for facility managers to understand the NFPA Life Safety Code’s egress standards and how they allow for the use of sliding doors to be used for egress.
1. The door leaf is readily operable from either side without special knowledge or effort.
2. The force that, when applied to the operating device in the direction of egress, is required to operate the door leaf is not more than 15 lbf (67 N).
3. The force required to operate the door leaf in the direction of travel is not more than 30 lbf (133 N) to set the leaf in motion and is not more than 15 lbf (67 N) to close the leaf or open it to the minimum required width (NFPA 101 Life Safety Code P-62-63/2018).
(Points four and five of the code pertain to automated door options and, as such, have not been listed.)
Sources: NFPA 101 Life Safety Code 126.96.36.199 P-62-63/2018
As illustrated above, sliding doors are entirely compliant with the NFPA Life Safety Code. Utilizing this knowledge allows facility managers to make better, more informed decisions.
PS Access Solutions™ designs both industrial-strength doors that satisfy both the NFPA Life Safety Code and the requirements of local fire marshals.
SWING DOOR – Specifically built to withstand the abuses of industrial environments and harsh weather conditions, these doors feature durable stainless steel or carbon construction and a structurally welded internal frame. Swing doors are available in both single and paired variations.
Limited: Meets NFPA Life Safety Code in situations with low differential pressure
SLIDING DOOR – Unlike hollow metal doors, these doors are engineered to stand up to high drafts and continuous use. Each door features durable construction and is available in single or bi-part variations, and it can be customized for special purposes. These doors are ideal for facilities that generate power and are typically a more cost-effective option than a Sliding Egress Door.
Meets NFPA Life Safety Code
SLIDING EGRESS DOOR – Designed to be an effective combination of both a swing and sliding door, the Sliding Egress Door truly provides facility owners with the best of both worlds. Operating in a sliding fashion during normal operations allows for easy accessibility in areas of negative pressure between rooms. In the case of an emergency, the door can swing outward to allow for an immediate exit. Available in single and bi-part variations.
Meets NFPA Life Safety Code
Both swing and sliding doors are viable options for facilities where pressure differentials are present between rooms. However, in circumstances where swing doors fail to meet the requirements of the NFPA Life Safety Code, and the local fire marshal insists on a Swing Door installation, you can feel confident knowing you have Sliding Doors options from PS Access Solutions™.
Let us help you relieve the pressure involved with installing and maintaining doors in your facility. Contact Chris Handlos at 877-446-1519 or firstname.lastname@example.org