Friday, October 30, 2015

TSDC's Swing Doors Violate ADA

As Duke Ellington once said: "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing  Doo-wah, doo-wah, doo-wah, doo-wah, Doo-wah, doo-wah, doo-wah, doo-wah"

Let's have a look at The Sliding Door Company's problem child - the Swing Door.  

The Sliding Door Company's "Problem Child"

I'm going to devote a blog to TSDC's problematic and unsafe pivot hinges soon, and the fact that they have knocked off the locks of other manufacturers... but the issues with their swing doors are not limited to this. The picture on the left shows a double swing door with handles on a 1-1/2" frame.  When we look at ADA requirements, The Sliding Door Company's doors fail miserably.  Here's what the law says:

Flush bottom rails
For many years, ICC A117.1 has included a requirement for a 254-mm (10-in.) high flush bottom rail on manual doors, and this requirement is now included in the ADA standards. The text of both standards is similar, except ADA also addresses existing doors. (This requirement appears in the “Manual Doors” section of both publications, so it does not apply to automatic doors.)
The purpose is to avoid projections that could catch a cane, crutch, walker, or wheelchair and inhibit passage through the door opening, so the requirement applies to the push side of the door only. The 254-mm (10-in.) measurement is taken from the floor or ground to the top of the horizontal bottom rail, extending the full width of the door. Prior to the 2003 edition of A117.1, the required dimension was 305 mm (12 in.).

At the right, is a picture of a competitor's door.  Notice the bottom rail is 10" high and FLUSH.  To produce a door that is ADA compliant, The Sliding Door Company would have to start by having a 10" high flush surface or "kickplate" at the bottom of their door.  The reason for this surface is twofold.  The first reason is "cane detection" which means someone using a cane should be able to touch the surface without meeting obstructions or edges.  The second reason relates to the wheelchair footrest and its contact point.  Again, this needs to be a flush surface to ensure nothing on the wheelchair can snag on anything on the door.  And obviously, for doors without a kick plate, a wheelchair footrest could damage the door.  In the case of glass doors, the door could shatter when a footrest hits it.

OK, so... Let's have a look at what The Sliding Door Company offers... here are a few pictures from their SpacePlus page:


First, we see a lot of full swing door examples without the required bottom ADA rail.  A wheelchair footrest would crash right through these doors.  NONE of these would pass ADA, yet they are featured prominently on TSDC's commercial website.  

We also see The Sliding Door Company's attempt at an ADA kick plate here.  I have measured this and it is indeed 10" tall - the required height.  But... is it a "flush bottom rail"?  Obviously, it isn't.  Another image is below.
Not flush - so it doesn't pass ADA.  (You might have noticed the little object a couple of feet above the door latch.  No, that isn't another lock... it's a Mezuzah.)  

So, NOT A SINGLE IMAGE of a swing door on TSDC's SpacePlus website actually passes ADA.  

If none of their swing doors pass ADA, what EXACTLY is The Sliding Door Company selling to their commercial customers?

In a future blog, I will also address handle height and how TSDC violates ADA regulations with handle placement and blames it on their own commercial customer, Regus.

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